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Compensation Certification Programs for HR Specialists

Discover compensation certificate programs and certification options for the human resource specialist. Read on for prerequisites, program coursework and employment outlook statistics.

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Essential Information

Human resources (HR) specialists can further their education by completing a compensation certificate program. These programs are available on campus and online through numerous colleges and universities. Aspiring human resources compensation and benefits managers can also reach industry competence benchmarks by obtaining compensation certification from relevant professional associations.

Compensation certificate programs may consist of about six courses, such as compensation strategy and design, benefits administration and health plan management. They are designed to teach HR specialists to set and administer competitive and equitable employee compensation packages. This includes determining salaries, health insurance, raises, bonuses, retirement and other benefits. Significant experience or a bachelor's degree is usually necessary for certificate program admission.

Educational Prerequisites

Compensation certificate programs are designed for experienced human resources professionals; thus, a bachelor's degree in human resources or a related area is often required for admission. However, some institutions may admit students without undergraduate degrees if they have a strong background in the field.

Program Coursework

Most certificate programs require completion of at least six courses related to employee compensation and benefits. Typical courses might include the following:

  • Compensation strategy and design
  • Welfare benefits administration
  • Retirement and health plan management
  • Compensation law and ethics
  • Employee bonuses and incentives
  • Equal opportunity employment

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

There were approximately 31,800 people in the United States employed as human resource compensation and benefits managers in 2010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (www.bls.gov). That number was projected to increase to 32,700 by 2020. Human resource compensation and benefits managers made a median annual salary of $95,250 in May 2012, reported the BLS.

Continuing Education

After earning a certificate in compensation and benefits, human resources professionals can pursue a graduate degree in human resources. Continuing education opportunities also are available through professional groups, such as the International Foundation of Education, Benefits and Compensation (www.ifebp.org) or the WorldAtWork Society of Certified Professionals (www.worldatworksociety.org). Additionally, these organizations offer compensation certification, which typically requires passage of exams and proof of professional work experience.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics