Certified Employee Benefit Specialist® Program
In the employee benefits and compensation field, the oldest and most respected professional credential is CEBS—the Certified Employee Benefit Specialist. The CEBS program provides certification choices for employee benefit and compensation professionals. You can earn specialty designations as a Group Benefits Associate (GBA), Retirement Plans Associate (RPA) and Compensation Management Specialist (CMS), or establish yourself as a total compensation professional by attaining the CEBS designation. The certifications will set you apart from your colleagues and peers and are a great way to validate your expertise and build trust with your constituencies. To become a CEBS, you must complete six required and two elective courses, and pass the examinations. Each of the specialty designation requires completion of three CEBS courses and exams. EMU does not offer all the CEBS courses, but there is opportunity for self-study and online preparation through the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP).
Each course requires successful completion of an exam administered by the IFEBP. Registration and exam fees are payable to IFEBP. For information about how to earn the CEBS and specialty designations and to register for exams visit: www.cebs.org.
Why enroll in an EMU classroom CEBS courses?
EMU CEBS courses offer a disciplined approach to studying the material and preparing for the national exams. You’ll have direct access to knowledgeable instructors and can ask questions about difficult material. The courses are also an excellent forum for the exchange of ideas and will provide an opportunity to network with your peers. Students may take a CEBS course to expand their professional knowledge in a specific area without working toward the CEBS designation.
CEBS 2014 Course Schedule
All courses meet from 6–9 p.m. at EMU–Livonia.
- CMS 1: Jan. 13, 14, 15, 20 and 21
- GBA 1: Feb. 10, 11, 12, 17 and 18
- CMS 2: March 3, 4, 5, 10 and 11
- RPA 1: April 7, 8, 9, 14 and 15
- GBA 2: May 5, 6, 7, 12 and 13
- RPA 2: June 2, 3, 4, 9 and 10
Registration deadline: Two weeks prior to date of class
$395 per course (study materials not included)
$375 per course if enrolling in more than one (must register for multiple courses at the same time)
How do I get the study materials?
Study materials must be purchased by the participant from the CEBS program prior to the start of class. Go to www.cebs.org to purchase your books. Click CEBS designation, scroll down, click U.S. CEBS fees, click Study Materials if you wish to order online. After you complete that form you will get an order form to indicate which books you want to order online. Click PDF version if you wish to download the form and order materials via fax or mail or to check the prices before you order online. It is recommended that you review the material before the start of class.
Which courses are required for each designation?
For designation requirements, exam information, and full course descriptions, visit www.cebs.org or call 800.932.8689 for a CEBS Catalog.
CEBS Course Descriptions
GBA 1 Group Health Plan Design
The coverage of health care benefits begins with a discussion of the environment of health care and health care plans, followed by health plan designs and cost-control techniques. The course also covers the managed care spectrum and managed care plans, as well as maintaining and improving employee health. Dental plans and specialized benefits—behavioral health, prescription drugs, vision, and hearing care plans—also are covered as is the timely topic of consumer-driven health plans, including health reimbursement accounts and health savings accounts. The course concludes with an overview of fiduciary liability and ethical responsibility.
GBA 2 Group Benefits Management
Following coverage of the various forms of life insurance benefits provided through the employment relationship, GBA 2 examines a wide variety of other welfare benefits including: dependent care and family leave benefits; work/life benefits—such as financial planning, adoption assistance, legal services, and education assistance; and vacation and other time-off benefits. Two assignments deal with the important topic of flexible benefit plans and flexible spending accounts, and the course then covers various functions associated with welfare plans such as administration, communication and taxation. One assignment is devoted to insuring and managing employee disabilities, and another to the timely topic of benefits technology and information management. The course concludes with assignments on health benefits for retirees and long-term care.
RPA 1 Retirement Plan Design
This course focuses on individual retirement needs, employer-sponsored programs, and plan design considerations. The differences in defined contribution (DC) and defined benefit (DB) approaches are detailed. Additionally, an overview of various types of retirement plans, the primary provisions of Social Security, the fundamental characteristics of tax-qualified plans, and the workings of distinct types of DC plans are explained. The course examines prevalent retirement plan offerings in various labor market settings. An in-depth examination of 401(k) plans is provided, with additional coverage of the unique features of 403(b) and 457 plans found in the nonprofit and public sectors. Requirements mandated by the Pension Protection Act of 2006 also are included in the course.
RPA 2 Retirement Plan Management
This course examines approaches to enhancing retiree financial security. The impact of various types of retirement planning structures and the importance of effectively managing retirement assets are discussed. The course focuses on investment principles in accumulating retirement wealth and the essentials of fiduciary oversight and plan governance by plan sponsors. The course explores the appropriate use of individual retirement accounts (IRAs), Keoghs, defined benefit structures and other types of retirement savings plans. Use of these retirement savings programs are examined both during the accumulation phase prior to retirement and during the distribution phase once retirement begins. Requirements mandated by the Pension Protection Act of 2006 also are included in the course.
CMS 1 Human Resources and Compensation Management
Today's competitive global world is extremely dependent on highly skilled and technologically adept workers. Employee benefits continue to be an integral part of the human resource and compensation management functions of an organization. The first part provides an overview of human resource management, including a discussion of internal and external factors affecting supervision. The legal and managerial requirements that human resource and compensation decisions be made in a nondiscriminatory manner are examined, the processes for carrying out effective recruitment and retention are presented, and issues related to creating effective training and development programs and dependable performance assessment systems are emphasized.
CMS 2 Compensation Concepts and Principles
This course provides a framework for understanding various types of compensation approaches. The course begins by presenting a pay model outlining strategic compensation objectives, policies that form the foundation of a compensation system, and alternate techniques that can be used in paying employees. The course distinguishes between job-based and person-based pay structures and the ongoing management functions that maintain internal alignment, enhance organizational competitiveness, and create employee incentives within these various types of pay systems. Methods for decision-making regarding pay level, pay mix and pay structures are explored. Various pay-for-performance plans are explained along with research evidence concerning their effectiveness in motivating employees and achieving business objectives. The course also examines the compensation of special groups, external market forces that impact compensation, the collective bargaining process, and the role of government and legal compliance issues in determining compensation practices.