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Can a Felon Become an Actuary: Exploring the Possibilities

The actuarial profession is a highly respected and lucrative career path, where professionals evaluate financial risks and help develop policies to minimize the costs associated with uncertainties or disasters. Actuaries play a vital role in the insurance industry, and their mathematical and analytical skills are highly valued. However, for individuals with a criminal past, specifically those with a felony conviction, the question arises: can a felon become an actuary?

Navigating the professional world with a felony record can be a challenging task, as background checks and potential limitations exist in various industries. In the case of actuaries, several factors need to be considered, such as the nature of the offense, the candidate’s qualifications, and potential restrictions on obtaining necessary certifications. Understanding these factors can provide insight into the possibility of embarking on an actuarial career despite having a felony in one’s background.

Understanding the Actuary Profession

Actuaries are professionals who specialize in assessing and managing risk through the application of advanced mathematical, statistical, and analytical skills. They play a crucial role in various industries, including insurance, finance, and pension sectors, where accurate risk management is essential.

Roles and Responsibilities

Actuaries are responsible for a wide range of tasks that help businesses make informed decisions based on quantitative data. Some of their key roles and responsibilities include the following:

  • Risk assessment: Actuaries use their expertise in math and science to systematically analyze data and evaluate potential risks associated with various financial and insurance products. This information helps companies make better decisions and develop appropriate strategies to minimize potential losses.

  • Financial modeling: Actuaries create complex financial models to project future outcomes and identify potential scenarios. These models help organizations understand the potential impact of various decisions on their finances, allowing them to make more informed choices.

  • Product development and pricing: Actuaries apply their knowledge of risk assessment and financial modeling to develop and price new products. They work closely with other professionals, such as underwriters and product managers, to ensure that products meet market needs while maintaining an acceptable level of risk.

  • Regulatory compliance: As experts in finance and law, actuaries ensure that businesses comply with industry regulations and guidelines. They help organizations navigate the complex legal landscape by interpreting relevant laws and advising on compliance requirements.

  • Consulting: Many actuaries work as consultants, providing their expertise to clients on a project basis. They may advise companies on risk management strategies, help develop new products, or analyze the financial impact of proposed changes to existing products.

Actuaries are highly valued for their ability to combine mathematical and analytical skills with practical knowledge of finance, law, and risk management. By applying this expertise, they contribute to the overall success of organizations in various industries and help them navigate uncertain economic climates.

Education and Certification Requirements

Actuarial Science

A strong foundation in mathematics and an undergraduate degree in actuarial science or a related field, such as mathematics, statistics, or finance is typically required to pursue a career as an actuary. Actuarial science programs often include courses in probability theory, mathematical modeling, risk management, and life contingencies. Developing strong computer skills and having knowledge of programming languages, such as Python or R, is also advantageous for actuaries.

Validation by Educational Experience

As part of the certification process, actuaries must also acquire Validation by Educational Experience (VEE) credits. The purpose of VEE is to ensure actuaries have a well-rounded education and possess critical skills outside of actuarial exams. VEE credits cover topics such as economics, corporate finance, and applied statistical methods. These credits can be obtained by completing approved college courses or online self-study courses with a minimum grade requirement.

Society of Actuaries

The Society of Actuaries (SOA) offers several actuarial designations, including Associate of the Society of Actuaries (ASA), Chartered Enterprise Risk Analyst (CERA), and Fellow of the Society of Actuaries (FSA). To earn these designations, actuaries must pass a series of exams and meet specific education and experience requirements. The exam process is rigorous and usually takes several years to complete. Actuaries specializing in life insurance, health insurance, retirement benefits, and investment are typically affiliated with SOA.

Casualty Actuarial Society

The Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) offers designations for actuaries specializing in property and casualty insurance, such as automobile, homeowners, and workers’ compensation insurance. To earn a designation from CAS, actuaries need to pass their sequence of rigorous exams and fulfill the education and experience requirements. The designations offered by CAS include Associate of the Casualty Actuarial Society (ACAS) and Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society (FCAS).

Job Opportunities and Career Path

Given the Felony Conviction

A felony conviction can make it challenging for individuals to find employment in various fields, including actuarial careers. However, it is not impossible for a felon to become an actuary. According to Felony Record Hub, opportunities exist for those determined to overcome their past and work towards a successful and rewarding job as an actuary.

While some employers may be hesitant to hire someone with a felony record, each case is considered on its merit, considering factors such as the nature of the crime, rehabilitation efforts, and elapsed time since the conviction. Demonstrating dedication to self-improvement, education, and attaining actuarial credentials can help improve job prospects for felons seeking actuarial positions.

Career Advancements

The actuarial profession follows an established career path that entails several steps before reaching the top level. Beginning as an entry-level actuary, individuals are expected to pass a series of actuarial exams that lead to credentials from organizations like the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) or the Society of Actuaries (SOA). The actuarial career path consists of the following progression:

  • Entry-level actuary
  • Associate level actuary
  • Fellow level actuary
  • Chief Actuary or Actuarial Director

Attaining the status of Associate or Fellow opens up opportunities for career advancement and higher salaries. As actuaries advance in their career, they gain more responsibilities, such as supervising junior staff, designing, and pricing new insurance products or even taking up management roles.

The job outlook for actuaries is quite positive, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting a 18% growth in employment between 2020 and 2030, faster than the average growth rate for all occupations. This rising demand is attributed to the increasing need for professionals who can analyze and manage the financial risks faced by insurance companies and other businesses.

Actuarial professionals can expect competitive salaries. Entry-level actuaries can earn a median salary of around $66,000, while the median salary for a fully-qualified actuary is around $111,000. Higher-level positions, such as Chief Actuary or Actuarial Director, can earn salaries of $150,000 or more.

Working as an actuary provides a challenging and rewarding career path that offers job stability, a competitive salary, and opportunities for professional growth. While a felony conviction may initially present hurdles in pursuing an actuarial career, perseverance, education, and a focus on rehabilitation can help overcome these challenges and pave the way for a fulfilling career as an actuary.

Impact of Criminal Record on Actuarial Careers

A criminal record, particularly felony convictions, can have a significant impact on an individual’s ability to pursue a career as an actuary. In the actuarial profession, trustworthiness and ethical conduct are of utmost importance, as actuaries deal with sensitive financial information and help businesses develop policies to manage risk. This section will discuss the implications of having a criminal record within the context of background checks.

Background Checks

A common practice among employers in the actuarial field is to conduct background checks on potential employees. These checks typically include verification of education, employment history, and criminal records. A criminal record, especially one involving crimes related to financial services, money laundering, or fraud, can make it difficult for aspiring actuaries to be considered for a job in the industry 1.

In some cases, individuals with felony convictions in the mentioned areas may be barred from working in the insurance industry altogether. Furthermore, even if someone with a criminal record managed to secure employment as an actuary, their career progression might be hindered due to the trust issues associated with their past 2.

It is crucial for individuals with a criminal record to be aware of these potential challenges when considering a career as an actuary. While having a criminal record may not make it impossible to become an actuary, it can undoubtedly make the process more challenging and may restrict opportunities within the profession. Consequently, individuals with a felony conviction should carefully weigh their options and be prepared to work diligently to overcome potential roadblocks on their path to becoming a successful actuary.

Additional Education and Networking for Felons

Continuing Education

For aspiring actuaries with a felony, it is crucial to stay updated with the latest industry knowledge and trends. Engaging in continuing education courses can help develop and refine necessary skills, ensuring professional growth in the field. These courses may cover risk management, financial mathematics, and other actuarial subjects, enabling felons to build a strong foundation for a successful career as an actuary.

Training Programs

In addition to formal education, there are several training programs available to strengthen an individual’s actuarial skills. Felons can explore hands-on training through internships or cooperative programs, which provide practical experience working with real-world actuarial problems. Furthermore, there are various online courses and resources available that focus on topics such as:

  • Actuarial exam preparation
  • Advanced mathematics
  • Statistical analysis methods

Participating in these training programs can help felons enhance their knowledge base, improve their chances of passing actuarial exams, and increase their employability in the field.

