Benefits Specialists

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Benefit Specialists

Benefits Specialists


Education

What’s Needed:

Most benefits specialists hold a B.A. degree in human resources business administration or finance. Individuals who are interested in advancing into managerial positions in this field generally study for an M.A. or MBA degree. The majority of benefits specialists also go to regular training seminars to stay abreast of changes in benefits law.

What you study:

You’ll study all of the following in a benefits-focused human resources or business administration program:

  • Personnel Management
  • Data Analysis
  • Employment Law
  • Compensation and Benefits Systems
  • Budgeting and Financial Management
  • Professional Ethics


A Day in the Life

You ensure that employees understand benefits programs.

As an employee benefits specialist you are a key contact person in your company or organization regarding all employee benefits programs. You arrive at work each day right as your office opens. You start your day off by checking your phone and email messages. An employee from one of your company’s retail stores left a message with questions about enrolling in the 401k retirement plan. You call him and explain to him that he’ll be able to enroll in the plan in about three weeks. It’s your job to ensure that all employees understand benefits plans so you prepare a 401k enrollment packet and send it to the store where he works.

You serve as a contact point between benefits providers and your employees.

After you’ve finished with your phone messages you check in with the benefits manager at your company. You remind her that you’re holding an informal lunch get-together to explain details of a new insurance supplementation plan to your employees. It’s important that all employees are aware of this program so you take a quick tour of your office to remind everyone that they are welcome to come to the luncheon.

You return to your office and review new benefits enrollment packets that have been sent in from your company’s various retail locations. You enter all new employee enrollment information in your company’s human resources information system (HRIS) and prepare letters to let new employees know about their benefits effective dates. After completing the enrollments you head to the conference room and prepare for your benefits luncheon.

You’re responsible for evaluating benefits spending and working on a benefits budget.

During lunch you explain a new insurance supplement program to employees. You field questions about the program and explain the tax consequences of participating in this supplement program. After you’ve finished your presentation you assist employees who want to enroll in the program. You enter enrollment information into the HRIS system once you’ve returned to your office.

You spend your afternoon handling paperwork and routine employee questions about benefits programs. Before you head home for the day you check in with your boss and let her know that you have time to work on a new benefits budget tomorrow. You check your email one last time before enjoying a relaxing evening away from the office.


Certifications and Licensing

You don’t need a special certification in order to work as a benefits specialist. However many professionals in this field pursue certification through the International Society of Certified Employee Benefits Specialists (ISCEBS).


Job Flexibility

Full-time versus part-time:

Most employee benefits specialists work a full-time schedule. However you may be able to work a part-time schedule if you have some prior experience in this field. You’ll work a regular weekday schedule. You may travel a few times a year to any satellite locations that your company runs.

Work location:

You’ll work in a standard office setting with other members of a human resources team. Depending on the needs of your company you may be permitted to telecommute to work a few days a week. However you will maintain an office because you are responsible for storing sensitive employee records.


Recommended Websites

  • The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook for Human Resources Specialists: The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a wide range of information about careers in the field of human resources. While the information on this site is not specific to benefits specialists individuals who are interested in careers in this field will find useful information about career outlooks in HR. It’s important to consult other sites that offer a more focused perspective on careers in benefits.
  • The International Society of Certified Employee Benefits Specialists: ISCEBS is the premier organization for benefits specialists. In addition to offering information about certification in this field the ISCEBS website also hosts a job board and has a comprehensive resource library for members.
  • The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans: The IFEPB website provides general information about benefits and compensation practices. While the site is designed for professionals with experience in benefits management prospective benefits specialists will find great information by browsing the Resources and Education sections of the site.


Salaries by City

See typical salaries and ranges for this career below*. Shift click to sort by more than one column — for example first shift-click on state and then shift-click on salary to find best and worst salaries in each state.

