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How to Become a Benefits Administrator

Career News September 24, 2013

Organizations and large businesses run on a tight schedule, with numerous tasks involved with keeping track of payroll, completion of new employee applications and allotments for retirees. Generally, they will hire a benefits administrator to keep track of the benefits, pay raises and degree of health care each employee is entitled to in order to simplify the process.

Information About the Career Path

The average income for a benefits administrator is $89,000 a year. Although a small to medium sized business may accept a bachelor’s degree, most organizations prefer a master’s degree. The most common degree programs used to prepare for this job position are a Master’s in Business Administration, in Human Services and Finance.

As the benefits administrator is working in a highly sensitive field that involves handling the financial and personal information about the employees, courses in human resources are considered some of the most desirable preparation. Healthcare, retirement earnings, disability benefits, vacation pay and other types of employee leave are the typical field of a human resource professional.

Organizations and large businesses look for a benefits administrator who has several years of work experience in a related field. Experience should reflect the expertise in handling the multiple forms involved with hiring employees, management or customer service employment. Many prefer that you also receive certification.

One avenue of gaining certification is through the World of Work Society of Certified Professionals, which offers the Certified Benefits Professional (CBP) certification. There are seven exams you must pass to acquire this certification. Their topics cover regulations, strategic planning and communications.

Other Career Strategies

Another method of acquiring certification is through the International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plan. In order to receive their certification, you must complete an intensive amount of course work offered in a two day seminar, after which you will receive a certification in the Administrators Masters Program. This certification is not essential, but it can give you an edge if you’re considering in going into the field.

When preparing for a career as a benefits administrator, you should decide whether you want to work for the public or the private sector as there is a significant difference in the requirements.

Although both sectors may answer to a board of directors, if you work in the public sector, you must have a full understanding of the laws and legislative regulations concerning employee benefits within the region of your employment. Those who work for the private sector have more flexibility and may grant greater opportunities for exploring an innovative approach to handling and implementing benefits.

Very few small businesses can afford to hire a benefits administrator, although they might hire someone with a BA in human resources to handle the benefits technicalities of their office. This can give you the experience you need to qualify for a large firm. Check job posting web sites and include benefits providers in your keyword search.

If you believe you would like to sell benefits, such as life and health insurance, you may need additional licensing, which can vary from state to state. Another field of benefits you may wish to consider is a Masters in Aging Services. Keep these in mind when planning your future career.

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