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Become A Retirement Plan Specialist

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Working As A Retirement Plan Specialist

  • Getting Information
  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Mostly Sitting

  • $60,361

    Average Salary

What Does A Retirement Plan 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.

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How To Become A Retirement Plan 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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Retirement Plan Specialist Demographics

Gender

Male

51.1%

Female

47.9%

Unknown

1.0%
Ethnicity

White

64.7%

Hispanic or Latino

14.2%

Black or African American

10.1%

Asian

7.7%

Unknown

3.3%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

55.0%

Chinese

10.0%

French

10.0%

Indonesian

5.0%

Vietnamese

5.0%

German

5.0%

Mandarin

5.0%

Arabic

5.0%
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Retirement Plan Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

17.0%

Towson University

8.0%

Southern New Hampshire University

6.8%

Arizona State University

5.7%

University of Connecticut

4.5%

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

4.5%

West Virginia University

4.5%

Northeastern University

4.5%

Saint Petersburg College

4.5%

Suffolk University

4.5%

Colorado State University

4.5%

Marshall University

3.4%

University of Massachusetts - Boston

3.4%

Georgia State University

3.4%

University of South Florida

3.4%

Southern Methodist University

3.4%

Temple University

3.4%

Texas Tech University

3.4%

Loyola University of Chicago

3.4%

San Antonio College

3.4%
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Majors

Business

33.3%

Finance

14.6%

Accounting

6.4%

Marketing

5.6%

Management

5.3%

Human Resources Management

5.0%

Psychology

4.8%

Economics

4.2%

English

2.8%

Political Science

2.5%

Education

2.0%

Liberal Arts

1.7%

Mathematics

1.7%

General Studies

1.7%

Law

1.7%

Legal Support Services

1.7%

Sociology

1.4%

International Business

1.4%

Agricultural Business

1.1%

History

1.1%
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Degrees

Bachelors

52.8%

Masters

18.4%

Other

15.5%

Associate

7.5%

Certificate

3.3%

Doctorate

2.0%

License

0.2%

Diploma

0.2%
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Top Skills for A Retirement Plan Specialist

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  1. Financial Advisors
  2. Compliance
  3. Retirement Plan Participants
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Deliver Regional Sales Presentations to Financial Advisors regarding business development, client positioning & sales opportunities.
  • Analyzed data for annual compliance process and accurate administration.
  • Handled incoming phone calls and inquiries from retirement plan participants, accounting and administrative managers.
  • Educated and assisted thousands of participants on retirement plan/contract provisions and IRS regulations.
  • Trained new employees on all aspects of processing and customer service of retirement plans.

How Would You Rate Working As a Retirement Plan Specialist?

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