Popular Careers

Career Development

Career development resources for aspiring professionals.

Career Change Center

Career change guides, tutorials and resources for professionals in transition.

Job Search Resources

Job search resources, websites, guides and directories for job seekers.


Career and Education Opportunities for Compensation / Benefits Specialists in Columbia, Maryland

For those living in the Columbia, Maryland area, there are many career and education opportunities for compensation / benefits specialists. There are currently 2,100 jobs for compensation / benefits specialists in Maryland and this is projected to grow 24% to 2,600 jobs by 2016. This is better than 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 approximately $27 per hour or $56,610 annually on average in Maryland. Nationally they average about $25 hourly or $53,860 annually. Incomes for compensation / benefits specialists are not quite as good as in the overall category of Human Resources in Maryland, and not quite as good as the overall Human Resources category nationally. People working as compensation / benefits specialists can fill a number of jobs, such as: human resources analyst, wage analyst, and employment advisor.

There are fourteen schools within twenty-five miles of Columbia where you can study to be a compensation / benefits specialist, among 109 schools of higher education total in the Columbia area. Compensation / benefits specialists usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so it will take about four years to learn 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 Columbia 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

Johns Hopkins University - Baltimore, MD

Johns Hopkins University, 3400 N Charles St, Mason Hall, Baltimore, MD 21218-2688. Johns Hopkins University is a large university located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 20,049 students and an admission rate of 26%. Johns Hopkins University has a postbaccalaureate certificate program in Human Resources Management/Personnel Administration.

Montgomery College - Rockville, MD

Montgomery College, 40 W. Gude Drive, Suite 220, Rockville, MD 20850. Montgomery College is a large college located in Rockville, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 24,452 students. Montgomery College has a one to two year program in Human Resources Management/Personnel Administration which graduated one student in 2008.

DeVry University-Maryland - Bethesda, MD

DeVry University-Maryland, 4550 Montgomery Ave, Suite 100 North, Bethesda, MD 20814-3304. DeVry University-Maryland is a small university located in Bethesda, Maryland. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 99 students and an admission rate of 92%. DeVry University-Maryland has a master's degree program in Human Resources Management/Personnel Administration which graduated four students in 2008.

University of Maryland-Baltimore County - Baltimore, MD

University of Maryland-Baltimore County, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250. University of Maryland-Baltimore County is a large university located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 12,268 students and an admission rate of 72%. University of Maryland-Baltimore County has a two to four year program in Labor and Industrial Relations which graduated eight students in 2008.

Prince George's Community College - Largo, MD

Prince George's Community College, 301 Largo Rd, Largo, MD 20774-2199. Prince George's Community College is a large college located in Largo, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 12,005 students. Prince George's Community College has a one to two year program in Human Resources Management/Personnel Administration which graduated eleven students in 2008.

University of Maryland-University College - Adelphi, MD

University of Maryland-University College, 3501 University Blvd East, Adelphi, MD 20783-8010. University of Maryland-University College is a large university located in Adelphi, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 34,130 students. University of Maryland-University College has two to four year, bachelor's degree, and postbaccalaureate certificate programs in Human Resources Management/Personnel Administration which graduated sixty-four, three, and thirty students respectively in 2008.

George Washington University - Washington, DC

George Washington University, 2121 I Street, NW, Washington, DC 20052. George Washington University is a large university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 25,027 students and an admission rate of 37%. George Washington University has bachelor's degree, postbaccalaureate certificate, master's degree, post-master's certificate, and doctor's degree programs in Human Resources Management/Personnel Administration which graduated three, twenty-seven, sixty-eight, eight, and sixteen students respectively in 2008.

The Community College of Baltimore County - Baltimore, MD

The Community College of Baltimore County, 7201 Rossville Blvd., Baltimore, MD 21237. The Community College of Baltimore County is a large college located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 20,673 students. The Community College of Baltimore County has 2 areas of study related to Compensation / Benefits Specialist. They are:

  • Human Resources Management/Personnel Administration, one to two year which graduated 3 students in 2008.
  • Labor and Industrial Relations, one to two year.

National Labor College - Silver Spring, MD

National Labor College, 10000 New Hampshire Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20903-1706. National Labor College is a small college located in Silver Spring, Maryland. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 221 students. National Labor College has a two to four year and a bachelor's degree program in Labor and Industrial Relations which graduated zero and twenty students respectively in 2008.

Catholic University of America - Washington, DC

Catholic University of America, 620 Michigan Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20064. Catholic University of America is a medium sized university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 6,705 students and an admission rate of 81%. Catholic University of America has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Human Resources Management/Personnel Administration which graduated one and twelve students respectively in 2008.

Marymount University - Arlington, VA

Marymount University, 2807 N Glebe Rd, Arlington, VA 22207-4299. Marymount University is a small university located in Arlington, Virginia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,541 students and an admission rate of 84%. Marymount University has a postbaccalaureate certificate and a master's degree program in Human Resources Management/Personnel Administration which graduated zero and thirty-six students respectively in 2008.

American University - Washington, DC

American University, 4400 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016-8001. American University is a large university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 11,684 students and an admission rate of 53%. American University has a master's degree program in Human Resources Management/Personnel Administration.

DeVry University-Virginia - Arlington, VA

DeVry University-Virginia, 2450 Crystal Drive, Arlington, VA 22202-3843. DeVry University-Virginia is a small university located in Arlington, Virginia. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 739 students and an admission rate of 93%. DeVry University-Virginia has a master's degree program in Human Resources Management/Personnel Administration which graduated six students in 2008.

Trinity Washington University - Washington, DC

Trinity Washington University, 125 Michigan Ave NE, Washington, DC 20017-1094. Trinity Washington University is a small university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,734 students and an admission rate of 74%. Trinity Washington University has bachelor's degree, postbaccalaureate certificate, and master's degree programs in Human Resources Management/Personnel Administration which graduated four, zero, and thirty-three students respectively in 2008.

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: Columbia, Maryland

Columbia, Maryland
Columbia, Maryland photo by Jeff Kubina

Columbia is located in Howard County, Maryland. It has a population of over 96,421. The cost of living index in Columbia, 100, is near the national average.

The three most popular industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 30 minutes. More than 59.0% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 28.7%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 49.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, Atholton Seventh Day Adventist Church and Long Reach Interfaith Center are all churches located in Columbia. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Columbia is home to the Symphony Woods Office Center and the Rivers Corporate Park as well as Middle Patuxent Environmental Area and Clarksville Environmental Area. Shopping centers in the area include Governor Century Plaza Shopping Center, Atholton Shopping Center and Owen Brown Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Columbia can choose from PFMG, Courtyard by Marriott and Hilton Inn Columbia for temporary stays in the area.