Copyright

How to Become a 401K Administrator: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Research the requirements to become a 401K administrator. Learn about the job description and explore the step-by-step process to start a career in 401K administration. View article »

View 10 Popular Schools »

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

94% college-bound high school students
…said it was important to communicate with colleges during the search process. (Source: Noel-Levitz 2012 trend study)

Select a school or program

View More Schools
Show Me Schools
 Replay
  • 0:01 401K Administrator Overview
  • 1:16 Obtain a Bachelor's Degree
  • 1:44 Gain Work Experience
  • 2:37 Earn a Master's Degree

Find the perfect school

Video Transcript

401K Administrator Overview

Degree Level Bachelor's degree
Degree Fields Human resource management, business administration, finance, or a related major
Certification Some positions require certification from a professional human resources organization
Experience Several years of experience in finance or human resources
Key Skills Excellent written and oral communication, strong analytical, and decision-making abilities; familiarity with accounting, analysis, human resources, and project management software
Salary $121,630 (2015 median for all compensation and benefits managers)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, O*Net Online

Benefits administrators manage employee benefits within a company. Some administrators specialize in retirement savings programs, such as 401K plans. They may keep records of employer and employee contributions, serve as vendor liaisons, and deduct pre- and post-tax wages.

401K administrators, like other kinds of compensation and benefits managers, usually work at least full-time and often are asked to work more than 40 hours per week. They work in office settings and may sit and utilize computers and phones for long periods of time. People in this position typically have a bachelor's degree and several years of industry experience.

401K administrators need excellent written and oral communication skills along with strong analytical and decision-making abilities. They must be familiar with accounting, analysis, human resources, and project management software. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, compensation and benefits managers (which includes 401K administrators) earned a mean annual salary of $121,630 as of May 2015.

Step 1: Obtain a Bachelor's Degree

Prospective 401K administrators may pursue bachelor's degrees in human resource management, business administration, business management, finance, or another related field. Bachelor's degree programs in human resource management typically include courses in economics, statistics, accounting, and finance. They may also cover topics such as business law and ethics, information systems, and professional communication.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Human Resources Development
  • Labor and Industrial Relations
  • Labor Studies
  • Organizational Behavior

Step 2: Gain Work Experience

Candidates can start their careers as assistant administrators of benefits or in other human resource or finance positions. Duties for assistant administrators might include gathering information on retirement plans, comparing benefits, and assisting with report preparation. New hires may also gain experience with compliance standards and eligibility requirements.

After advancing to a 401K administrator position, individuals might opt to earn certification from the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries. Candidates for the Qualified 401(k) Administrator certification. Candidates must complete four exams and have at least two years of work experience. Maintaining certification requires 40 hours of continuing professional education every two years and renewing ASPPA Membership annually.

Step 3: Earn a Master's Degree

After several years of experience as 401K administrators, employees might be able to advance to positions as human resource, compensation, or benefits directors. Many employers prefer to hire professionals with a master's degree for these advanced jobs. A graduate program that concentrates on human resources management, finance, or business administration could prove particularly useful.

In summary, a 401K administrator typically needs a bachelor's degree in human resource management, business administration, or a related field, as well as work experience in an entry-level human resource or finance position. Voluntary certification is available and earning a master's degree could lead to advanced job opportunities.

Next: View Schools

What is your highest level of education?

Some College
Complete your degree or find the graduate program that's right for you.
High School Diploma
Explore schools that offer bachelor and associate degrees.
Still in High School
Earn your diploma or GED. Plan your undergraduate education.

Schools you may like:

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

    • MBA - Human Resources
    • MS in Management - Human Resources
    • MS in Management - Organizational Design and Development
    • MBA
    • BS in Business Administration - Human Resources
    • BS in Business Administration
    • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Investment Career Focus Area
    • AAS in Business Administration - Business
    • AAS in Business Administration
    • AAS in Business Admin-Office Management

    What is your highest level of education completed?

  • What is your highest level of education?

    • BA: Human Resources
    • BA: Business Administration - Management
    • BA: Business Administration - Logistics
    • BA: Business Administration - Marketing
    • AA: Business Administration

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership
    • Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership - Ecclesial Leadership
    • Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership - Entrepreneurial Leadership
    • Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership - Individualized
    • Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership - Human Resource Development
    • Master of Arts in Law - Human Resources Management
    • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership
    • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership - Futures Studies
    • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership - HR Management
    • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership - Interdisciplanry Studies
    • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership - Kingdom Business
    • Bachelor of Science in Business - HR Management
    • Bachelor of Science in Business
    • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies - Business
    • Bachelor of Science in Business - General Management
    • Bachelor of Arts in English - Government
    • Bachelor of Arts in Government

    What is your highest level of education completed?

  • What is your highest level of education completed?

    • Master of Business Administration - Human Resource Management Concentration
    • Master of Business Administration - Human Resource Management Specialization
    • Master of Business Administration with a General Business Specialization

    What is your highest level of education completed?

  • What is your highest level of education?

  • What is your highest level of education?

    • Bachelor of Business Administration with a Concentration in Human Resources Management
    • Bachelor of Business Administration
    • Associate of Science in Business Administration

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • Master of Science in Human Resource Analytics and Management

    What is your highest level of education?

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?