To become a benefits manager, you will typically need to earn a bachelor's degree in business and have significant experience in human resources. In addition, you will need to have a great deal of knowledge of employee benefits plans as well as specific types of benefits, such as insurance and retirement funds. In many cases, you will receive benefits manager training on the job as well as from continuing education programs and seminars and workshops sponsored by vendors. Depending on the size of your employer, you may even need to complete postgraduate education in human resources or earn professional certifications before you become a benefits manager.
A benefits manager assumes responsibility for the development and management of employee benefits programs. Employee benefits vary by legal jurisdiction as well as the policies of individual companies and organizations. These benefits may include health care, paid time off, and retirement plans. The benefits manager may play significant role in selecting benefits and choosing vendors of insurance and financial services. In addition, he will be responsible for educating other employees as well as company leadership about these benefits. He may also determine the eligibility of employees for these programs.
To obtain an entry-level job in a human resources or personnel department, you may need to obtain an undergraduate degree, particularly if you are hoping to advance in your profession. There are some companies, however, that may not require a degree in order to obtain employment. If you have not yet begun school or are already in school, consider majoring in a business-related field and trying to get an internship or part-time job in the human resources department of a business so that you have real-world experience to add to your resume. If you have significant employment experience prior to graduation, you may find that your quest to become a benefits manager can be achieved more quickly than if you have no experience when you first begin looking for full-time work.
Once you begin working full time, learn as much as you can about employee benefits. In many cases, vendors will supply your office with various manuals and other literature about the services they offer. This is a good time to learn about insurance programs, retirement accounts, and other types of fringe benefits. Talk to your supervisor about your hopes to become a benefits manager, as this may lead to being assigned to benefits-related work. If you have the opportunity to attend human resources industry conferences, be sure to sign up for classes and workshops in benefits management and let your supervisor know that you have completed these courses. This can establish you as someone with a keen interest in this area of human resources and can increase your chances of being hired in your desired role.