How to Become a Compensation and Benefits ManagerHow to Become a Compensation and Benefits ManagerHow to Become a Compensation and Benefits Manager

A company’s ultimate success comes down to its employees. Human resources experts known as compensation and benefits managers ensure employees get the salaries and the perks they deserve. These professionals play a vital role in attracting and keeping the talent that keeps a company going.

Pursuing a degree in human resource management can prepare individuals who want to learn how to become compensation and benefits managers for a rewarding career. Aspiring compensation and benefits managers would do well to look into programs such as Maryville University’s online bachelor’s in human resource management.

What Does a Compensation and Benefits Manager Do?

The human resource manager role depends on the organization, with large companies employing a greater number of compensation and benefits managers than small companies. Overall, compensation and benefits managers create and manage plans for employee salaries and benefits packages. This responsibility ensures that a company’s compensation structure is competitive in the industry and compliant with current federal and state regulations.

It is important for an individual researching how to become a compensation and benefits manager to understand the essential responsibilities of this important role. Compensation and benefits managers research the perks that competing organizations offer employees by analyzing job market statistics.

They also have to navigate legal policies, state and federal regulations, and labor laws. Specializing in budgeting and spending, compensation and benefits managers assess how many employees a company should hire. Further, they join forces with company managers to determine sales incentives and bonuses, as well as how to keep salaries competitive.

In addition, professionals in this role manage their company’s employee benefits program. They research the benefits of other organizations and meet with senior managers to discuss market trends and new state and federal regulations. They help oversee employee benefits programs that may include health insurance, retirement plans, dental insurance, disability pay, leave policies, and health and wellness programs.

Steps to Become a Compensation and Benefits Manager

An individual interested in how to become a compensation and benefits manager should consider the education and experience required to pursue the role. The following steps are key:

1. Education Requirements for Compensation and Benefits Managers

Prospective compensation and benefits managers should begin by pursuing a bachelor’s degree in human resources or a related field, such as business, finance, or management. Taking courses related to finance, administration, information technology, and management is a plus.

2. Gaining Experience and Certification

Candidates for the role of compensation and benefits manager typically need entry-level experience in human resources, finance, business, or management. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that individuals should have at least five years of such experience before they can qualify for the position.

Professionals new to the field also can gain experience by working as specialists in compensation, job analysis, or benefits. After gaining a few years of experience, they may take exams to become certified through the Society for Human Resource Management or the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans.

3. Essential Skills for the Role

Learning how to become a compensation and benefits manager means developing essential skills, including:

  • Leadership
  • Analytical and critical thinking
  • Technical knowledge
  • Business acumen
  • Communication
  • Data analysis
  • Decision-making
  • Knowledge of legal policies

Human Resource Management curriculum, like the one at Maryville University, should not only equip students with the skills they need to succeed but also align with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Body of Competency and Knowledge. This can prepare students to take the SHRM certification exam.

Compensation and Benefits Managers’ Salary and Job Outlook

Individuals starting out as compensation, job analysis, or benefits specialists earn an annual median salary of $64,560, while compensation and benefits managers earn an annual median salary of $122,270, according to the BLS. Education, years of experience, certification, and job location are factors. The BLS states those in the lowest 10% of the range earn less than $69,870, while those in the highest 10% earn over $208,000.

The BLS projects job growth for compensation and benefits managers will be 3% between 2018 and 2028.

Pursue a Human Resources Degree

Compensation and benefits managers work in many different industries. They collaborate with managers, monitor employee records, research employee salaries, and oversee benefits programs. Individuals interested in taking responsibility for attracting and rewarding top-notch talent will want to learn more about how to become a compensation and benefits manager. Consider earning an online bachelor’s in human resource management from Maryville University and explore how the program can help you pursue your professional goals.

Recommended Reading

Business Careers

Exploring Entrepreneurship: Starting and Operating a Small Business

The Top Data Science Skills to Develop for Business 


Houston Chronicle, “Detailed Job Description for a Compensation Specialist”

Society for Human Resource Management, SHRM Certification

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Compensation and Benefits Managers, Career Guide for Compensation and Benefits Manager

WorldatWork, Certified Compensation Professional/CCP

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