Here's where you earn much of that paycheck. It is a bear to become an actuary. You have got to be a whiz on computers, a math whiz, an economics whiz, a business and project management whiz—you really should be a whiz all over the place. You'll need a degree in something like mathematics, statistics, or actuarial science (this is where you get to put numbers into test tubes and mix them with various noble gases). But here's the fun part. You will need to pass seven or eight exams over the course of a number of years (like, as many as eight years) before you are fully certified. The other good news is that you may begin by taking the first exam or two while you are still in school, and you may be hired and continue to work through the certification process on the side so that you don't have to wait until everything is wrapped up in order to enter the work force. These exams are super toughies though—it is recommended that you put in about 400* hours of study for each.