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SOA - Examination and Other Requirement Details

Examination and Other Requirement Details

Professional Development Requirement

The Professional Development (PD) requirement of the SOA curriculum serves to cover topics that the practitioner will need to learn throughout his/her career, including those that are country–specific, regulatory, or otherwise time–sensitive in nature. While this catalog attempts to cover all major facets of the PD requirement, candidates are advised to read carefully the iformation provided on the PD page of the SOA web site. for more indepth coverage of the requirement, helpful sample information, approved program lists and any updates regarding the PD process.

The Professional Development (PD) requirement of the SOA curriculum serves to cover topics that the practitioner will need to learn throughout his/her career, including those that are country–specific, regulatory, or otherwise time–sensitive in nature. While this catalog attempts to cover all major facets of the PD requirement, candidates are advised to read carefully the iformation provided on the PD page of the SOA web site. for more in–depth coverage of the requirement, helpful sample information, approved program lists and any updates regarding the PD process.

Candidates should note that Executed PD plans will be accepted until October 31, 2007 with final completion no later than December 31, 2007. The deadline dates may be slightly later, based on 2007 PEC and Qualifications Seminar dates, and will be finalized once the PEC and Qualifications seminar dates are announced. Unfulfilled PD credits will be forfeited after the PD component is discontinued. This deadline extension applies to all candidates.

PD for Fellowship

Candidates may file a PD plan if they meet one or more of the following requirements:

  1. Candidate has PD credits from the 2000 Conversion
  2. Candidate has credit for Courses 1–6, the Course 7 Pretest and a Course 8 exam
  3. Candidate has credit for Courses 1–7 and sat for any Course 8 exam in November 2005
  4. Candidate has credit for Courses 1–8

When confirmation of initial acceptance is received, candidates may proceed with the additional activity required to completely execute their plans.

The depth of topic treatment for PD must go beyond the level covered on the Preliminary Education examinations and the Fellowship courses. At least 35 units must come from the completion of suitable formal professional development programs relevant to the chosen practice area (e.g.,seminars and symposia, meeting sessions, professional examinations, and courses). The candidate must obtain a minimum of 50 units of eligible education within a 25–month period. A project demonstrating effective application of professional skills relative to a legitimate issue within the chosen practice area must be completed for 15 units of credit. Candidates are permitted to include up to 15 units of PD credit from activities occurring prior to the date the initial plan is accepted by the SOA.

Eligible programs and projects are to be selected in accordance with SOA guidelines and the following overall educational objective approved by the Board of Governors.

Upon completion of the Professional Development (PD) requirement, the candidate will have a deeper understanding of the technical, legal, ethical, cultural, professional and practical parameters that apply to the chosen practice area, within the geographic territory or jurisdiction of the practice of the candidate.

PD candidates will first file an initial PD plan package for SOA acceptance, followed by an executed plan package when all required elements are complete.

Process–Initial Plan

  1. The candidate will identify his/her chosen practice area, territory of jurisdiction of practice, if applicable, and type of professional environment (business connection) in which the candidate plans to practice.
  2. The candidate will recruit an advisor with a minimum of 5 years experience as an FSA. (Candidate may include non–FSAs in an advisory panel if head of panel is a five–year FSA.) Advisor and candidate agree to and sign the PD Letter of Commitment (form available in back of catalog). Both are subject to the SOA's Code of Professional Conduct.
  3. In consultation with the advisor, educational objectives for the candidate's PD plan are identified that will address the candidate's own areas of professional interest, responsibility, long–term goals, or educational needs. Based on these objectives, the candidate may either adapt a Model Plan, or where the candidate elects to go outside the standard practice areas (or make use of programs not suitable for inclusion in a Model Plan), the candidate may develop a customized initial plan. The Model Plans are intended to be used primarily as a framework and candidates should consider tailoring the model plan objectives and topics to be covered to best fit their own PD needs.
  4. Whether a candidate develops a PD plan that is based on the framework of the Model Plans or develops a completely customized plan, the educational objectives articulated by the candidate should be clear and cohesive. A candidate may choose to provide a well-articulated overall educational objective or several, clearly integrated educational objectives.

    The initial plan document must include specific educational objectives, topics to be covered and an outline of the planned project. A candidate may include in the initial plan the general nature of the activities when known. Candidate and advisor then agree upon and sign the appropriate initial plan document for the candidate.

    Initial PD plans filed with the SOA will receive initial acceptance as of the date eligibility processing at the SOA office is completed. Responsibility for ensuring the quality and appropriateness of initial plans will rest directly with the candidate and advisor. The SOA will send an acknowledgement via email that the plan has been received and confirm the initial acceptance date. When confirmation of initial acceptance is received, candidates may proceed with the additional activity required to completely execute their plans.

    1. Initial plan document–signed by the candidate and advisor (Model or custom plan)
    2. Letter of Commitment–signed by the candidate and advisor
    3. PD filing fee and payment form (form available in the back of this catalog)

    Note: A maximum of 15 units of activity may be undertaken prior to the date of initial plan acceptance confirmation from the SOA.

  5. Once the candidate has received confirmation of initial plan acceptance from the SOA, the candidate will proceed with the execution of the proposed PD plan with continued guidance and review from the advisor. The plan must be completely executed within a 25-month period or by December 31, 2007 for Initial Plans submitted after November 30, 2005. The 25–month effective period for PD begins with the earlier of the following dates:

    1. date of the earliest professional program included in the PD plan, or
    2. date of advisor's sign–off on completion of the PD project component

The PD effective period ends with the advisor's sign–off on the completely executed PD plan.

Process–Executed Plan

The candidate and advisor take on full responsibility during the executed plan review stage. When advisor and candidate agree that all elements of the PD plan are completed, they are required to sign off on the review checklist, demonstrating that the final review was performed in accordance with the standards of the SOA. A written response to an executed plan submission will generally require 5–6 weeks.

The PD Committee will thoroughly review a sample of the PD completion reports submitted. An administrative review for eligibility and adherence to limits and requirements will be conducted on all final PD reports submitted. Any concerns flagged during the administrative review will also merit a plan submission through the formal content review process.

Executed plan package must include the following:

  1. Statement attesting to the plan's completion-signed by the advisor and candidate.
  2. Executed PD Plan Review Checklist-signed by the advisor and candidate. (Checklist available in the back of this catalog.)
  3. A brief report describing the overall educational benefits obtained and discussing any modifications to the original plan.
  4. A program summary for each program/session that describes how that program helped to attain the educational objectives of the plan and what the candidate learned from the program that may benefit the candidate's current or future practice. The summary must be more than a list of the topics covered at the session.

  5. Note: Given the examination-validated format of the CIA's Practice Education Course and the AAA's Seminar on Life and Health Qualifications, candidates making use of these courses need not provide individual summaries for these programs.

  6. Copy of the project report.
  7. For non-approved programs, supporting documents obtained through program attendance (e.g., programs, handouts).

PD Document Submission–Additional Guidelines

  1. All PD plan documents should be submitted to the PD Committee at the following address:

  2. Professional Development Committee
    Society of Actuaries
    475 N. Martingale Road, Suite 600
    Schaumburg, IL 60173–2226

  3. Please allow 5–6 weeks for a response to your executed plan submission, regardless of the content of the PD plan and amount of credits under review.
  4. Do not use company letterhead when submitting plan documents.
  5. Avoid binding plan documents, as the materials will need to be copied for review by the PD Committee. (Staples, clips or rubber bands are acceptable.)
  6. Include a cover memo stating the intent of the package (initial plan, executed plan, follow-up to previously submitted plan etc.)
  7. Include your PD filing fee and payment form when submitting your initial plan

  8. Note: If it is necessary to submit your PD filing fee and payment form separate from your PD plan documents, please send the payment to the address specified on the payment form for check or credit card payments. If submitting payment form along with plan documents, please send to the SOA office address, not the P.O. Box listed on the payment form.

Electronic Plan Submissions

PD plans may be submitted electronically to When adhering to the following guidelines, electronic submission of the plan facilitates the review/approval process.

  1. Initial Plan Package–Only the PD plan document need be submitted electronically. The original signed PD plan document along with hard copies of the letter of commitment and PD filing fee payment form must still be submitted to the PD Committee at the SOA office via mail or other courier at the same time as the electronic submission.
  2. Executed Plan Package–The executed plan documents may be submitted electronically. The original signed documents along with any necessary handouts or supporting documents not in electronic form must be submitted to the SOA office via mail or other courier at the same time as the electronic submission.

Electronic Document Guidelines

  1. Word, Excel, PowerPoint or PDF documents only
  2. Include cover letter information at the front of the document, not in the message portion of the email.
  3. Include the names of you and your advisor only once at the beginning of the document. Employer information should not be included in this document.

Plan Components–Minimum 50 units required

  1. Formal Professional Program Component = 35 units minimum
    1. SOA–approved Programs = 20 units minimum All SOA–approved programs and meeting sessions are listed on the PD page of the SOA Web site. Program sponsors requesting formal program approval may submit information to the SOA office, Attn: Meg Weber in the Actuarial Marketplace Solutions Department, or emailed to A sixty–minute hour will generally be awarded 1 unit. Typically, an SOA–approved seminar will be given a maximum of 6 units per day, with a limit of 15 units for any one program, regardless of length. The following types of programs will in most cases be SOA–approved:

      1. SOA, CAS, CIA, CCA, ASPPA or AAA programs (and other recognized actuarial organizations).
        • seminars
        • symposia
        • appropriate meeting sessions
      2. Evaluation–validated programs (with passing score)–Values for many examination– validated options are listed on the PD page of the SOA web site. Credits earned from examination– validated options or conversion do not count towards the 15 maximum credits allowed prior to filing an Initial PD plan.

      3. Candidates who have fulfilled their PD requirement through conversion and exam–validated credits only and are not required to complete a project do not need to file a PD plan. Please fax confirmation of your successful exam results to 847.273.8547. Your record will be updated to reflect the additional credits.

      4. Conversion credit from pre–2000 SOA education system–Credits are first applied to the project component, then to the SOA–approved program requirement and finally to any remaining units needed. However, a candidate with 15 or more units of conversion credit may elect to complete a project if desired. Conversion units do not count towards the 15 units allowed prior to filing an initial plan. Ph.D. dissertations or research papers published in refereed journals may also be eligible for credit if relevant.

      5. Programs or examinations required for PD by JBEA, AAA or CIA

Note: In special circumstances, such as when the candidate is active in an emerging practice area, relevant programs outside these categories (e.g., graduate level courses) may receive SOA-approved status.

Non–approved Programs = 15 Units maximum

The non-approved category includes educational programs that the candidate and advisor believe are consistent with the educational objectives of the candidate's plan. Non actuarial seminars, professional meetings and graduate level courses are among the programs suitable for inclusion. Non-approved programs are valued at a maximum of 5 units per full day program and 10 units maximum for any one program, regardless of length.

Program presenters may be awarded credit at a rate of 3 units for 1 hour of presentation. If the program is classified as SOA–approved, the presenter will receive SOA–approved units. If the program is not SOA –approved, the presenter will receive non–approved units for appropriate programs.

Candidates are permitted to make use of distance learning option up to a maximum of 15 units per plan (either SOA –approved or non–approved). Distance learning options may include activities such as professionally audio taped or videotaped programs, Internet programs, CD–ROM products or other distance media. However, distance learning options are limited to those sponsored by the SOA or other recognized actuarial organizations (e.g., CAS, CIA, CCA, ASPPA, AAA). If you have questions regarding the types of distance learning that may be appropriate for PD, please contact for clarification.

