Fact Checked

How Do I Become a Benefits Consultant?

D. Nelson
D. Nelson

A benefits consultant is usually a professional responsible for helping clients choose and customize insurance plans that fit their needs. This kind of professional can either act as an insurance agent who sells an insurance company's products to clients or as a member of a consulting firm who helps executives and human resource managers to develop benefits packages for their employees. To become a benefits consultant, your first step should be to get a business education. For some people, this means getting degrees in fields such as marketing or sales. For others, the best way to become a benefits consultant is to concentrate on learning from real world sales experience.

If you would like to become a benefits consultant who sells insurance products for an insurance company, it probably is not necessary to earn a college degree. This kind of credential, however, can be helpful since it can enable you to earn trust and respect of your clients and colleagues. A degree program in sales or marketing also can provide you with some useful information that can make you a more effective professional.

Benefits consultants do not require a specialized college degree, but a business education is helpful.
Benefits consultants do not require a specialized college degree, but a business education is helpful.

For this kind of benefits consultant, the willingness to learn about new principles and practices is most important. While this kind of benefits consultant often doesn't work directly for an insurance company, he or she usually has to engage in training that is approved by the company for which he or she is consulting. You also can benefit from learning about basic word processor, spreadsheet, and data entry computer programs.

A person who would like to become a benefits consultant working for an advisory firm should earn a degree in a field such as management or human resources. In competitive job markets, it can also be a good idea to earn a graduate degree in business or in human resources management. This kind of professional also should get plenty of experience developing benefits packages and helping individuals to choose insurance plans that best fit their needs. To become a benefits consultant in this context, it is necessary that you become an expert in designing benefits packages that serve employees' needs while helping executives to cut cost.

Some benefits consultants may also work for large corporations as full time members of human resources departments. When a company has hundreds or even thousands of full time employees, benefits packages can be excessively complex. To become a benefits consultant in this context, you should get much experience working in human resources or for an insurance company.

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Discussion Comments


I actually had a meeting with a benefits consultant once. I didn't really feel pressured to buy anything. I was also very happy with the detailed explanations of the products the consultant gave me. I suppose every benefits consultant operates differently though. And it may vary by company.

Anyway, it sounds like the level of education necessary for this position differs a lot depending on where you work. I think starting out with an insurance company might be a good idea for someone that didn't go to college. I know some insurance jobs only require licensing. Then maybe you could get your degree while you're working and work for a company or something.


@indemnifyme - I don't think that helping people and making the sale have to be mutually exclusive. I know people in sales do have certain sales goals to meet, but hopefully insurance companies are offering a good product. If you're selling a good product, than you are helping people.

But, I think if someone wanted to work in this field and felt uncomfortable with the sales aspect, they could always work for a company. It sounds like benefits consultant that work in human resources departments don't concentrate on sales, but on helping people at their company choose and understand their benefits.


I think one thing to keep in mind if you're going to work as a "benefits consultant" for an insurance company is that it is, first and foremost, a sales job. Most insurance companies feed you a line about "helping people be better protected" or whatever when they hire you, but sales are the name of the game.

Yes, some insurance agents do truly want to help their customers. But every insurance company has sales goals for their agents and benefits consultants. You might find yourself having to concentrate more on making the sale than actually helping your customer.

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    • Benefits consultants do not require a specialized college degree, but a business education is helpful.
      By: zimmytws
      Benefits consultants do not require a specialized college degree, but a business education is helpful.