As part of a company’s human resources (HR) team, a benefits specialist manages compensation and benefits programs, and ensures compliance with federal and state laws. Incorporating a human resources administration minor into a bachelor’s degree program can provide the foundation for a career as a benefits specialist.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) anticipates rising employment in the coming years for the category of workers known as compensation, benefits and job analysis specialists. As companies face increased competition for qualified employees, and as employment laws and healthcare coverage options change, there should be continuing demand for benefits specialists.
Benefits specialists administer and manage a company’s employee benefits and retirement programs – an important part of overall compensation for employees. Job duties can include:
The average annual salary for compensation, benefits and job analysis specialists was $63,310 as of May 2013, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Yearly salaries for the highest 10% of earners exceeded $94,080.
Like employment opportunities, potential salary ranges are determined by a variety of factors, such as a candidate’s work experience and level of educational attainment, as well as regional market conditions.
The journey to a career as a benefits specialist can begin with enrolling in a bachelor’s degree program in business administration, applied psychology with a concentration in organizational psychology or a related field with a minor in human resources administration. HR coursework typically includes compensation and benefits, organizational behavior and development, management of human resources, and administrative and personnel law.
Graduates of a human resources administration program should be able to:
Benefits specialists who secure an entry-level position with a bachelor’s degree may be eligible for employer-provided tuition assistance in order to further their education.
Typical attributes for effective benefits specialists include excellent written and verbal communication skills, attention to detail, strong interpersonal skills, and the ability to think rationally and analytically. Together with general business knowledge, a strong foundation in human resources can help prepare individuals to thrive in a benefits specialist career.