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Becoming an Actuary in SA

Entry routes

Becoming an Actuary is the ultimate career choice for those with a passion for maths and a desire to succeed. Students in South Africa can opt for one of two options if they want to become certified Actuaries.

If you decide to get a certification from ASSA, you will need to complete and successfully pass all their exams. You will be pleased to hear that they offer learning materials and resources necessary for studying for these exams. On the flip side, it is unfortunate to inform you that SAADP currently does not offer assistance to students enrolled in ASSA.

Should you choose to pursue an Actuarial Science degree at an ASSA-accredited university, you will have the opportunity to:

Let’s assume you’ve decided to pursue a university degree and want to discover how to prepare for university admission and eventually become a certified Fellow.

Below is the summary roadmap to becoming an Actuarial Science student:

Actuarial Science roadmap

In Grade 9

Choose a stream with Mathematics in it. You may choose the Science or Commerce stream.

In Grade 10

Science Stream: Obtain high marks in all subjects, but focus more on Maths, English and Physical Science.

Commerce Stream: Obtain high marks in all subjects, but focus nore on Maths and English.

In Grade 11

Maintain consistent performance across all terms. Take good care of your Report Card. Institutions  give conditional acceptance based on  your consistent academic performance in Grade 11.

In Grade 12
  • Apply to your chosen institution as early as February/March for Actuarial Science. 
  • Register for and write the  National Benchmark  Test (NBT).
  • Apply for SAADP Bursary before 31 August. Remember  to apply to other potential bursary opportunities as well. Maintain consistent academic performance across all terms.
Acceptance

Based on your satisfactory NSC, you are accepted to study Actuarial Science. Congratulations and good luck with your actuarial journey. SAADP is available to support you (if your bursary application is successful)

01

Choose subjects wisely in Grade 10

Selecting the right subjects in Grade 10 sets the foundation for getting into the Actuarial Science Lecture Hall. Pick Mathematics over Mathematical Literacy when choosing subjects for the FET (Further Education and Training) phase. You may consider the Commerce stream as Physical Sciences is not mandatory at some institutions but bear in mind that you may only study at those institutions. Make sure to stay consistent with your academic performance in Grade 10, as it will be important for university admissions and scholarship applications. While giving more attention to Maths, English, and/or Physical Sciences, don't neglect the other subjects and pass them at similar levels.

02

Obtain high marks in Grade 11

Grade 11 marks the beginning of your eligibility for university admission. It holds great significance for learners as universities consider it when making conditional offers for degrees like Actuarial Science. These offers are based on your performance in Grade 11 and also take into account your final Matric exam results. Academic excellence in subjects like Mathematics, English, and/or Physical Sciences is crucial, though some universities do not prioritize the latter. When applying for admission at university, it is important to include your Grade 11 results.

03

Obtain distinctions in Grade 12

Just as in Grade 11, you need to aim for relatively high grades across all subjects, with a particular focus on Mathematics, English, and Physical Sciences. To qualify for a university spot, students must achieve at least 80% (Level 7) in Mathematics, English, and/or Physical Sciences. Universities may offer you a firm place based on how high your level 7 is in all three subjects is due to competition for spots. Remember that international students are welcome to study at South African universities. Please be aware that institutions may give priority to those who have attained a higher level 7 first. In order to maximise your chances of admission, we advise that you raise the bar to a level between 90% and 100%, instead of 80% to 89%. Nevertheless, scoring between 80% - 89% does not eliminate the possibility of being considered. It is important to also achieve high marks in other subjects for overall consistency.

04

Obtain an Actuarial Science degree.

Conduct thorough research on the institution you want to attend. SAADP is currently collaborating with the University of the Witwatersrand, the University of Pretoria, and the University of Cape Town. SAADP will soon establish partnerships with the University of the Free State, University of North-West, University of Johannesburg, and Stellenbosch University.

Useful Links​

Actuarial degree programmes and their durations

Here are the Actuarial Science qualifications available from ASSA-accredited universities in South Africa.

University Qualification Duration
University of the Witwatersrand
Bachelor of Science (BSc)
3 years
University of Pretoria
Bachelor of Science (BSc)
3 years
University of Cape Town
Bachelor of Business Science (BBusc.)

Bachelor of Commmerce Degree
4 years

3 years
University of the Free State
Bachelor of Science (BSc)
3 years
University of North-West
Bachelor of Science (BSc)
3 years
University of Johannesburg
Bachelor of Science (BSc)
3 years
Stellenbosch University
Bachelor of Commerce (BCom.)
3 years

Other related degree programmes

Should it happen that Actuarial Science becomes difficult, students may seamlessly switch to the following programmes.

Degree Programme Institution
BCom. Statistics and Data Science
UP
BSc. Mathematical Statistics
UP | UCT
BSc. Statistical Sciences
UCT | SUN
BSc. Mathematical Science
Wits | UCT | UJ
BSc. Applied Statistics
UCT
BSc. Applied Mathematics
SUN | UP | UCT
BSc. Computational and Applied Mathematics
Wits
BSc. Mathematical Science - Computer Science
SUN
BSc. Economics and Mathematical Statistics
SUN

Understanding an actuary

Do you aspire to become an Actuary?

To understand an Actuary, it is essential to look into what they do. Actuaries are professionals in business and finance who utilize their knowledge in statistics and finance to analyse data to understand the probability of uncertain future events happening. The intriguing aspect lies in how actuaries approach this process.

What is an actuary?

Actuaries analyse data to predict future occurrences and quantify them. A strong grasp of calculus, algebra, and advanced statistics is essential for success in this field, enabling actuaries to navigate complex scenarios and shape financial strategies.

Highly skilled in mathematical, statistical, analytical, and strategic thinking, actuaries use these abilities to forecast uncertainty and assess the likelihood of financial losses. They frequently employ probability, statistics, and financial mathematics to estimate potential financial losses within various time frames.

Where do actuaries work?

Insurance

Estimate the amount necessary for an insurance company to cover claims by policyholders.

Banking

Determine the amount of interest owed on loans for business, home, or personal use.

Aviation and Mining

Estimate the amount an airline or mining company should reserve for accident claims .

Government

Estimate the amount the Department of Health should reserve for injury and negligence claims.

General Management

Estimate the amount a company should set aside regularly for employee pension and retirement benefits.

Pensions

Design and advise on retirement plans.

Investment Management

Participate in asset transactions, analyze investments, and manage portfolios.

Corporate Finance

Predict, evaluate risks, and determine the financial feasibility of a capital project, like constructing a new building for business expansion.

Some personality traits of a good actuary

Most actuaries who excel are typically conventional people. They are typically meticulous and methodical and enjoy working in a well-organized setting. Those that make it in this filed show: