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The SOA Announces First Component of Modernized Education System

Schaumburg, IL (May 13, 2021) The Society of Actuaries (SOA) shared with members and candidates details about the first program in its new ground-breaking, modernized, and modularized education system empowering candidates with alternatives in the actuarial pathway.

The University-Earned Credit (UEC) program is the first component of this transformative approach to roll out over the next few months. The UEC program allows very strong students to earn credit for certain SOA exams by meeting course and exam requirements at participating universities who qualify as Centers of Actuarial Excellence (CAE). The courses and exams must meet standards established and monitored by the SOA.

Members, candidates and employers can be confident the UEC program will meet all the quality checks and rigorous requirements they expect of SOA exams. The value and relevance of our members’ and candidates’ education and career achievements are the core of the SOA’s mission and vision. We recognize the value our stakeholders hold in SOA’s credentials – that is and will always be the SOA’s main strategic focus and top of our minds.

Case for Change

Every day, actuaries analyze more data than ever before and manage the increasing complexity and interconnectedness of risk. Major changes are affecting our profession, from modern technologies and shifting demographics to the globalization of business and the need to foster a more diverse, equitable and inclusive profession.

We studied the accelerating trends changing our environment and impacting our work and studies as actuaries and identified six critical issues through this strategic effort:

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These issues are driving us to innovate and design, develop, and deploy new modularized education pathways that offer new options and opportunities for students, candidates, and employers. Making these changes is critical to the ongoing relevance of actuarial education and credentials and to the future success of our candidates and members.

Also critical to the future success of actuaries is having the ability to adapt and learn during a period of ongoing, rapid change, as well as having the social and emotional skills needed to make good judgments, convincing arguments, and to understand the intricacies of communication. These skills, often referred to as an individual’s Adaptability Quotient (AQ) and Emotional Quotient or Emotional Intelligence (EQ) have been repeatedly identified by employers and our members as highly valuable skills essential for actuaries to lead in a world driven by data science and AI.

We are shifting more of our education and testing toward these skills and through the UEC program will be asking participating universities to do the same. University and college-level coursework is well-equipped to grow AQ and EQ skills with team projects, case studies, and data analysis.

New Modernized Education System and UEC

This summer, we will announce the details of a modernized and modularized education approach, the first phases of which are targeted to launch this fall with the remainder staged over the course of the next year. This new platform will empower candidates by allowing them to tailor their education goals and providing them with recognition of achievements of knowledge and skills throughout the SOA’s education pathway and before a candidate reaches the level of ASA or FSA.

The first component of this suite of success strategies is the UEC program, which uses a comprehensive accreditation process to recognize qualified CAE universities’ actuarial-related courses. The UEC program will enable students who are enrolled in bachelor or graduate degree programs at approved CAE universities and participate in that school’s actuarial science program to earn credit for specific SOA exams after receiving a required score in courses that cover that exam’s syllabus.

The SOA will, of course, continue to maintain and offer our current exams as that will be the main pathway for most candidates.

The UEC evaluation process is thorough and intensive with oversight from the CAE Evaluation Committee and the new UEC Oversight Committee. We recognize the essential need to ensure quality and testing integrity throughout our examination and crediting programs and will apply the same rigorous standards to this process that we apply to all of our current examinations.

The UEC program is designed to maintain and at times raise the high standards for qualifying coursework. Participating CAE universities will need to adjust their courses and exams to meet the new requirements established by the UEC program, in addition to continuing to meet all CAE criteria.

Some of the preliminary exams will be covered, such as FM and SRM, but exam P will remain an SOA-administered exam. More information will be included in the second announcement in June with more detail of our new modernized and modularized curriculum.

As part of the SOA’s ongoing efforts to address the need for greater diversity within the actuarial profession, plans are underway to extend the UEC program to select universities serving underrepresented groups. Details will be forthcoming regarding this important initiative.

Finally, despite these changes, the SOA’s examination pathway will remain a strong and principal means of attaining an SOA credential. We will continue to offer all the examinations required for our pathway in all parts of the world where we have candidates interested in pursuing our credentials.

Please send your questions and/or feedback to membercomms@soa.org