How Can I Become a Retirement Specialist?

Research what it takes to become a retirement specialist. Learn about education requirements, certification, job outlook and salary to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Retirement Specialist?

Retirement specialists help organizations plan and manage retirement benefits for their employees. Often working within the human resources department, these professionals help develop benefits packages for company employees that are attractive and fair. They may communicate individually with employees to explain their benefits packages, help them make decisions regarding their retirement funds, and plan for their future. Retirement specialists also advise individual clients on investing for retirement and other goals. The table below describes the general requirements for a career as a retirement specialist.

Degree Requirements Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Business administration, human resources or a similar field
Certification Certification is optional
Job Growth (2014-2024) 5% (for all human resource specialists)*
Median Salary (2015) $58,350 (for all human resource specialists)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does a Retirement Planner Do?

As a retirement planner, you might work as part of a human resources team. Your duties could include analyzing various benefits, insurance and retirement plans. Ensuring the organization's compliance with federal and state compensation laws, as well as other legislative updates affecting benefits, could also be part of your job description. You might implement or restructure a company's benefit plans, such as defined benefits, 401(k) plans, savings stock options or other benefits to a company's employees or clients.

You might also find work as a financial planner in the financial services sector with a bank or investment firm. Much of your workday would be spent on the phone discussing benefits with other professionals and clients and at a computer, reviewing and evaluating plans and other resources.

What Kind of Education Will I Need?

Most retirement and other human resource positions generally require a bachelor's degree, such as the Bachelor of Business Administration. Completing courses in finance, accounting, labor regulations, statistics, and human resources and management, as well as understanding computer technologies will improve your job opportunities in this career.

Should I Be Certified?

Professional credentials, such as the Retirement Benefits Certification from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, may also demonstrate a high level of competence in your field. The BLS notes that many employers may want human resource job applicants to have credentials.

Other credentialing agencies include the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries, which offers Certified Pension Consultant (CPC) and Qualified Plan Financial Consultant (OPFC) credentials. At least three years of experience in retirement planning and passing several examinations is required for both credentials. To maintain certification, you will need to complete ongoing continuing education and membership renewal.

What Is the Salary and Job Outlook?

The BLS noted that in 2015, the median salary for a human resource specialist was $58,350. Employment for these specialists was predicted to increase 5% between 2014 and 2024. This may be due to the continued need for expert advice in planning and regulatory updates.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

With a bachelor's degree, you may also be interested in a career as a training and development specialist or manager. These professionals are responsible for developing and implementing training programs for companies who want to introduce their employees to new concepts, technologies, or ideas. Managers generally oversee a team of specialists. You could also become a tax examiner, collector, or revenue agent with a bachelor's degree. These individuals are in charge of making sure citizens and businesses comply with state and federal law by paying their taxes.

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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