How to Become an Employee Benefits Manager

Employee benefits are an essential part of human resources departments. Employee benefits managers are trained professionals that manage the employee benefits programs of a variety of companies and organizations.

What does an employee benefits manager do?

Employee benefits managers develop and administer many different employee benefits programs such as medical, dental, disability, and life insurance, 401 (k) retirement plans, pension plans, stock options, and education benefits. They research and assess the current benefits options that are offered to employees and compare them to other employers. They also modify the current plans or develop new plans to ensure the benefits programs are competitive. Some provide financial counseling to employees who are considering retirement. Others provide education about benefits packages to employees.

What kind of training does an employee benefits manager need?

Employee benefits managers typically need at least a bachelor degree in business administration, human resources, or other related field. Prospective employee benefits managers typically take courses in human resources, employee benefits, labor and employment law, finance, business administration, business law, and statistics. Many complete internships or gain part time jobs in human resources to gain practical experience. Many employee benefits managers gain professional certification to remain competitive in the field. The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans offers the Certified Employee Benefit Specialist (CEBS) designation. Candidates usually must have minimum work experience and pass a written examination to become certified. Employee benefits managers must stay up to date on advancements in the field and often complete continuing education and participate in conferences and seminars throughout their careers.

What are the prospects for a career as an employee benefits manager?

Employment of employee benefits managers is expected to grow about as fast as average for all professions, increasing 12% from 2006 to 2016 (1). The administration of competitive employee benefits programs will drive job growth.

Job prospects should be good especially for employee benefits managers with certifications and extensive experience. Many job openings will arise from the need to replace employee benefits managers that retire, transfer, or leave the profession for other reasons.

How much do employee benefits managers make?

As of November 2009, the middle 50% of employee benefits managers earn annual salaries between $65,222 and $104,415. The top 10% earn annual salaries of more than $126,084 (2).

A career as an employee benefits manager is a great choice for people with a strong interest in the development and administration of a variety of employee benefits plans. Employee benefits managers must have a thorough knowledge of many different benefits and the state and federal regulations governing employee benefits. They must have strong analytical skills, leadership abilities, and good problem solving skills. Employee benefits managers must have excellent oral and written communication skills and be able to effectively explain benefit programs to many different people. They must have good interpersonal skills to be able to effectively interact with a variety of employees and other professionals.

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