Networking Strategies

Networking is an essential aspect of achieving success as an actuary, especially for felons who may face additional barriers to entry. Developing a strong professional network can lead to job opportunities, provide insights into the job market, and offer essential career guidance. Some effective networking strategies include:

  • Joining industry associations, such as the Society of Actuaries (SOA) or the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS), to meet fellow professionals and gain access to valuable resources
  • Attending actuarial conferences or industry events, which offer opportunities to connect with other actuaries and learn about current trends in the field
  • Engaging in online forums and communities to seek advice, ask questions, and share experiences

By focusing on continuing education, participating in training programs, and employing effective networking strategies, felons can increase their chances of overcoming challenges and achieving success in the actuarial field.

Advice for Felons Entering the Actuarial Field

Internships and Entry-level Jobs

Finding internships and entry-level jobs is a crucial first step for felons entering the actuarial field. Employers often prioritize candidates who have practical experience, so gaining exposure to the industry is essential. As you search for internships, be prepared to disclose your criminal background when necessary, but focus on your mathematical skills and commitment to a career in actuarial science.

Regulations and Compliance

It is important for aspiring actuaries with felony convictions to be aware of regulations and compliance in the insurance industry. While some types of felony convictions, such as embezzlement or financial fraud, may disqualify you from working in the industry, others may not necessarily exclude you from becoming an actuary1. It is crucial to do thorough research on the specific regulations and licensing requirements for actuaries in your jurisdiction.

Work Experience

Gaining relevant work experience can help you prove your commitment and competence to potential employers. Look for opportunities in fields closely related to actuarial work, such as finance, accounting, or data analysis. Building a strong foundation in these areas can demonstrate your ability to perform actuarial tasks and contribute to an employer’s success.

Remember, it’s essential to approach your actuarial career with a positive mindset and determination. By understanding regulations, focusing on gaining industry-specific experience, and looking for internships and entry-level positions, you are increasing your chances of overcoming the challenges of your criminal background and achieving success as an actuary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What challenges do felons face in pursuing actuarial careers?

Felons may encounter difficulties when pursuing actuarial careers due to their criminal record. Some companies might be hesitant to hire someone with a criminal history, especially if the felony conviction is related to financial matters or demonstrates a lack of integrity. Such challenges can make it more difficult for felons to get their foot in the door in the actuarial profession.

How does a criminal record impact actuary license applications?

While having a criminal record does not automatically disqualify someone from becoming an actuary, it can have an impact on license applications. Licensing organizations may investigate an applicant’s background, and a felony conviction could be a factor considered during this process. It is essential for felons to be honest and upfront about their criminal history when applying for an actuarial license.

Are there any actuarial organizations that assist felons in entering the profession?

There aren’t any actuarial organizations specifically dedicated to assisting felons in entering the profession. However, some resources, such as the Felony Record Hub, provide information for felons interested in becoming actuaries. Networking, reaching out to support groups, and seeking career advice from professionals in the actuarial field can also help felons find opportunities and guidance.

What are the steps a felon should take to pursue a career in actuarial science?

A felon should start by obtaining a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, such as mathematics, statistics, or actuarial science. They should then pass actuarial exams and gain relevant work experience through internships or entry-level positions. Demonstrating professional growth, maintaining a strong work ethic, and showing a commitment to the actuarial profession can help felons overcome obstacles related to their criminal record.

Do actuarial companies have strict background check policies?

Actuarial companies’ background check policies vary widely, with some having more stringent background check requirements than others. Employers in the actuarial field will likely perform a background check during the hiring process, and a criminal record might be a hindrance for some opportunities. However, not all companies will have the same level of strictness in their background checks, so it’s important for felons to research potential employers to find those with more lenient policies.

How can a felon prove suitability for actuarial profession?

A felon can prove their suitability for the actuarial profession by demonstrating a commitment to professional and personal growth, obtaining relevant education and certifications, and gaining work experience in the field. Showing a strong work ethic, excellent problem-solving and communication skills, and a thorough understanding of actuarial principles can also help convince employers to look beyond the applicant’s criminal history. Transparency and honesty about their past, as well as demonstrating how they have grown and learned from their experiences, can help build trust with potential employers.


  1. Reddit – Can you be an actuary with a felony conviction of criminal record? 2

  2. Forum – How hard to get a job with a criminal record – Discuss Actuarial Exams