Frequently Asked Questions about CEBS  


Here are the most frequently asked questions about the CEBS Program. If you don't find the answers you're looking for, please call us at 262.786.6710, option 3. 

What are the advantages of earning a specialty designation?
Earning a separate designation through the CEBS program is a great way to focus on a particular area, validate your knowledge and enhance your professional credentials. Also, they are excellent stepping stones to earning the CEBS credential, the industry's only designation in total compensation.

Who should consider earning a specialty designation?
The specialty designations recognize the three primary areas in total compensation-group, retirement and compensation management. For those individuals working in only one of these three areas, the GBA, RPA or CMS designation may meet their professional development goals. However, for those who need a more complete overview of benefits and compensation or who focus more on strategy and planning, CEBS remains the designation of choice.

How long will it take to earn a designation?
There is no time limit for earning the CEBS, GBA, RPA or CMS designations. In the U.S., exams are administered year-round through computer-based testing. In Canada, exams are offered each June and December. Most CEBS candidates are working professionals who take two or three exams a year.

Can I use the CEBS, GBA, RPA and CMS after my name on business cards, stationery, resumés, etc.?
The Certified Employee Benefit Specialist, (CEBS), Group Benefits Associate (GBA), Retirement Plans Associate (RPA), and Compensation Management Specialist (CMS) are credentialed designations. The CEBS program has filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for full and exclusive rights to these designations. Official "Guidelines" have been established and are available online.

Can holders of the GBA, RPA or CMS designations use the CEBS logo?
No. The GBA, RPA and CMS are separate and distinct designations. Only those who earn the CEBS credential are permitted to use the CEBS logo, initials and the words "Certified Employee Benefit Specialist."

After earning the CEBS designation, can I take additional CEBS courses?
Yes. If you want to earn all three specialty track designations with your CEBS, it will require the completion of a minimum of nine CEBS courses.

Does CEBS have a continuing education requirement?
Yes. As of January 2013, graduates of the CEBS program are required to earn 30 continuing professional education (CPE) credits every two years. A variety of educational activities qualify, including many completed to maintain related designations. Click here to learn more about the CPE requirement.

How can I receive CEBS exam credit if I have completed my CFP, CFA or CCP designation or completed American College Courses HS312, HS325, HS326 or HS328?
If you hold the Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) or Certified Compensation Professional (CCP) designation or have completed any of the above four courses through the American College, you may be able to receive a maximum of two exam credits in the CEBS program. (Note: There is a one-course exam credit maximum towards the CMS designation) The application form is available online. Exam credits can be used in both the eight-course and ten-course curricula. A $75 fee per exam credit will be assessed at the time of application.

How can I get started?
Whether you are new to CEBS or have already completed some or all of the requirements for earning one or all of the specialty designations, use the CEBS U.S. Course Catalog or Canada Course Catalog to order study materials, register (if not enrolled) and apply for the exam. The same policies, procedures, fees and study materials for the CEBS program are applicable to the specialty designation programs. Forms can be found online for US or Canada.

How does CEBS enrollment relate to membership in the International Foundation or International Society?
Enrollment in the CEBS Program is separate and distinct from membership in the International Foundation and International Society. CEBS enrollment entails a one-time application and fee, whereas membership in the International Foundation and International Society is renewable annually.

Who can I talk to about the GBA, RPA and CMS designations and how they can meet my professional development goals?
CEBS staff at the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans at the Brookfield, Wisconsin office is available to answer questions on earning the GBA, RPA, CMS and CEBS designations. Feel free to call us-We're here to assist you!