Please note: In the case of previously presented programs (e.g., audio or videotaped sessions or rebroadcasts of earlier live internet sessions), the date of the actual program will serve as the effective date for a candidate's PD plan, not the date a candidate listens to a tape or views a recorded program. The effective date is used for determining if the credit is to be included in the 15–unit limit prior to initial acceptance. The effective date must also fall within the candidate's 25–month timeframe; no credit will be granted for distance learning elements outside of that window.

All programs, regardless of approval status, must be consistent with the educational objectives of the candidate's PD plan for credit to be received.

  1. Project Component = 15 units (60–100 hours expected for completion)
    The candidate defines a project that addresses an issue of relevance to his/her chosen practice area and that relates to the candidate's stated educational objectives. The candidate discusses the project with his/her advisor and then undertakes the necessary research and investigation including most or all of the following steps:

    1. Identification of the practical situation or issue requiring research and analysis
    2. Review of appropriate literature
    3. Collection of data
    4. Analysis of data and literature
    5. Development and articulation of conclusions and recommendations reached from the research and analysis
    6. Oral communication of the project's purpose, scope, results and conclusion to the advisor and other relevant parties
    7. Written report

The project represents a significant work effort. It may be associated with work done in conjunction with the candidate's employment but must include additional independent research and relate to the educational objectives of the candidate's PD plan.

The PD Committee anticipates that the project will require a commitment of 60–100 hours by the candidate. The candidate will communicate the essential aspects of the project, orally for peer review and comment.

A written report on the project must be submitted to the SOA for review. Where the project contains information of a proprietary or sensitive nature, the candidate is not required to submit a full report; however, the candidate must provide a summary sufficient to allow assessment that the project has contributed satisfactorily to meeting the candidate's educational objectives. Candidates will not be required to submit a full project outline with the initial plan submission. However, the PD Committee will need to be able to clearly identify the project steps in the candidate's written project report submitted with the executed plan.

Please review the additional information on the PD requirement (including all related documents) on the SOA PD page.

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Associateship Professionalism Course (APC)

The Associateship Professionalism Course (APC) is part of the requirements for the Associate (ASA) designation. The Associateship Professionalism Course is one–half day in length. The course covers professionalism, ethics and legal liability and makes extensive use of the case study method. Candidates are eligible to register for the APC upon completing the preliminary education requirements and the first 5 modules of the Fundamentals of Actuarial Practice (FAP) course.

The SOA Board of Governors has approved the Canadian Institute of Actuaries' (CIA) Professionalism Course as a substitute for the APC. Therefore, Canadian candidates who attend the CIA course are not required to take the SOA course. The CIA provides our Registrar with passing candidate data.

For course dates and registration information, please see our Exams and Jobs section or contact or call 847.706.3561.

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Fellowship Admission Course (FAC)

The final requirement to attain the FSA designation, after all other educational requirements have been completed, is the Fellowship Admission Course (FAC). The FAC can be taken any time after all other requirements have been completed.

As actuaries assume responsible positions within organizations, they need special skills and knowledge to carry out their new roles effectively.

The FAC is designed to help actuaries deal effectively with the issues and situations they may confront as they progress in their organizations. It has two purposes:

  1. to increase awareness of professional ethical issues and identify strategies to address them, and
  2. to encourage actuaries to approach problem solving from varied directions/perspectives.


In order to accomplish these objectives, the FAC has been designed to provide the actuary with opportunities to explore these issues over a 2–day period primarily through the case study method and to enhance the skills needed to be effective in these situations.

Registration information will be sent to candidates after they have completed all other educational requirements. For candidates completing the requirements with the Professional Development (PD) component, the final executed PD plan has been approved by the SOA PD committee. It is recommended that your PD Plan be submitted at least 5–6 weeks before the FAC registration deadline. Candidates who earn eligibility upon successful completion of any SOA examination or module are eligible to register upon receipt of a passing score.

Registrations will be accepted up to 45 days prior to the start of a given FAC session, space permitting. Candidates v are strongly encouraged to register for the FAC session immediately upon receiving the registration invitation.

For upcoming dates, please see our Exams and Jobs section. Questions on the FAC may be directed to or 847.706.3561.

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