If you’re thinking about writing an actuary exam soon, you’re probably curious about how much it’ll cost to take the exams.

How much do actuary exams cost? The first 2 exams are $225 USD. Costs gradually increase to $1,125 USD as the exams get more and more advanced. Study material costs can range from $0 to $1,500+ depending on the exam and your choice of materials.

Since you’re probably just starting out on your journey to becoming an actuary, you’re probably most interested in the costs that you’ll have to cover in order to pass the first few exams. So, that’s what I’ll be spending the most amount of time on here.

Fortunately, these exam costs are going to be spread out over many years (usually 7 – 10 years for most people). And when you do get your first actuarial position your employer will probably pay for all your exam fees and study materials. Until then, you’ll have to cover the costs yourself.

What costs will you need to pay for actuarial exams?

There are two primary things that you’re going to need to pay for. First is the exam fee and second is your study materials.

The exam fee is a payment made to the Society of Actuaries (SOA) in order to administer your exam. It’s used to help fund the costs involved with exam centers, exam grading, and running the organization. This is a mandatory fee that you must pay in order to take the exam.

There is a listing of all the SOA exam fees here for each of the exams. However, I’ll be talking about them more down below too.

The study materials that you’ll need for your exam will teach you all the topics that you need to know. You can purchase a study manual or an online seminar for your exam. Study materials are optional, but highly recommended.

Study manuals are books specifically designed for each exam. They tend to be the most affordable option. Online seminars, on the other hand, include video lessons specifically tailored to the exam and tend to be more expensive, especially if you’re not a student.

In addition to the study materials mentioned above, some people also choose to join the Study Strategy Program to get step-by-step guidance on how to pass their first actuarial exam. This is optional, but if you’re feeling unsure on exactly how to go about preparing for your exam it will be extremely helpful for you.

Costs for Your First Actuarial Exam

Most people choose to take Exam P or Exam FM first because they are the easiest exams and they’re the first ones recommended by the SOA. If you’re not sure which one you should write first, check out this post to help you decide.

Exam P is about probability concepts and Exam FM covers financial mathematics concepts, such as bonds, loans and interest.

All costs mentioned below are as of February 2019.

Exam P Costs

The SOA exam fee for Exam P is $225 USD for the computer based exam (which is what most people do). An alternative option in some cities is to take a paper and pencil exam, which is $190 USD. These costs are unavoidable and you’ll have to pay the fee each time you attempt the exam.

The cost of study materials is variable.

As I mentioned above, a study manual is typically the most affordable option. Sometimes you’re able to purchase these used for about $0 to $50 depending on how old it is. A new manual (my study manual recommendations are here) will be about $85 USD to $110 USD depending on the subscription length and if you want an electronic version or a physical copy.

Online seminars are more expensive (again, my recommendations are here). A 180-day subscription to Coaching Actuaries (ADAPT + Learn) Bundle that I recommend is about $400 for non-students, and about $200 for students. The alternative, TIA, is about $500 for non-students and $200 for students.

The Study Strategy Program is $77 per month (or $385 for 6 months, one month free). It’s recommended that you join with at least 14 weeks until your exam so that you can qualify for the Pass Guarantee. The Pass Guarantee ensures that if you don’t pass your exam, the $225 exam fee will be paid for on your next attempt at the exam.

To summarize, your Exam P costs are approximately:

Exam Fee (required) – $225 USD per attempt.
Study Materials – $100 to $500 USD.
Study Strategy Program – $77 USD per month or $385 USD for 6 months.

Exam FM Costs

Just like for Exam P, the exam fee for Exam FM is $225 USD for the computer based exam, and $190 USD for the paper and pencil version. Again, these costs are unavoidable and you’ll have to pay the fee each time you attempt the exam.

Again, costs for study materials are quite variable depending on which option you decide on. You can go here to read about my recommendations.

Study manuals can be purchased used for about $0 to $125 USD. However, a new version is recommended to ensure that it is up-to-date with the syllabus. A new manual will cost between $130 USD and $160 depending on subscription length and whether you purchase an electronic version of a physical copy.

