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Career and Education Opportunities for Compensation / Benefits Specialists in Chicago, Illinois

Compensation / benefits specialist career and educational opportunities abound in Chicago, Illinois. Currently, 5,730 people work as compensation / benefits specialists in Illinois. This is expected to grow 21% to 6,940 people by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for compensation / benefits specialists, which sees this job pool growing by about 23.6% over the next eight years. Compensation / benefits specialists generally conduct programs of compensation and benefits and job analysis for employer.

Compensation / benefits specialists earn about $27 hourly or $57,740 annually on average in Illinois and about $25 hourly or $53,860 yearly on average nationally. Compensation / benefits specialists earn less than people working in the category of Human Resources generally in Illinois and less than people in the Human Resources category nationally. Compensation / benefits specialists work in a variety of jobs, including: salary and wage administrator, employee benefits supervisor, and personnel staffing specialist.

The Chicago area is home to 180 schools of higher education, including nineteen within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can get a degree as a compensation / benefits specialist. The most common level of education for compensation / benefits specialists is a Bachelor's degree. You can expect to spend about four years studying to be a compensation / benefits specialist if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Compensation / Benefits Specialist

In general, compensation / benefits specialists conduct programs of compensation and benefits and job analysis for employer. They also may specialize in specific areas.

Compensation / benefits specialists insure company adherence to federal and state laws, including reporting requirements. They also advise managers and employees on state and federal employment regulations, collective agreements, benefit and compensation policies, personnel procedures and classification programs. Equally important, compensation / benefits specialists have to ready occupational classifications, job descriptions and salary scales. Finally, compensation / benefits specialists furnish advice on the resolution of classification and salary complaints.

Every day, compensation / benefits specialists are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they think through problems and come up with general rules.

It is important for compensation / benefits specialists to evaluate job positions, determining classification, exempt or non-exempt status, and salary. They are often called upon to help in preparing and maintaining personnel records and handbooks. They also speak at conferences and events to promote apprenticeships and related training programs. They are sometimes expected to observe and survey employees and conduct focus group meetings to collect job, organizational, and occupational data. Somewhat less frequently, compensation / benefits specialists are also expected to negotiate collective agreements on behalf of employers or staff, and mediate labor disputes and grievances.

They also have to be able to ready reports, such as organization and flow charts, and career path reports, to summarize job analysis and evaluation and compensation analysis data And finally, they sometimes have to research job and worker requirements, structural and functional relationships among jobs and occupations, and occupational trends.

Like many other jobs, compensation / benefits specialists must have exceptional integrity and be able to absorb the factors involved and a problem and provide a well thought out solution.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chicago include:

  • Employment Coordinator. Interview job applicants and refer them to prospective employers for consideration. Search application files, notify selected applicants of job openings, and refer qualified applicants to prospective employers. Contact employers to verify referral results. Record and evaluate various pertinent data.
  • Employment Recruiter. Seek out, interview, and screen applicants to fill existing and future job openings and promote career opportunities within an organization.
  • Insurance Adjuster. Investigate, analyze, and determine the extent of insurance company's liability concerning personal, casualty, or property loss or damages, and attempt to effect settlement with claimants. Correspond with or interview medical specialists, agents, or claimants to compile information. Calculate benefit payments and approve payment of claims within a certain monetary limit.
  • Job Training Specialist. Conduct training and development programs for employees.
  • Real Estate Appraiser. Appraise real property to determine its value for purchase, sales, or loan purposes.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Compensation / Benefits Specialist Training

American Intercontinental University Online - Hoffman Estates, IL

American Intercontinental University Online, 5550 Prairie Stone Pky-Ste 400, Hoffman Estates, IL 60192. American Intercontinental University Online is a large university located in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 22,963 students and an admission rate of 45%. American Intercontinental University Online has associate's degree, bachelor's degree, and master's degree programs in Human Resources Management/Personnel Administration which graduated 224, 325, and 188 students respectively in 2008.

DePaul University - Chicago, IL

DePaul University, 55 E Jackson, Chicago, IL 60604. DePaul University is a large university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 22,554 students. DePaul University has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Human Resources Management/Personnel Administration which graduated zero and eleven students respectively in 2008.

Ellis University - Chicago, IL

Ellis University, 111 N Canal St Ste 380, Chicago, IL 60606. Ellis University is a small university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 2,692 students. Ellis University has a master's degree program in Human Resources Management/Personnel Administration.

Roosevelt University - Chicago, IL

Roosevelt University, 430 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60605-1394. Roosevelt University is a medium sized university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 7,708 students and an admission rate of 43%. Roosevelt University has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Human Resources Management/Personnel Administration.

University of St Francis - Joliet, IL

University of St Francis, 500 N Wilcox St, Joliet, IL 60435-6188. University of St Francis is a small university located in Joliet, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,334 students and an admission rate of 60%. University of St Francis has a bachelor's degree program in Human Resources Management/Personnel Administration.

DeVry University-Illinois - Chicago, IL

DeVry University-Illinois, 3300 N Campbell Ave, Chicago, IL 60618. DeVry University-Illinois is a large university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 19,417 students and an admission rate of 92%. DeVry University-Illinois has a master's degree program in Human Resources Management/Personnel Administration which graduated 176 students in 2008.

