Professional Certification

Professional Certification

Passing the exams of the Society of Actuaries (SOA) or the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) is absolutely essential to a successful actuarial career.  Students that have passed two or more exams have much better employment opportunities and salaries for both permanent jobs and summer internships.

Detailed official information on certification and exams is available from SOA and CAS.  This page is an unofficial guide for UT actuarial students with the most relevant aspects of the two credentialing systems.  General certification information can be found here.

Education is the basis for certification by the SOA or CAS.  Some subjects are required as background, some are validated by educational experience (VEE) and some are validated by preliminary exams administered by the SOA or CAS. 

Our students are able to take:
Classes to help prepare for all the preliminary exams
VEE courses needed to earn an associate credential from either SOA or CAS
Most of the courses required for the CERA credential from SOA.

Subjects Required as Background

Calculus (M 408C/D, 408K/L/M or 408N/S/M)
Linear algebra (M 341 or 340L)
Accounting (ACC 310F or 311/312)
Business law (LEB 320F or 323)
Mathematical statistics (M 358K or 378K), which is examined by CAS as part of Exam 3L

These classes are prerequisites for many of the following actuarial courses.

Subjects Validated by Educational Experience

There are three subjects validated by educational experience (VEE) - Applied Statistics, Corporate Finance and Economics - that can be fulfilled independently of the exam process. To earn VEE credit, one must take an approved course during the approved time frame and receive a B- or better.  UT offers courses to earn credit in each topic:

Economics (ECO 304K & ECO 304L)
Corporate Finance (FIN 357)
Applied Statistical Methods (M 349R) 

More information about VEE (including all the approved VEE courses available through UT) can be found here.

Preliminary Examinations

The SOA and CAS administer joint exams that count in both certification systems.  Each society also administers a preliminary exam that only counts for its own certification.  The following preliminary exams are most likely to be relevant to UT actuarial students:

Joint Exam P/1 (Probability)
This exam covers calculus-based probability, with many problems set as word problems involving risk.  M 362K typically covers 80% of the content for this exam.  Multiple sections of this course are offered each fall, spring and summer.  In addition to the class, students should plan on preparing an additional 150+ hours if they wish to successfully pass exam P/1.  Similar preparation is required for the other exams.

Joint Exam FM/2 (Interest Theory)
This exam covers interest theory and introductory financial mathematics.  ACF 329 (Interest Theory) covers 75% of the content for this exam.  Traditionally, we offer at least two sections of ACF 329 each fall and spring semester and one section during the summer.  M 339D (Introduction to Financial Mathematics for Actuarial Applications) covers the remaining 25% of the content for FM/2. 

We recommend that students preparing for this exam take M 339D the semester immediately after ACF 329.  M 339D is not required for graduation; however, it is a prerequisite for M 339W.  Some students may consider taking the FM/2 after completing ACF 329 if they learn the remaining derivative market content through independent study.

SOA Exam MLC (Life Contingencies)
This exam covers life contingent actuarial models, including contingent payment models and survival models and special stochastic processes.  Our two-semester sequence M 339U & M 339V covers all the learning objectives for this exam.  M 339U (Actuarial Contingent Payments I) is offered each fall semester and M 339V (Actuarial Contingent Payments II) is offered each spring, although these courses may be offered in additional semesters if the need exists.

CAS Exam 3L (Models for Life Contingencies and Statistics)
This exam covers the same general topics as SOA Exam MLC, with different emphases, as well as mathematical statistics.  The CAS grants credit for Exam 3L to anyone passing SOA Exam MLC.

Joint Exam MFE/3F (Financial Economics)
This exam covers financial economics: the basic mathematical analysis of options and other financial derivatives.  M 339W (Financial Mathematics for Actuarial Applications) is offered each fall.

Joint Exam C/4 (Construction and Evaluation of Actuarial Models)
This exam covers simple risk measures; frequency and severity-of-loss and compound models; simulation and its use in modeling; and construction and validation of actuarial models, including credibility theory and estimating and fitting survival models.  M 339J (Probability Models with Actuarial Applications) offered in the spring, and M 349P (Actuarial Statistical Estimates) offered in the fall cover 100% of the content for Exam C/4.