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Benefit Specialist Careers

On top of being paid, full-time employees usually expect some benefits. That's where benefit specialists come into play. These specialists are in charge of reviewing, updating and knowing everything there is to know about the organization's benefit program.

Since benefits are offered in many industries, this job comes with a lot of opportunity. In fact, you shouldn't have too much trouble finding a job. The only requirement is to have earned a bachelor's degree and a bit of experience. That's not too much to ask for, especially when you have so many opportunities across nearly every industry.

What Does a Benefit Specialist Do

Compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists conduct an organization’s compensation and benefits programs. They also evaluate position descriptions to determine details such as a person’s classification and salary.

Duties

Compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists typically do the following:

  • Research compensation and benefits policies and plans to ensure the organization’s offerings are current, cost effective, and competitive
  • Use data and cost analyses to compare compensation and benefits plans
  • Evaluate position descriptions to determine a person’s classification and salary
  • Ensure that the company complies with federal and state laws
  • Collaborate with outside partners, such as benefits vendors, insurance brokers, and investment managers 
  • Design and prepare reports summarizing research and analysis
  • Present recommendations to other human resources managers

Some specialists perform tasks within all areas of compensation, benefits, and job analysis. Others specialize in a specific area.

Compensation specialists assess the organization’s pay structure. They research compensation trends and review surveys to determine how their organization’s pay compares with that of other organizations in a particular industry and region. They often perform complex data or cost analyses to evaluate compensation policies. For example, they may research and analyze the cost of different pay-for-performance strategies, which offer rewards such as bonuses, paid leave, and other incentives.

Compensation specialists also must ensure that the organization’s pay practices comply with federal and state laws and regulations, such as workers’ compensation, minimum wage, overtime, and equal pay laws.

Benefits specialists administer the organization’s benefits programs, which include retirement plans, leave policies, wellness programs, and insurance policies, such as health, life, and disability insurance. They research and analyze benefits plans, policies, and programs, and make recommendations based on their analysis. They must frequently monitor government regulations, legislation, and benefits trends to ensure that their programs are current, legal, and competitive.

Benefits specialists also work closely with insurance brokers and benefits carriers and manage the enrollment, renewal, and delivery of benefits to the organization’s employees.

Job analysis specialists, also known as position classifiers, evaluate positions by writing or assigning job descriptions, determining position classifications, and preparing salary scales. When an organization introduces a new job or reviews existing jobs, specialists must research and make recommendations to managers on the status, description, classification, and salary of those jobs.

How To Become a Benefit Specialist

Compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists typically need a bachelor’s degree, and some specialists need related work experience.

Education

Most employers require that compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists have a bachelor’s degree. Many specialists have a degree in human resources, business administration, finance, communication, or a related field. Some employers may accept previous work experience in lieu of a formal degree.

Not all colleges and universities offer an undergraduate degree in human resources, but many offer courses in human resources management, compensation analysis, and benefits administration. Students with a background in other disciplines may benefit from taking courses in business, management, finance, and accounting.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

For many jobs, compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists must have previous work experience. Employers commonly require that the previous experience includes performing compensation analysis, benefits administration, or general human resources work. Experience in related fields such as finance, insurance, or business administration, also may be beneficial.

Jobseekers without a degree in human resources must have relevant work experience. Some workers may gain this experience through internships. However, most gain experience from working in human resources.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Although certification is not required, it can demonstrate professional expertise. Some employers prefer to hire certified candidates, but many employers will have their employees become certified after they are already working. Certification programs for management positions often require several years of related work experience in order to qualify for the credential.

Many associations for human resources workers offer classes to enhance the skills of their members. Some associations, including the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans and WorldatWork, offer certification programs that specialize in compensation and benefits. Others, including the HR Certification Institute and the Society for Human Resource Management, offer general human resources credentials.

Advancement

Compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists may advance to a compensation and benefits manager or a human resources manager position. Specialists typically need several years of work experience to advance.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Many specialists perform data or cost analyses to form logical conclusions. For example, they may analyze the cost of choosing a particular salary scale for a class of workers.

Business acumen. Specialists must understand basic finance and accounting.

Communication skills. Specialists often work with employees throughout their organization to provide information on compensation and benefits. They may give presentations or advise managers or employees about compensation policies or benefit plans.

Critical-thinking skills. Specialists must think critically when evaluating job positions, salary scales, promotion practices, and other compensation and benefits policies.

Detail oriented. Specialists must pay attention to detail, especially when ensuring that the organization is compliant with federal and state laws.

