Who is an actuary?
An actuary is a professional educated in actuarial science or closely related field. Actuarial science is a profession that applies statistical, probability and mathematical techniques to assess risk in various sectors such as finance, insurance among other industries. As a profession, it helps businesses develop policies and programs that helps in addressing anticipated future risks and uncertainties.
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The work of actuaries entails the use of statistics, mathematics, and probability as well as financial and risk theories to develop solutions to real-life financial problems involving future uncertainty. The primary objective of actuaries is to help clients and their businesses develop solutions and policies that are aimed at minimizing the cost of risks in the event it occurs. These risks and uncertainties are usually associated with casualty insurance, life insurance, property insurance, annuities, pension schemes or other employee benefits.
What is actuary’s work environment?
Actuaries work mostly in an office setting. Senior actuaries or those who work as consultants may travel to meet with clients for business purposes.
What are some actuary’s career opportunities?
Actuaries are employed by Government, academia, the private sector and Non-Governmental Organizations among other areas.
Typical areas of employment include; Government, life & non-life insurance companies, accounting firms, pension and retirement organizations, banking institutions, stock exchange market, multinational businesses, Non-Governmental Organizations, Academic and research fields among other areas.
These professionals can also use their creativity and start their own consultancy businesses/ self-employment.
How to become an actuary in Kenya
Subject’s choice in secondary schools plays a vital role towards ones future career choice. It is therefore important for young people to become aware of the various subjects combination required for various career options.
High school subject selection
To pursue a career as an actuary therefore, you will require good performance in the following cluster subjects.
- SUBJECT 1: MAT A,
- SUBJECT 2: any GROUP II,
- SUBJECT 3, any GROUP III,
- SUBJECT 4: 2nd GROUP II or 2nd GROUP III or a GROUP IV or any GROUP V (subject’s source); JAB/ Kuccps.
Education and Training Routes
If you work hard and score good grades in the above subject’s combination with an overall, KCSE mean grade C+ (plus) and above, you can pursue this career directly in the university (academic route).
However, if you do not qualify for direct university admission for this career option, you can still pursue it through a different route (technical route). Under the technical route, you will pursue a diploma course that can help you further your education and become an actuary.
So what course(s) can you pursue in either route and eventually become an actuary?
Bachelor of Science in Actuarial Science or similar course(s). At least KCSE mean grade C+ (plus) and above.
- Diploma in actuarial science
- Diploma in statistics
- Diploma in computer studies
- Diploma in education majoring in mathematics
These diploma courses require at least KCSE mean grade C- (minus) and above. It is worthy to note that, with a diploma in any of the above fields, you can either choose to get a job in line with your training or further your education to your desired career option.
Important skills to have
To work successfully as an actuary, you will be required to possess important skills some of which are listed below.
- Math skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Communication skills
- Analytical skills
- Interpersonal skills
- Creativity skills
- Financial skills
- Research skills
- Presentation skills among others
Throughout your education and training, these skills will be emphasized. However, it’s your responsibility to make sure before you enter the job market; you possess much of these skills.
How to Join College and or university
There are two ways you can follow to join training institution(s) in pursuit of your career of choice. The majority way is applying through the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (Kuccps). This is a state owned agency that admits/ places government sponsored students to colleges and universities. One of the advantages of applying through Kuccps is that, upon successful placement, you will pay subsidized fee as a government sponsored student.
To be placed through Kuccps you must have attained a certain pass mark required for various education levels for (degrees/diplomas/certificates etc.) For more details on placement criteria, visit Kuccps website. The second approach is applying directly to training institution of your choice. Students who opt to apply this way do not get government fee subsidy and are therefore self-sponsored.
How to fund your post-secondary education.
If you are a needy student, upon application, you can get education loan from Higher Education Loans Board (HELB), a state owned institution that gives education loans to students joining technical colleges and universities. You can also access education bursaries from your local Member of Parliament (MP) or the County Government among other sources.