Pension Administrator: Career and Salary Facts

Explore the career requirements for pension administrators. Read on to learn more about education requirements, typical job duties, job growth and potential salary to determine if this career is for you. Schools offering Human Resource Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Pension Administrator?

A pension administrator is a benefits manager who may oversee an array of employee benefit programs for a company or organization, including 401(k), stock-option and profit-sharing, defined-contribution and defined-benefit-pension plans. As a pension administrator, you would be responsible for choosing the pension plans that your organization offers to its employees. For this, you would research and analyze various benefits and retirement plans in order to select one that meets the needs and budgetary considerations of your organization. You would also make sure that the selected pension plan is in compliance with current laws. Over time, you would continue to monitor these factors and make changes where needed. You would also help new members enroll in the plan and keep track of each member's status and benefit information.

Read on for important information about entering this field.

Education Required Bachelor's degree
Field of Study Human resources, business administration, finance or related field
Certification Certification offered by American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries is optional, but beneficial
Key Skills Good analytical skills, ability to understand and synthesize complex information, strong presentation and writing skills
Job Growth (2014-2024) 6% for all compensation and benefits specialists*
Median Salary (2015) $51,943**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics **

What Type of Work Will I Do as a Pension Administrator?

Job tasks of a pension administrator include record keeping and accounting, computing benefits and determining benefit eligibility. You may need to ensure compliance with federal and state regulations, answer questions from employees about their pension benefits and advise management about future directions for retirement programs.

What Education and Training Should I Obtain?

Most entry-level positions in the field require a minimum of a bachelor's degree. Some colleges offer majors in industrial and labor relations and in human resources administration. You may need a master's degree in human resources, business administration or a related field for management positions. You'll also need to continue your education throughout your career to keep your knowledge current on changing plans and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act as well as other relevant legislation and regulations.


Several professional organizations offer training and credentials that can be helpful for pension administrators. For example, the American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries offers the Qualified Pension Administrator credential to candidates who have two or more years of experience working with retirement plans and pass a series of exams on issues in the field ( The National Institute of Pension Administrators offers the Accredited Pension Administrator designation ( This designation requires completion of self-study courses with exams in plan administration and other retirement plan topics.

What Are The Opportunities for Advancement?

During your career, you may advance from an entry-level position performing administrative tasks to a supervisory or managerial position. Job titles for upper-level positions include senior administrator, compliance manager and human resources director. Some specialists in this area start their own consulting practices to work with and advise businesses on pension and retirement benefit issues.

How Much Might I Earn?

According to, pension administrators earned a median annual salary of $51,943 as of 2017. The BLS notes that the median salary for all compensation, benefits and job analysis specialists was $60,850 as of 2015.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Instead of working as a pension administrator, you could consider a job as a compensation manager. In this job, you would analyze the pay structure at a company or organization to ensure wages and salaries are consistent with the current market. They may also design bonus plans. Compensation managers need at least a bachelor's degree. Another similar career is a job as a human resources manager. They handle a variety of employee-related issues in companies and organizations, such as hiring new staff and mediating disputes between employers and employees. To become a human resources manager, you need to have at least a bachelor's degree.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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