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Average Salary
$45,776
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
6%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
18,315
Job Openings

Benefit Specialist Career Paths

Top Careers Before Benefit Specialist

Top Careers After Benefit Specialist

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Average Salary for a Benefit Specialist

Benefit Specialists in America make an average salary of $45,776 per year or $22 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $64,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $32,000 per year.
Average Salary
$45,776

Best Paying Cities

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
Farmington, CT
Salary Range47k - 77k$61k$60,795
San Francisco, CA
Salary Range45k - 75k$59k$58,992
Baltimore, MD
Salary Range45k - 73k$58k$57,727
Boston, MA
Salary Range44k - 71k$57k$56,532
Albany, NY
Salary Range43k - 71k$56k$55,844
Jersey City, NJ
Salary Range42k - 69k$54k$54,058
$29k
$77k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Benefits Administrator
Benefits Administrator
Robert Half
Robert Half
01/29/2021
01/29/2021
$59,48001/29/2021
$59,480
Benefits Administrator
Benefits Administrator
Robert Half
Robert Half
01/29/2021
01/29/2021
$52,00001/29/2021
$52,000
Benefits Specialist-Outpatient Clinic
Benefits Specialist-Outpatient Clinic
Careerstaff Unlimited
Careerstaff Unlimited
01/28/2021
01/28/2021
$37,56601/28/2021
$37,566
Benefits Specialist
Benefits Specialist
Randstad
Randstad
01/28/2021
01/28/2021
$52,17501/28/2021
$52,175
Benefit Specialist Program Coordinator
Benefit Specialist Program Coordinator
Wisconsin Government
Wisconsin Government
01/26/2021
01/26/2021
$70,72001/26/2021
$70,720
See More Recent Salaries

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Benefit Specialist Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Benefit Specialist. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Benefit Specialist Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Benefit Specialist resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

Benefit Specialist Demographics

Gender

female

74.2 %

male

21.2 %

unknown

4.6 %

Ethnicity

White

64.7 %

Hispanic or Latino

16.2 %

Black or African American

10.0 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

72.8 %

French

5.9 %

Carrier

3.3 %
See More Demographics

Benefit Specialist Education

Degrees

Bachelors

43.7 %

Associate

16.1 %

High School Diploma

14.1 %

Top Colleges for Benefit Specialists

1. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

2. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,948
Enrollment
17,238

3. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Minneapolis, MN • Public

In-State Tuition
$14,760
Enrollment
31,451

4. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

5. SUNY College at Oswego

Oswego, NY • Public

In-State Tuition
$8,440
Enrollment
7,039

6. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

7. Baylor University

Waco, TX • Private

In-State Tuition
$45,542
Enrollment
14,159

8. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$50,420
Enrollment
7,582

9. Villanova University

Villanova, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,308
Enrollment
6,819

10. San Diego State University

San Diego, CA • Public

In-State Tuition
$7,488
Enrollment
30,018
See More Education Info
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Benefit Specialist

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 11.8% of benefit specialists listed customer service on their resume, but soft skills such as analytical skills and business skills are important as well.

Best States For a Benefit Specialist

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a benefit specialist. The best states for people in this position are Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Maryland. Benefit specialists make the most in Connecticut with an average salary of $60,528. Whereas in Rhode Island and New Hampshire, they would average $60,149 and $59,234, respectively. While benefit specialists would only make an average of $57,065 in Maryland, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Vermont

Total Benefit Specialist Jobs:
58
Highest 10% Earn:
$87,000
Location Quotient:
1.18
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Rhode Island

Total Benefit Specialist Jobs:
80
Highest 10% Earn:
$93,000
Location Quotient:
1.03
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. New Hampshire

Total Benefit Specialist Jobs:
108
Highest 10% Earn:
$92,000
Location Quotient:
0.97
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Benefit Specialist Employers

We've made finding a great employer to work for easy by doing the hard work for you. We looked into employers that employ benefit specialists and discovered their number of benefit specialist opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that Xerox was the best, especially with an average salary of $74,184. American Income Life Insurance .. follows up with an average salary of $45,287, and then comes Express Scripts with an average of $69,826. In addition, we know most people would rather work from home. So instead of having to change careers, we identified the best employers for remote work as a benefit specialist. The employers include Charles Schwab, MEDNAX, and Kroger

1. Xerox
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$74,184
Benefit Specialists Hired: 
699+
2. American Income Life Insurance ...
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$45,287
Benefit Specialists Hired: 
378+
3. Express Scripts
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$69,826
Benefit Specialists Hired: 
275+
4. Aflac
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$49,490
Benefit Specialists Hired: 
247+
5. Pacific Dental Services
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$45,943
Benefit Specialists Hired: 
216+
6. Benefitfocus
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$80,078
Benefit Specialists Hired: 
211+

Benefit Specialist Videos

Updated October 2, 2020