Online seminars are quite a bit more expensive. Both the TIA and Coaching Actuaries (ADAPT + Learn) Bundle are approximately $500 USD for non-students. The TIA seminar is $200 USD for students, whereas the Coaching Actuaries (ADAPT + Learn) Bundle is about $250 USD.

The Study Strategy Program is also available for Exam FM. It is $77 per month (or $385 for 6 months, one month free). I recommend that you join with at least 14 weeks until your planned exam date so that you qualify for the Pass Guarantee. The Pass Guarantee ensures that if you don’t pass your exam, the $225 exam fee is paid for on your next attempt at the exam.

To summarize again, your Exam FM costs are approximately:

Exam Fee (required) – $225 USD per attempt.
Study Materials – $130 to $500 USD.
Study Strategy Program – $77 USD per month or $385 USD for 6 months.

Costs for Future Actuarial exams

As exams start to get more and more advanced, the cost associated with them tends to increase. However, by the time you write your 4th exam you should aim to be hired in an actuarial position where your study materials and exam fees are paid for by the company.

Exam IFM Costs

Exam IFM is the third exam that most people take. By the time you write this exam, you’ll be quite experienced with how the actuarial exam cost structure works and you’ll probably have a preference for which study materials you use. So, I won’t go into too much detail here.

The fee for this exam is $325 USD for non-students and $260 USD for students.

Study manuals will cost about $130 to $160 USD, whereas online seminars will be around $800 USD.

So to summarize, your Exam IFM costs are approximately:

Exam Fee (required) – $325 USD per attempt.
Study Materials – $130 to $800 USD.

Costs for Your 4th+ Exams

The cost of your fourth exam will depend on whether you choose to specialize in life and health insurance (SOA route) or property and casualty insurance (CAS route). If you’re interested in learning the differences between the two, you can check out this post that compares SOA and CAS.

SOA exam fees tend to be more expensive than CAS exam fees. For your 4th through 10th SOA exam, the fees range from $325 USD to $1,125 USD depending on the exam. For your 4th through 10th CAS exam, the fees range from $450 USD to $360 USD depending on the exam. Full-time students can get a discount though.

Study materials for these exams range anywhere from $200 USD to $1,500+ USD depending on the exam and whether you choose a study manual or online seminar. Some students choose to purchase more than one source to study from, especially for the upper level fellowship exams.

So to summarize, your 4th+ exam costs are:

Exam Fee (required) – $325 to 1125 USD per attempt per exam.
Study Materials – $200 to $1,500+ USD per exam.

Costs for Online Courses

In order to become a credentialed actuary, there are also some online courses (or modules) that you’ll have to complete. The cost of these courses depends on whether you decide to go the SOA route or the CAS route.

Fortunately, these costs will probably be incurred after you get your first actuarial job so your employer will pay for them.

SOA Route (Life and Health Insurance)
Fundamentals of Actuarial Practice (FAP) modules – $2,100 USD.
Associateship Professionalism Course (APC) – $575 USD.
FSA Modules (3 x $200) – $600 USD.
Fellowship Admission Course (FAC) – $2,650 USD.
Decision Making and Communication Module (DMAC) (invite only, cost unknown).

CAS Route (Property and Casualty Insurance)
Online courses (2 x $315) – $630 USD.
CAS Professionalism Course – $925 to $1,025 USD.

How much does it cost to become an actuary?

To summarize, the total cost of becoming an actuary will depend on several different factors.

It depends which study materials you use, how many times you fail exams along the way, whether you go the SOA or CAS route and when you get your first actuarial position.

Get FREE study tips and advice for Exam P & FM!

You can get my best studying tips and advice sent right to your inbox. Just add your email below. Learn things like:

• How to get 80%+ questions right.

• Why you shouldn't memorize.

• The quickest way to pass your exam.


Get FREE study tips and advice for Exam P & FM!

You can get my best studying tips and advice sent right to your inbox. Just add your email below. Learn things like:

• How to get 80%+ questions right.

• Why you shouldn't memorize.

• The quickest way to pass your exam.


 

RELATED POSTS

LEGAL INFO

This site is owned and operated by Etched Actuarial. EtchedActuarial.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies.