I know an individual whom I am trying to help (since I already know a few people involved with actuary work and have some contacts who have knowledge) that is interested in becoming an actuary and what it takes to become an actuary.
This individual is somewhat like me in background. They have a typical, civil engineering curriculum background (basic calculus, linear algebra, basic statistics/probabilities, etc.), along with some exposure to business curriculum classes.
My questions to all you experts is this. Is it possible for someone like this, given the fact that they will put the time in to prepare for exams, to actually prepare for and start passing the exams? This is all based on the fact that their mathematics background is somewhat more limited and elementary than someone who majored in mathematics or in actual actuarial science. Basically, does an elementary (when compared to a math major) mathematics background basically destroy the chance this individual has to preparing for and successfully passing exams? ...or do you feel that an engineering mathematics background is firm enough ground to consider the grueling process of preparing for these exams?
Actuaries come from all walks of life and educations. Of course having an applied math background will greatly help but just getting started I'm sure an engineer won't be floored by some probability, calculus or financial topics. If your friend dedicates the time and set's goals for himself he should be fine. The math that only the math majors see doesn't apply too much to the exams (as far as I can tell!) Topics like abstract algebra, real variables, dynamic models, etc might not really help much on the actuary track.