Want to become an actuary without breaking the bank? There are tons of ways to pay for your career, even before you get that first actuarial paycheck. Here’s how!
1. Get a Great Internship
One of the most straightforward ways to fund your actuarial career is with an internship! You can learn more about exactly how to get one here.
But it isn’t just your internship paycheck that will help you pay for your career. A lot of internships offer special benefits to actuarial students.
Here are some financial benefits you should look for in your actuarial internships.
Paid Study Time Off
Yes, you can get paid to study! Actuarial employers understand that studying for an exam is a time-consuming process. But they also know it’ll make you a better employee.
The amount of time you’ll get off to study will depend on the length of your internship and the company you work for. Either way, you’ll still have to do most of your studying on your own time. But getting paid for some of it definitely helps!
Paid Study Materials
Most actuarial employers will also cover the cost of your study materials if they know you’re studying for an exam. Sometimes, there’s a cap on the amount you can spend, but usually there isn’t!
This is a HUGE benefit because study materials can get pretty expensive. You can pay upwards of $500 USD for some of the more expensive materials.
Paid Exam Fees
The cost of sitting for an actuarial exam depends on which exam you’re taking and how far along you are on your exam journey.
The later exams tend to be more expensive, and SOA exams tend to be more expensive than CAS ones.
But either way, getting your exam fee paid by your employer is an awesome perk. It’s one less thing that you have to pay for!
Raises When You Pass Exam
You usually only hear about raises for passing exams in long-term actuarial jobs, but some employers offer raises for exams passed during your internship.
It’s worth checking if the internship you have in mind offers these perks, because they can save you a TON of money in the long run!
2. Get a Scholarship/Bursary
If you’re in school, scholarships are a huge opportunity to fund your actuarial education. Luckily, there are tons of public scholarships available. With public scholarships, you don’t need to be enrolled in a specific school to qualify.
Some important things to know about scholarships:
- Most applications run from Fall to Spring for the following year of study. So if you want a scholarship for 2024, you’d apply from Fall 2023 to Spring 2024. Check all scholarship deadlines before you start applying!
- You need to attend college or university (or have plans to attend) to qualify for most scholarships.
- You don’t need to be in an Actuarial Science program to apply. Most of these scholarships are available to any student with an interest in the actuarial career.
- You may have to pass an exam to qualify for certain scholarships.
Here are some great scholarships for future actuaries!
International Association of Black Actuaries (IABA)’s Scholarship
IABA offers a scholarship to black students with an interest in the actuarial career. You must be a full-time student to qualify. The award ranges from $1,500-$5,000 per year. Learn more here.
ASNA-CIA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Scholarships
These scholarships are offered by the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA) and the Actuarial Students’ National Association (ASNA). There are three different awards, each worth $3,000.
- The Inclusive Culture Award
- The Academic Achievement Award
- The Indigenous Award
All three of these scholarships are awarded to students from underrepresented groups working towards their Associateship or Fellowship in Canada.
The Actuarial Foundation of Canada’s Scholarships
Canadian future actuaries, rejoice! The Actuarial Foundation of Canada offers tons of different scholarships, including research awards, diversity awards, and even awards to high school students attending university soon.
All of these are specific to students pursuing the actuarial career. Take a look at the scholarships offered here.
STEM Stars Actuarial Scholars Program
This scholarship from the Actuarial Foundation provides financial support throughout all 4 years of the winner’s undergraduate degree ($5,000 per year for 4 years), PLUS mentorship, tutoring, and exposure to job opportunities. It’s an awesome award! Check it out here.
CAS Trust Scholarship Program
The Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) offers a scholarship to full-time students pursuing the property/casualty actuarial field. You need to pass at least one actuarial exam to qualify. There are two awards for this scholarship, either $5,000 or $2,500. Check out the details here.
Organization of Latino Actuaries (OLA) Scholarships
The OLA offers scholarships to Latine future actuaries attending US colleges and universities. They also provide financial support for exams and attending conventions. This offers more opportunities to network and secure interviews. Learn more here!
3. Get Exam Reimbursements/Discounts
This is an awesome way to save money! Both CAS and SOA offer a discount on exam fees if you’re a full-time student. You can only get these on certain mid level exams, not Exam P or FM. But these later exams tend to be more expensive, so the discount is seriously worth it!
You can also be reimbursed for exam fees through the SOA or CAS if you live in certain countries or need financial aid. Check out their websites for more info on that!
There are TONS of opportunities that will help you pay for your actuarial journey. These are just a few that stood out to me!
If you’re searching for a scholarship or bursary, looking online is your best bet. You’ll find tons of scholarships you’ve never heard of before, way more than I can list here.
And, if you want a step-by-step guide to getting all the qualifications you need to become a TOP CANDIDATE for actuarial roles, I highly recommend joining the Actuary Accelerator Community (AAC)!
The AAC gives you access to an Excel course, programming lessons, networking help, plus group tutoring sessions, and so much more! It’s based on real actuarial job post data, and it’ll help you get your first job or internship WAY faster. Learn more and sign up for the waitlist here!