Certified benefits specialists administer benefits programs for a variety of companies and organizations. They need to complete eight courses, either in a class or online, in order to qualify for certification. These professionals can expect to see average job growth through 2024.
A certified employee benefits specialist, or a CEBS, is someone who plans and negotiates the benefits packages for a company. The CEBS is the leading certification in the field and is generally an optional credential for benefits specialists and managers, though it can lead to enhanced job prospects.
|Required Education||Students must take eight courses online or in class|
|Exam Requirements||Students must pass an exam after completing required courses|
|Specialization Options||The Group Benefit Associate (GBA), Retirement Plans Associate (RPA) and the Compensation Management Specialist (CMS) are optional add-ons to CEBS credential|
|Median Salary (2016)*||$46,722 for all benefits specialists; $71,670 for all benefits managers|
|Job Outlook (2014-2024)**||5% for all human resources specialists; 6% for all compensation and benefits managers|
Source: *PayScale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Salary Information for a Certified Benefits Specialist
According to PayScale.com, most benefits managers with a Certified Employee Benefit Specialist (CEBS) certification earned between $47,708 and $99,611 per year in 2016. Most benefits specialists with the CEBS credential earned between $34,736 and $62,536. Salary typically varies by work experience and job title.
Duties of a Certified Benefits Specialist
Certified Employee Benefit Specialists (CEBS) are hired by companies to administer benefits programs. They must have a thorough understanding of benefits and retirement plans, because they are responsible for designing and negotiating the health benefits and retirement packages. Also, these managers must also be highly familiar with health insurance and life or long-term disability insurance, because these are increasingly being offered by employees.
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Requirements for a Certified Benefits Specialist
According to the International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plans (IFEBP), a CEBS designation is the most desired professional credential in the employee benefits and compensation field. This certification proves excellence and assures a standard of competency in the field. To earn a CEBS, a candidate must take eight courses on topics such as group health, human resources, and retirement plans. After each course, taken either online, in person, or through self-study, they then must pass an exam. After repeating this process for each course, and passing every exam, they qualify for the CEBS designation.
In addition to the CEBS, there are three available specialty designations that can be attained. The Group Benefit Associate (GBA), Retirement Plans Associate (RPA) and the Compensation Management Specialist (CMS) cover the three primary areas within employee benefits. These designations require an additional three classes, which can be added onto the original eight needed for CEBS certification.
Candidates may also take up to three specialty track courses to gain more education in one specific area of benefits compensation. Both CEBS and CMS designations are offered through the IFEBP and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Some colleges and universities also offer a CEBS program, which prepares candidates for the exam.
In order to become a certified benefits specialist, candidates are required to take eight courses and pass all necessary examinations. They can also pursue a specialty designation by taking three additional classes if they so choose. Salaries in this field vary, depending on the responsibilities and job titles.