State City / Region Typical Salary Salary Range Job Count % of All Jobs
AK Anchorage $68670 $43K – $93K 90 0.05%
AL Birmingham – Hoover $59150 $40K – $95K 160 0.03%
AL Huntsville $58950 $40K – $85K 70 0.04%
AL Mobile $58620 $41K – $95K 50 0.03%
AL Montgomery $48170 $33K – $74K 70 0.04%
AR Fayetteville – Springdale – Rogers $43370 $31K – $83K 110 0.06%
AR Fort Smith $44420 $27K – $82K 150 0.13%
AR Little Rock – North Little Rock – Conway $40860 $30K – $70K 390 0.12%
AZ Phoenix – Mesa – Glendale $50590 $34K – $90K 1200 0.07%
AZ Tucson $48230 $34K – $83K 180 0.05%
CA Bakersfield – Delano $58050 $37K – $74K 70 0.02%
CA El Centro $57290 $42K – $75K 30 0.06%
CA Fresno $63590 $38K – $77K 340 0.11%
CA Los Angeles – Long Beach – Glendale (Metro Area) $62700 $41K – $91K 3180 0.08%
CA Modesto $54110 $38K – $77K 150 0.10%
CA Oakland – Fremont – Hayward (Metro Area) $65290 $47K – $96K 1050 0.11%
CA Oxnard – Thousand Oaks – Ventura $61990 $39K – $88K 280 0.10%
CA Redding $59750 $37K – $75K 30 0.06%
CA Riverside – San Bernardino – Ontario $61180 $41K – $93K 560 0.05%
CA Sacramento – Arden – Arcade – Roseville $59080 $43K – $68K 2180 0.27%
CA Salinas $67910 $48K – $96K 60 0.04%
CA San Diego – Carlsbad – San Marcos $61440 $39K – $91K 960 0.08%
CA San Francisco – San Mateo – Redwood City (Metro Area) $70650 $53K – $117K 1340 0.13%
CA San Jose – Sunnyvale – Santa Clara $85390 $52K – $135K 870 0.10%
CA San Luis Obispo – Paso Robles $59000 $41K – $99K 50 0.05%
CA Santa Ana – Anaheim – Irvine (Metro Area) $64280 $36K – $108K 1330 0.09%
CA Santa Barbara – Santa Maria – Goleta $56920 $40K – $87K N/A N/A
CA Santa Cruz – Watsonville $53660 $41K – $87K 50 0.06%
CA Santa Rosa – Petaluma $68400 $50K – $109K 100 0.06%
CA Stockton $63160 $43K – $88K 100 0.05%
CA Vallejo – Fairfield $62700 $48K – $71K 120 0.10%
CA Visalia – Porterville $49990 $38K – $71K 40 0.03%
CO Boulder $66080 $46K – $94K 60 0.04%
CO Colorado Springs $46300 $31K – $74K 140 0.06%
CO Denver – Aurora – Broomfield $65560 $44K – $100K 870 0.07%
CO Fort Collins – Loveland $57040 $37K – $88K 40 0.03%
CT Bridgeport – Stamford – Norwalk $60580 $43K – $97K 430 0.10%
CT Danbury $59610 $41K – $94K 60 0.10%
CT Hartford – West Hartford – East Hartford $59940 $34K – $94K 570 0.10%
CT New Haven $60720 $39K – $90K 150 0.05%
CT Norwich – New London $51960 $33K – $92K 110 0.08%
DC Washington – Arlington – Alexandria (Metro Area) $69250 $46K – $110K 2180 0.09%
DE Wilmington (Metro Area) $57810 $34K – $110K 210 0.07%
FL Cape Coral – Fort Myers $55560 $39K – $79K 60 0.03%
FL Deltona – Daytona Beach – Ormond Beach $47510 $35K – $77K 60 0.04%
FL Fort Lauderdale – Pompano Beach – Deerfield Beach (Metro Area) $61010 $44K – $91K 340 0.05%
FL Jacksonville $59500 $40K – $87K 300 0.05%
FL Lakeland – Winter Haven $54810 $34K – $83K 100 0.05%
FL Miami – Miami Beach – Kendall (Metro Area) $63660 $40K – $94K 390 0.04%
FL North Port – Bradenton – Sarasota $49470 $36K – $70K 70 0.03%
FL Ocala $38610 $31K – $76K 30 0.04%
FL Orlando – Kissimmee – Sanford $53380 $34K – $77K 430 0.04%
FL Palm Bay – Melbourne – Titusville $53250 $40K – $92K 80 0.04%
