PDA

View Full Version : What is the chance for a foreigner to get an actuary job in U.S.?



magicalfox
May 22nd 2006, 09:52 PM
HI fellow perspective Actuaries,

I have a complicated question to ask here: I am a foreigner studying in
U.S. My background is physics, and right now in a good university getting
my Ph.D. But I'm not exactly interested in doing research and becoming a professor.
Actually I am seriously considering taking SOA or CAS exams and hopefully
evantually become an actuary. Given my "exotic background", what chance
do your guys figure I have in getting even a first job? -- I mean
after my graduation in two years hopefully with 3~4 exams passed?

Really puzzled about it right now. Any input of yours will be greatly appreciated!!

best,

Anna
May 22nd 2006, 11:25 PM
I'm an immigrant myself and I don't see why you would have a problem with getting a job here as long as all your documents are in order and you have the right to work... If you need a company to sponsor you work visa, it may be more complicated. If you have a green card you're golden, but I'm assuming that you don't.

magicalfox
May 23rd 2006, 09:52 AM
HI Anna, Thank you so much for your reply. My case is exactly like what you
suspected -- I will definitely need a work visa. Plus my background is really
nothing related to this field. I'm wondering if people would think what
is a physics Ph.D. doing in a actuarial job market? Plus, after a Ph.D., my salary
expectation will be probably slightly higher than a entry-level as a
underaduate could get. That could be another problem. --- Can I get more
advice from you? Thank you so much.


I'm an immigrant myself and I don't see why you would have a problem with getting a job here as long as all your documents are in order and you have the right to work... If you need a company to sponsor you work visa, it may be more complicated. If you have a green card you're golden, but I'm assuming that you don't.

krzysio
May 23rd 2006, 11:20 AM
HI Anna, Thank you so much for your reply. My case is exactly like what you
suspected -- I will definitely need a work visa. Plus my background is really
nothing related to this field. I'm wondering if people would think what
is a physics Ph.D. doing in a actuarial job fair? Plus, after a Ph.D., my salary
expectation will be probably slightly higher than a entry-level as a
underaduate could get. That could be another problem. --- Can I get more
advice from you? Thank you so much.

Entry level actuarial jobs pay slightly more than entry level academic jobs with a Ph.D. in physics. So your expectations should be slightly lower than those of American undergraduates in actuarial science. Pass three exams and apply aggressively. Learn the business of insurance and learn business communication. I am assuming you are serious about this -- after all, you spent a lot of time getting a Ph.D. in physics, that's hard work, and you apparently want to leave this now. Are you sure? Why do you want to do this? By the way, you need to have an absolute commitment to the actuarial career, if you want it.

Yours,
Krzys'

Shweta
May 23rd 2006, 06:41 PM
Entry level actuarial jobs pay slightly more than entry level academic jobs with a Ph.D. in physics. So your expectations should be slightly lower than those of American undergraduates in actuarial science. Pass three exams and apply aggressively. Learn the business of insurance and learn business communication. I am assuming you are serious about this -- after all, you spent a lot of time getting a Ph.D. in physics, that's hard work, and you apparently want to leave this now. Are you sure? Why do you want to do this? By the way, you need to have an absolute commitment to the actuarial career, if you want it.

Yours,
Krzys'

I'm in a similar position to the original poster. I've just graduated with a Master's in Astronomy and am about to write FM in two days. I have some further questions:

-- Can reluctance to sponsor a visa be reduced by offering to pay for it myself?
-- I haven't had an actuarial internship (my decision to enter the profession was made very recently) and don't have a chance of getting one (not enrolled in college). How much will this hurt employment prospects?
-- Where can I start some systematic study of insurance?

Thanks in advance for any answers.

Shweta

crayolaab
May 23rd 2006, 07:28 PM
I'm in a similar position to the original poster. I've just graduated with a Master's in Astronomy and am about to write FM in two days. I have some further questions:

-- Can reluctance to sponsor a visa be reduced by offering to pay for it myself?
-- I haven't had an actuarial internship (my decision to enter the profession was made very recently) and don't have a chance of getting one (not enrolled in college). How much will this hurt employment prospects?
-- Where can I start some systematic study of insurance?

Thanks in advance for any answers.

Shweta

1. No, at least not in my experience. I don't know if it's still the case but my stepmother worked at a large insurance company and they had caps on the number of visas they could apply for in a given year; it doesn't matter how much they like you if they have already filled their quota.

2. I never had an internship and was offered a job.

3. No idea ;)

magicalfox
May 23rd 2006, 09:05 PM
HI Krzysio,

Thanks a lot for the detailed suggestions. I was comparing the salary
of entering an industrial/research company after a Ph.D. (7~80k) with
the entry-level actuarial job. Afterall, a faculty job is somewhat low-paid
but flexible with personal time+lots of vacations.

