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

Compensation / benefits specialists can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Columbia, South Carolina area. There are currently 730 working compensation / benefits specialists in South Carolina; this should grow 16% to about 850 working compensation / benefits specialists in the state 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.

A person working as a compensation / benefits specialist can expect to earn about $21 per hour or $45,090 per year on average in South Carolina and about $25 per hour or $53,860 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Compensation / benefits specialists earn less than people working in the category of Human Resources generally in South Carolina and less than people in the Human Resources category nationally. Compensation / benefits specialists work in a variety of jobs, including: employee benefits manager, human resources analyst, and benefits analyst.

The Columbia area is home to twenty schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Columbia 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 training to become 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

University of South Carolina-Columbia - Columbia, SC

University of South Carolina-Columbia, , Columbia, SC 29208. University of South Carolina-Columbia is a large university located in Columbia, South Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 27,500 students and an admission rate of 59%. University of South Carolina-Columbia has a master's degree program in Human Resources Management/Personnel Administration which graduated twenty-eight 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: Columbia, South Carolina

Columbia, South Carolina
Columbia, South Carolina photo by Akhenaton06

Columbia is located in Richland County, South Carolina. It has a population of over 127,029, which has grown by 9.2% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Columbia, 86, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Columbia cost $142,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, four hundred thirty-four new homes were built in Columbia, down from seven hundred the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and public administration. For men, it is educational services, public administration, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 18 minutes. More than 35.7% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 14.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Columbia is 16.1%, which is greater than South Carolina's average of 12.0%.

The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 41.6%, is less than both the national and state average. Progressive Church, Bishop Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church and Lutheran Seminary are among the churches located in Columbia. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Columbia is home to the Booker T Washington Center and the Longstreet Annex as well as Irwin Park and Columbia Historic District II. Shopping centers in the area include Five Points Shopping Center, Market Place Shopping Center and Columbiana Centre Shopping Center. Visitors to Columbia can choose from Marriott Columbia, Hampton Inn Columbia-SE-Fort Jackson and Embassy Suites Hotel for temporary stays in the area.