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Career and Education Opportunities for Compensation / Benefits Specialists in Gulfport, Mississippi

There are many career and education opportunities for compensation / benefits specialists in the Gulfport, Mississippi area. About 420 people are currently employed as compensation / benefits specialists in Mississippi. By 2016, this is expected to grow 24% to about 520 people employed. 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.

The income of a compensation / benefits specialist is about $19 per hour or $39,630 per year on average in Mississippi. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $25 per hour or $53,860 yearly on average. Compensation / benefits specialists earn less than people working in the category of Human Resources generally in Mississippi and less than people in the Human Resources category nationally. People working as compensation / benefits specialists can fill a number of jobs, such as: compensation and benefits analyst, benefit specialist, and compensation coordinator.

There are six schools of higher education in the Gulfport area, including one within twenty-five miles of Gulfport where you can get a degree to start your career as a compensation / benefits specialist. Given that the most common education level for compensation / benefits specialists is a Bachelor's degree, 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 Gulfport 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.
  • Job Training Specialist. Conduct training and development programs for employees.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Compensation / Benefits Specialist Training

Virginia College-Gulf Coast - Biloxi, MS

Virginia College-Gulf Coast, 920 Cedar Lake Rd-Ste C, Biloxi, MS 39532. Virginia College-Gulf Coast is a small college located in Biloxi, Mississippi. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 353 students and an admission rate of 60%. Virginia College-Gulf Coast has an associate's degree program in Human Resources Management/Personnel Administration which graduated four students in 2008.


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: Gulfport, Mississippi

Gulfport, Mississippi
Gulfport, Mississippi photo by Charlie Brenner

Gulfport is located in Harrison County, Mississippi. It has a population of over 70,055, which has shrunk by 1.5% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Gulfport, 87, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Gulfport are valued at $108,600 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, two hundred forty-two new homes were constructed in Gulfport, down from three hundred twenty-nine the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Gulfport are health care, arts, entertainment, and recreation, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, arts, entertainment, and recreation, and public administration. The average commute to work is about 20 minutes. More than 19.1% of Gulfport residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.8%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Gulfport is 9.3%, which is less than Mississippi's average of 9.5%.

The percentage of Gulfport residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 50.8%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Saint Johns Catholic Church, Saint James Baptist Church and Broadmoor Baptist Church are all churches located in Gulfport. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Gulfport is home to the Harrison County Courthouse and the West Side Community Center as well as Cowan Road Field and Harbor Square Park. Shopping centers in the area include Great Southern Shopping Center, Gulf Mart Shopping Center and Hardy Court Shopping Center. Visitors to Gulfport can choose from Best Western Seaway Inn, Crystal Inn and Best Western Seaway for temporary stays in the area.