I didn't worry about the initial salary but about the career perspectives--
I thought salary increases fast with # of exams passed and experiences.
Plus, I'd really like to get into business or managerial jobs. And I like numbers
but do not love low incomes and endless applications for research funds.
These are the main reasons I'm considering switching to actuarial jobs. But
I'm really new here and don't know much about the actual world of actuaries,
so I can't tell if I'm just fantasizing about it. Can you please help clarify it?

By the way, I thought if I could pass more exams (say 5~6 exams in two years
before I leave here with a Ph.D.), I got better chance with getting a decent-
paid job (say, 60K as a start?). But why did people say that too many exams
passed can be a problem?

Thank you so much for your help and it is really great chatting with you and all other guys.



Entry level actuarial jobs pay slightly more than entry level academic jobs with a Ph.D. in physics. So your expectations should be slightly lower than those of American undergraduates in actuarial science. Pass three exams and apply aggressively. Learn the business of insurance and learn business communication. I am assuming you are serious about this -- after all, you spent a lot of time getting a Ph.D. in physics, that's hard work, and you apparently want to leave this now. Are you sure? Why do you want to do this? By the way, you need to have an absolute commitment to the actuarial career, if you want it.

Yours,
Krzys'

magicalfox
May 23rd 2006, 09:16 PM
Hey caryolaab,

I'm curious about your opinions. Can you please also help answer
the questions I had for Krzysio? Thanks a lot!!


1. No, at least not in my experience. I don't know if it's still the case but my stepmother worked at a large insurance company and they had caps on the number of visas they could apply for in a given year; it doesn't matter how much they like you if they have already filled their quota.

2. I never had an internship and was offered a job.

3. No idea ;)

crayolaab
May 23rd 2006, 09:37 PM
Magicalfox, I've just entered the field so my advice is not very helpful, but I will say that I have read here and on other forums that too many exams passed without experience is bad because employers don't want to pay you what your exams say you are worth without you having any experience. I would recommend (based on information here and other forums) that you should take three or four of the first four exams P, FM, C and M through the SOA/CAS and that would be more than enough. Taking any more than that is silly because they are so expensive and it gets harder to juggle them with a job as well. However, I think $60k for entry level with no experience is REALLY reaching; based on my research, $50k would be a reach but possible and $45k should be quite certain.

Salary does seem to increase quite well with exam passes but of course I have yet to experience that, having just started! :)

I hope that helps somewhat!

magicalfox
May 23rd 2006, 10:11 PM
I see. It seems that I should really expect a much lower salary than
expected. THanks a lot for your advice and great luck to us with our jobs !! :)



Magicalfox, I've just entered the field so my advice is not very helpful, but I will say that I have read here and on other forums that too many exams passed without experience is bad because employers don't want to pay you what your exams say you are worth without you having any experience. I would recommend (based on information here and other forums) that you should take three or four of the first four exams P, FM, C and M through the SOA/CAS and that would be more than enough. Taking any more than that is silly because they are so expensive and it gets harder to juggle them with a job as well. However, I think $60k for entry level with no experience is REALLY reaching; based on my research, $50k would be a reach but possible and $45k should be quite certain.

Salary does seem to increase quite well with exam passes but of course I have yet to experience that, having just started! :)

I hope that helps somewhat!

Shweta
May 24th 2006, 11:51 AM
1. No, at least not in my experience. I don't know if it's still the case but my stepmother worked at a large insurance company and they had caps on the number of visas they could apply for in a given year; it doesn't matter how much they like you if they have already filled their quota.

2. I never had an internship and was offered a job.

3. No idea ;)
Thanks, crayolaab.

crayolaab
May 24th 2006, 06:21 PM
I see. It seems that I should really expect a much lower salary than
expected. THanks a lot for your advice and great luck to us with our jobs !! :)

I don't knwo if this is exactly true, but in my experience your salary will not necessarily be higher with lots of exams if you haven't the experience.

Here is a link to a salary survey done by DW Simpson a leading recruiter for the field:

http://www.dwsimpson.com/salary.html

Now, notice that there is no category for 5+ exams and no experience. If you have no experience and more than four exams, I would look at the "4 exams and 0 - 0.5 years experience" category. Maybe 60k is more attainable than I was thinking, but I do tend to think that's for people more on the 0.5 years experience end.

magicalfox
May 25th 2006, 01:59 AM
Yeah, crayolaab. I agree with you. But the salary hopefully grows fast with
experience.



I don't knwo if this is exactly true, but in my experience your salary will not necessarily be higher with lots of exams if you haven't the experience.

Here is a link to a salary survey done by DW Simpson a leading recruiter for the field:

http://www.dwsimpson.com/salary.html

Now, notice that there is no category for 5+ exams and no experience. If you have no experience and more than four exams, I would look at the "4 exams and 0 - 0.5 years experience" category. Maybe 60k is more attainable than I was thinking, but I do tend to think that's for people more on the 0.5 years experience end.