FL Pensacola – Ferry Pass – Brent $54120 $36K – $72K 50 0.03%
FL Tallahassee $35830 $28K – $58K 170 0.11%
FL Tampa – St. Petersburg – Clearwater $56280 $39K – $90K 550 0.05%
FL West Palm Beach – Boca Raton – Boynton Beach (Metro Area) $55950 $40K – $74K 160 0.03%
GA Atlanta – Sandy Springs – Marietta $60850 $39K – $97K 1670 0.07%
GA Augusta – Richmond County $46400 $34K – $87K 30 0.02%
GA Columbus $44790 $32K – $75K 60 0.05%
GA Macon $48650 $33K – $81K 110 0.12%
GA Savannah $55330 $41K – $82K 80 0.05%
HI Honolulu $51790 $38K – $80K 150 0.03%
IA Cedar Rapids $48170 $40K – $70K 50 0.04%
IA Davenport – Moline – Rock Island $48740 $35K – $75K 80 0.04%
IA Des Moines – West Des Moines $57300 $42K – $81K 290 0.09%
IA Sioux City $53170 $35K – $68K 60 0.08%
IA Waterloo – Cedar Falls $48560 $31K – $71K 30 0.04%
ID Boise City – Nampa $47230 $34K – $74K 80 0.03%
IL Bloomington – Normal $64260 $42K – $128K N/A N/A
IL Chicago – Joliet – Naperville (Metro Area) $58630 $41K – $88K 1570 0.04%
IL Lake County – Kenosha County (Metro Area) $58280 $41K – $108K 220 0.06%
IL Peoria $48500 $33K – $85K 70 0.04%
IL Rockford $42860 $28K – $72K 50 0.04%
IN Evansville $50510 $34K – $75K 60 0.04%
IN Fort Wayne $51030 $37K – $72K 120 0.06%
IN Gary (Metro Area) $59680 $36K – $114K 110 0.04%
IN Indianapolis – Carmel $53490 $40K – $84K 560 0.06%
IN Lafayette $47070 $34K – $72K 30 0.04%
IN South Bend – Mishawaka $46390 $34K – $71K 40 0.03%
IN Terre Haute $47680 $33K – $73K 30 0.05%
KS Topeka $40480 $32K – $69K 30 0.03%
KS Wichita $54220 $39K – $78K 100 0.04%
KY Bowling Green $51450 $35K – $70K 50 0.08%
KY Lexington – Fayette $35580 $26K – $57K 130 0.05%
KY Louisville – Jefferson County $46390 $33K – $73K 250 0.04%
LA Alexandria $57190 $42K – $74K 30 0.05%
LA Baton Rouge $45910 $31K – $64K 360 0.10%
LA New Orleans – Metairie – Kenner $46410 $35K – $69K 190 0.04%
LA Shreveport – Bossier City $59100 $34K – $103K 50 0.03%
MA Barnstable Town $67210 $47K – $107K 30 0.04%
MA Boston – Cambridge – Quincy (Metro Area) $73250 $50K – $107K 2510 0.15%
MA Brockton – Bridgewater – Easton (Metro Area) $63340 $43K – $121K 30 0.04%
MA Framingham (Metro Area) $65630 $49K – $93K 200 0.13%
MA Haverhill – North Andover – Amesbury (Metro Area) $55960 $42K – $84K 40 0.06%
MA Lawrence – Methuen – Salem (Metro Area) $56910 $38K – $78K 30 0.05%
MA Lowell – Billerica – Chelmsford (Metro Area) $68340 $45K – $92K 140 0.12%
MA New Bedford $51050 $38K – $90K 40 0.06%
MA Peabody (Metro Area) $66990 $44K – $87K 40 0.04%
MA Pittsfield $54530 $36K – $77K 30 0.10%
MA Springfield $56410 $39K – $86K 200 0.07%
MA Taunton – Norton – Raynham (Metro Area) $66950 $44K – $89K 40 0.09%
MA Worcester $59260 $35K – $91K 240 0.10%
MD Baltimore – Towson $56090 $25K – $93K 760 0.06%
MD Bethesda – Rockville – Frederick (Metro Area) $72540 $50K – $97K 420 0.08%
ME Bangor $47740 $33K – $67K 40 0.06%
ME Portland – South Portland – Biddeford $53250 $39K – $83K$36K – $86K 80 0.04%
MI Detroit – Livonia – Dearborn (Metro Area) $57780 $41K – $95K

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