Job Description

Benefits Specialist Job Description

If you’re looking for a benefits job, view open positions and apply today.

What is a benefits specialist?

Benefits specialists are an integral part of a company’s HR department. These individuals are responsible for managing and administering a company’s employee benefit and compensation programs, from retirement plans and health insurance to life insurance and beyond.

Part of a benefits specialist job description is having an in-depth knowledge of both benefits and the federal and state laws that govern them. They need to know how to sort out issues, like coordinating an employee’s leave in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or changing contributions in a 401(k) account. Beyond that, they need to be able to break down these complex topics in easy-to-digest language to employees.

How is this role monitored?

The benefits specialist position is not supervisory, but it’s not entry-level, either. It requires a wealth of specialized knowledge and analytical skills that require experience and training. A good benefits specialist can easily understand and evaluate complicated employment laws, insurance plans, retirement programs, and additional compensation programs like profit-sharing and stock ownership.

In a smaller company, the benefits specialist position is monitored by a generalized HR manager. In a larger company, the role may be monitored by a benefits manager.

Benefits specialist salary

The median benefits specialist salary in the U.S. is $64,560 per year, but there’s a high ceiling. The top 10% of earners in this field take home more than $105,600 per year, while the lowest take home less than $40,140 annually.

The benefits specialist salary range does change based on the industry. Professional, scientific, and technical fields pay most, while those working in healthcare and social assistance take home the least.

What does a benefits specialist do?

All of a benefits specialist’s duties center on company benefits and compensation packages. They’re the go-to person for both new hires and long-standing employees looking to make the most out of what their employer offers. Job duties include:

  • Researching, analyzing, and administering healthcare plans and wellness programs, from medical and dental benefits to disability and family leave
  • Coordinating non-salary employee compensation like retirement plans, pensions, tuition reimbursement, and stock options
  • Advising employees, answering questions, and enrolling staff in benefit and compensation programs
  • Processing various paperwork, especially regarding disability, FMLA absences, and employee life status changes
  • Appealing decisions made by insurance companies, resolving disputes, and solving problems with benefits and compensation programs

Benefits Specialist skills

  • Research and analytical skills
  • Organizational and time management skills
  • Verbal and written communication skills
  • Knowledge of employee benefits and laws
  • Computer skillss

Required qualifications

  • Associate or bachelor’s degree
  • 2-5 years of related experience
  • SHRM Certification (recommended)

Top benefits specialist interview questions

Since benefits specialist jobs are highly technical, you’ll need to prove that you have the proper knowledge and experience during the interview process. You’ll probably be asked these common questions:

  1. Can you describe your past experience as a benefits specialist?
  2. What’s your procedure for enrolling new employees in benefits?
  3. What’s the difference between a 401(k) and 403(b) plan?
  4. Are you familiar with the federal and state laws regarding benefits and employment, and how do you plan to stay compliant?
  5. Do you have any past experience in administration or with HR software?

How to become a benefits specialist

To get started as a benefits specialist, you’ll need to pursue an associate degree in human resources or a related field. However, this is just the minimum requirement. Most competitive benefits specialists obtain a bachelor’s degree before starting their professional career with an internship.

After completing your education, you can seek out entry-level HR work. Most benefits specialists start out as assistants or trainees and eventually rise through the human resources ranks. SHRM Certification will give you an edge over other candidates.

Similar Positions

  • Benefits analyst
  • Benefits coordinator
  • Human resources specialist
  • Human resources coordinator
  • Benefits administrator

Career Advancement

  • Benefits manager
  • HR manager
  • HR director
  • Vice president
  • Chief human resources officer (CHRO)s

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