North Central College - Naperville, IL

North Central College, 30 N Brainard St, Naperville, IL 60540. North Central College is a small college located in Naperville, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,726 students and an admission rate of 69%. North Central College has a bachelor's degree program in Human Resources Management/Personnel Administration which graduated one student in 2008.

Harper College - Palatine, IL

Harper College, 1200 W Algonquin Rd, Palatine, IL 60067-7398. Harper College is a large college located in Palatine, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,250 students. Harper College has a less than one year program in Human Resources Management/Personnel Administration which graduated four students in 2008.

National-Louis University - Chicago, IL

National-Louis University, 122 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603. National-Louis University is a medium sized university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 6,874 students and an admission rate of 56%. National-Louis University has a master's degree program in Human Resources Management/Personnel Administration which graduated thirty-three students in 2008.

Oakton Community College - Des Plaines, IL

Oakton Community College, 1600 E Golf Rd., Des Plaines, IL 60016-1268. Oakton Community College is a large college located in Des Plaines, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,552 students. Oakton Community College has a less than one year program in Human Resources Management/Personnel Administration which graduated seven students in 2008.

Moraine Valley Community College - Palos Hills, IL

Moraine Valley Community College, 9000 W. College Parkway, Palos Hills, IL 60465-0937. Moraine Valley Community College is a large college located in Palos Hills, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 17,477 students. Moraine Valley Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Human Resources Management/Personnel Administration which graduated one and two students respectively in 2008.

Saint Xavier University - Chicago, IL

Saint Xavier University, 3700 W 103rd St, Chicago, IL 60655. Saint Xavier University is a medium sized university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 5,307 students and an admission rate of 71%. Saint Xavier University has a master's degree program in Human Resources Management/Personnel Administration.

Lewis University - Romeoville, IL

Lewis University, One University Parkway, Romeoville, IL 60446-2200. Lewis University is a medium sized university located in Romeoville, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 5,536 students and an admission rate of 71%. Lewis University has a bachelor's degree program in Human Resources Management/Personnel Administration which graduated three students in 2008.

Northwestern University - Evanston, IL

Northwestern University, 633 Clark St, Evanston, IL 60208. Northwestern University is a large university located in Evanston, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 20,128 students and an admission rate of 27%. Northwestern University has 2 areas of study related to Compensation / Benefits Specialist. They are:

  • Human Resources Management/Personnel Administration, master's degree which graduated 2 students in 2008.
  • Labor and Industrial Relations, master's degree.

Joliet Junior College - Joliet, IL

Joliet Junior College, 1215 Houbolt Rd, Joliet, IL 60431-8938. Joliet Junior College is a large college located in Joliet, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,088 students. Joliet Junior College has a less than one year and a one to two year program in Human Resources Management/Personnel Administration which graduated five and four students respectively in 2008.

North Park University - Chicago, IL

North Park University, 3225 W Foster Ave, Chicago, IL 60625-4895. North Park University is a small university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,255 students and an admission rate of 30%. North Park University has a bachelor's degree program in Human Resources Management/Personnel Administration which graduated two students in 2008.

Triton College - River Grove, IL

Triton College, 2000 5th Ave, River Grove, IL 60171-1995. Triton College is a large college located in River Grove, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,547 students. Triton College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Human Resources Management/Personnel Administration which graduated four and six students respectively in 2008.

Illinois Institute of Technology - Chicago, IL

Illinois Institute of Technology, 3300 S Federal St, Chicago, IL 60616. Illinois Institute of Technology is a medium sized school located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 7,404 students and an admission rate of 57%. Illinois Institute of Technology has a master's degree program in Human Resources Management/Personnel Administration which graduated seven students in 2008.

Loyola University Chicago - Chicago, IL

Loyola University Chicago, 820 N. Michigan, Chicago, IL 60611-9810. Loyola University Chicago is a large university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 15,670 students and an admission rate of 74%. Loyola University Chicago has 2 areas of study related to Compensation / Benefits Specialist. They are:

  • Human Resources Management/Personnel Administration, bachelor's degree and master's degree which graduated eight and zero students respectively in 2008.
  • Labor and Industrial Relations, master's degree.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Pension Consultant: The Certified Pension Consultant (CPC) credential is designed for benefits professionals working in plan administration, pension actuarial administration, insurance, and financial planning.

For more information, see the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries website.

Qualified 401(k) Administrator: The Qualified 401(k) Administrator (QKA) credential is conferred by ASPPA to retirement plan professionals who work primarily with 401(k) plans.

For more information, see the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries website.

Global Professional in Human Resources: Globalization is the defining political and economic force in the world today.

For more information, see the HR Certification Institute website.

Certified Retirement Specialist: If you are a professional with an interest in issues and opportunities in the 403(b) marketplace, advance your career by obtaining the Certified Retirement Specialist (CRS) designation.

For more information, see the NTSAA (National Tax Sheltered Accounts Association) Educational Institute website.

Skill Analyst Certification: This certification provides analysts with the experience and understanding included with the aspects of job classification and analysis.

For more information, see the SkillsNET website.

Certified Compensation Professional: Recognized as the world's standard since 1976, the Certified Compensation Professional (CCP) designation is known throughout the global rewards community as a mark of expertise and excellence in all areas of compensation.

For more information, see the WorldAtWork website.

Certified Benefits Professional: Designed for today's dynamic benefits environment, the Certified Benefits Professional (CBP) program provides solid strategies and understanding.

For more information, see the WorldAtWork website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.