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How to Become a Compensation and Benefits Manager

Updated on January 21, 2012

Compensation and benefits managers administer salary, pension, and other benefits programs for company employees. As a part of human resources, a strong business education and background is important for becoming a manager.

Of course, you will likely not start out in your career as a compensation and benefits manager unless you get on with a small company. Just like any job, there are lower-ranking positions before being elevated to the management level of compensation and benefits. These jobs are compensation and benefits specialists.

Regardless of the position you are seeking, the same kind of education and training is going to apply. To become a specialist in this field and eventually a manager, it is helpful to take undergraduate classes in compensation and benefits and human resources. You will eventually need to go for a master's degree to improve your chances of getting one of the better management jobs.

Colleges do not generally have a specific degree program in compensation and benefits management. But there are a number of options at the undergraduate level. Labor law and business classes are good subjects to learn as part of your undergraduate program. Things like workers compensation, unemployment insurance, business law, and pension law may also be available at some colleges.

Take a course that is good for admission into human resources graduate degree programs or a related field. GradSchools has a directory of master's and doctoral graduate degree programs in human resource management. With over 600 such programs, you can education and training to become a compensation and benefits manager in every state. Contact some schools individually to find out their specific admission requirements and selection criteria.

Once you receive your training, then you may have to start as a lower-level compensation and benefits specialist and then work your way up. Either way, though, there are tens of thousands of jobs at the specialist and manager level that pay a good salary.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 29,830 compensation and benefits managers in May of 2010, averaging a whopping median average salary of about $89,000. While compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists averaged an income of about $57,000, there were a little over 100,000 of those jobs. Thus, there are tens of thousands of both entry-level and management jobs in compensation and benefits, especially for those with at least a graduate degree in human resources or a related discipline.

Resources:

GradSchools Directory of Human Resource Management Programs

Bureau of Labor Statistics: Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists Jobs and Salary

Bureau of Labor Statistics: Compensation and Benefits Managers Career and Jobs Information

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