The SOA offers 3 different different certifications: Associate of the Society of Actuaries (ASA), Chartered Enterprise Risk Analyst (CERA), and Fellow of the Society of Actuaries (FSA). The traditional path for most students pursuing an FSA is to earn their ASA shortly after graduating college. Some students may choose to pursue a CERA credential instead of an ASA. Both credentials are stepping stones to the FSA. For more information on the CERA credential, visit https://www.soa.org/Education/Exam-Req/edu-cera-req.aspx
There are 6 exams in the ASA curriculum, with 2 (P and FM) counting towards the ACAS certification with the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS), 3 VEEs (Validation by Educational Experience), and 4 e-Learning Modules.
Exam P (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.
Exam FM (Interest Theory)
This exam covers interest theory and introductory financial mathematics. M 329F (Interest Theory) covers the majority of the content for this exam. Multiple sections of M 329F are offered each fall and spring semester.
Exam FAM (Fundamentals of Actuarial Mathematics)
This exam covers the fundamentals for short-term and long-term insurance coverages. The majority of the content for this exam is covered in M 339J (Probability Models with Actuarial Applications) and M 339U (Actuarial Contingent Payments I). A small portion of the topics for this exam are covered in M 339D (Introduction to Financial Math for Actuaries), M 339V (Actuarial Contingent Payments II), and M 339C (Actuarial Case Studies).
Exam SRM (Statistics for Risk Modeling)
This exam covers predictive analytics topics including regression, time series and the generalized linear model. This will be a formal prerequisite to the new Predictive Analytics Exam. Students might take M 349R (Applied Regression and Time Series), M 339G (Predictive Analytics), M 378N (Generalized Linear Models), and some self-study.
Exam ALTAM (Advanced Long-Term Actuarial Mathematics) or EXAM ASTAM (Advanced Short-Term Actuarial Mathematics)
Only one of these two exams is required to complete the ASA pathway.
- Exam ALTAM provides advanced coverage of contingent payment models and the application of those models to insurance and other financial risks. Students interested in consulting or life insurance would likely take ALTAM.
- Exam ASTAM provides advanced coverage of frequency, severity, aggregate, and credibility models. Students interested in health insurance would likely take ASTAM.
Exam PA (Predictive Analytics)
This exam covers the ability to employ selected analytic techniques to solve business problems. This exam consists of analyzing a dataset in the context of a business problem and submitting a report. Students might take M 349R, M 339G, M 378N, M 375T (Actuarial Topics), and some self-study.
E-Learning Pre-Actuarial Foundations
This e-Learning Module introduces skills in emotional intelligence (EQ) and adaptability (AQ), covers the role of an actuary, and builds on technical expertise gained through Exams P and FM.
E-Learning Actuarial Science Foundations
This e-Learning Module builds on the emotional intelligence (EQ) and adaptability (AQ) skills introduced in the Pre-Actuarial Foundations e-Learning Module and leverages technical expertise gained through Exams SRM and FAM.
E-Learning FAP (Fundamentals of Actuarial Practice)
This e-Learning Course encompasses real-world applications and examples to demonstrate actuarial principles and practices.
E-Learning ATPA (Advanced Topics in Predictive Analytics)
ATPA is a set of preparatory e-Learning modules and a written, take-home assessment consisting of a data set and a realistic business problem.
For more details on the preleminary, associate, or fellowship exams in the SOA curriculum, check out their pathways: https://pathways.soa.org/designations