The process of recruiting, hiring and retaining qualified employees is vital to any company’s success. Benefits administrators are human resource (HR) professionals who assist in this undertaking by keeping employees informed about their benefits, including health insurance and retirement plans. Professionals with a broad range of business skills will have access to the best opportunities in this competitive field. Enrolling in a bachelor’s degree in business administration program with a specialization in management can be a good start to a benefits administrator career. Specialized HR knowledge can be acquired through electives or a minor in human resources administration.

Job Outlook for Benefits Administrators

According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, employment of human resources managers, including benefits administrators, is expected to increase rapidly in coming years. Job growth will result from factors such as rising healthcare costs and new coverage options, which will drive demand for benefits experts to assist firms in competing for qualified employees.

Job Duties

Benefits administrators are specialists who design and administer a company’s benefits programs. They are typically required to negotiate with insurance and retirement plan providers and make recommendations regarding the best choice in accordance with company goals. They may also administer wellness, legal, transportation and other assistance programs.

When analyzing and preparing benefits packages, benefits administrators generally consider cost and features, as well as the overall performance and responsiveness of service providers. Once they have determined the optimal components, benefits administrators will present their findings and recommendations to management through written reports or oral presentations.

Benefits administrators often assist newly hired employees with enrollment, and meet with all employees during open enrollment periods to explain plan changes and options. They may be responsible for processing billing and resolving discrepancies with insurance providers. Other duties of benefits administrators may include communicating with employees to ensure thorough understanding of benefits, consulting with individuals about coverage for medical procedures and following guidelines for legal compliance.

Most benefits administrators work in an office setting. A standard 40-hour week is typical, but flexible hours and overtime may be necessary.

Potential Salary for Benefits Administrators

According to the BLS, the average annual salary for compensation and benefits specialists was $58,520 in May 2009. The middle 50% earned between $43,340 and $70,130. Salaries for the lowest 10% were around $34,960, while the highest 10% brought in upwards of $86,540. Recent bachelor’s graduates will generally start out toward the lower end of the range; the top salaries typically go to benefits administrators with extensive experience or advanced education.

Education and Training

Many employers require benefits administrators to hold at least a bachelor’s degree in a field such as business administration or human resources. It is essential for professionals in this role to have thorough knowledge of accepted business practices, especially those pertaining to organizational development and leadership.

A career as a benefits administrator can begin with a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a specialization in management. Coursework typically includes strategic management, organizational behavior and development, applied decision methods for management, human resources management and statistics. Students can also enroll in human resource electives or a human resources administration minor, with courses such as compensation and benefits, and administrative and personnel law.

Employers can be confident that graduates of a business administration program with a specialization in management are able to:

  • Demonstrate effective business communication skills.
  • Identify workplace issues and make sound recommendations for solutions.
  • Implement practical strategies based on industry-recognized organizational and behavior theories.
  • Analyze data and interpret results based on quantitative techniques.
  • Leverage advanced skills and knowledge to succeed as a benefits administrator.

Many employers offer opportunities for continuing education. It’s possible to gain an entry-level position with a bachelor’s degree and use tuition assistance to pay for a master’s degree.

Do You Picture Yourself as a Benefits Administrator?

If you have a desire to help others, good analytical abilities and excellent interpersonal skills, a benefits administrator career could be a great choice. Other traits that will serve you well in this field include leadership ability as well as strong written and verbal communication skills. A bachelor’s degree in business administration with a specialization in management can provide the foundation you need to embark on an exciting human resources career as a benefits administrator.

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