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career changer

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  • career changer

    I currently have an undergrad degree in biology and 4 years of lab experience, but would like to change over to the actuarial field. I sat for Exam P a week ago and am 75% certain I passed. I don't have any other experience that is related to the field. Should I be able to get a job with one exam and good references, or should I wait to start applying until I have passed another exam and have some of the VEE requirements out of the way?

  • #2
    As long as you have decent communication skills, you should be able to get a job with just one exam.


    • #3
      Similar situation

      mollys, I am in the same boat. I have been in a different career for over 4 years now, and sat for exam P two weeks ago. I'm even less confident I passed, but applied everywhere even before I took the exam.

      The truth is, if you came from a good school with an ok GPA, or at least an ok one w/ a darn good GPA, you're starting out average. Ensure you've got a good mathematics background, but a pass on 1/P would do the trick. If your work experience was different and challenging, that goes a long way. Many consulting actuarial firms are looking for different people than the same old actuarial science grad with 2 exams passed. Good, challenging work experience, even in a totally unrelated field, can substitute for those 2 exams. The key is that you didn't have much down time (ex...."I took a year off to 'find myself'"), and that you hit the ground running and have done well in everything you've done.

      Start shooting out applications. Although applying for positions online got me nowhere, I got all my interviews from an face-to-face actuarial career fair in NYC in January (held yearly), but I haven't heard of anything else. Might want to simply call firms up instead of just applying online.

      START NOW! You never know what door may open when you least expect it.


      • #4
        Part of my problem is that there are only a couple of places that I can apply to as I want to stay in Rochester, NY. If I can't find anything in the Rochester area I'll eventually branch out, but I have a lot in Rochester that I don't want to move away from.

        I'm not sure if it is better to apply for jobs when I have no exams passed, or just one - depending on how my February test went, and then reapply if I don't get a job again as I pass exams and get VEE credits or if I should wait until I have those credits and then start applying.


        • #5
          I would say start applying anyway, and tell them you have taken the exams and realize what kind of time commitment it is. Look at it this way - they aren't going to wait for you to apply to start hiring people!

          I'm sorry to say that unless you get REALLY lucky, you will have to move away from rochester if you want an actuarial job. I didn't get a job in the city I would like to live in (2 hours away), but the key is just to get a foot into the professions door, work hard and try to pass exams for a couple years, then re-evaluate your options. You may have much better luck finding a rochester actuarial spot as a more experienced actuarial analyst than an entry-level one.


          • #6
            I'm planning on moving away from Rochester if I can't get a job here, but I plan on getting at least the first two exams under my belt and the VEE requirements finished before I give up on finding a job here.