The actuarial profession is comparatively small, with about 1,500 qualified actuaries active in the United Kingdom and half that number overseas. An advantage of this is that actuaries and students know a high proportion of their colleagues. There are local professional societies in Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, Manchester and Norwich. Both the Institute of Actuaries and the Faculty of Actuaries in Scotland have student societies.
Entry to the Institute of Actuaries is nowadays mostly through universities by graduates with an honours degree in mathematics or with a significant mathematical content. Other first and second class graduates must have at least a grade C at GCE 'A' Level in a mathematical subject. Non-graduates must have at least a grade B in 'A' Level in a mathematical subject (grade C in the case of Further Mathematics or Higher Mathematics) together with at least a grade C at 'A' Level in another subject plus three other passes at grade C at '0' Level, including English Language or English Literature.
Some exemptions are available from subjects of the professional examinations for those who have passed degree or statistical diploma or certificate examinations at a sufficiently high standard.
The Institute's examinations comprise 17 papers in 10 subjects, namely:
Probability and elementary statistics
Life and other contingencies
Investment: principles and economic background
Mortality and other actuarial statistics
The Faculty of Actuaries in Scotland has arrangements for entry and examinations that differ in detail from the above.
Tuition for the examinations is provided by the Actuarial Tuition Service for both the Institute and the Faculty. Tuition is conducted largely by correspondence. A tutorial system is in operation and some classes are available, for example, in London and Edinburgh.
Direct entry to the qualifying examinations for Associateship, the first qualification, is available to students with qualifications such as a National Certificate or Diploma awarded by the Business Education Council or a General Certificate in Education with passes in two subjects at 'A' Level and two subjects at '0' Level.
One pass must be in English or English Language.
Other intending students must take a National Certificate or get the requisite 'A' or '0' Level passes. However, those aged 20 or over with four '0' Level passes in a suitable combination of subjects may take... see: Entry Qualifications
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