Student FAQ

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

Who awards the GBA, RPA and CMS designations?
The GBA, RPA and CMS designations are awarded by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans and Dalhousie University . You may begin using the GBA, RPA or CMS designation when you complete the required CEBS courses.  

Can I use the GBA, RPA and CMS after my name on business cards, stationery, resumés, etc.?
Like the CEBS designation, the Group Benefits Associate (GBA), Retirement Plans Associate (RPA), and Compensation Management Specialist (CMS) are credentialed designations. The CEBS program has filed with the Canadian Trademark Registration 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."

I have completed several CEBS courses and am not sure which course to take next.
Use the designation options to chart a path towards earning the CEBS designation. Consider which specialty designations you may want to pursue while working towards your CEBS designation. Note: If you want to earn the GBA, RPA, CMS and the CEBS, you will need to complete a minimum of nine CEBS courses. If you are not interested in a specialty designation, take the six core courses and whichever electives fit your career objectives.

Will I be notified when I complete a specialty designation and the CEBS designation?
Yes, approximately 45 days after examinations are written, those meeting the academic requirements will automatically be awarded the GBA, RPA or CMS designation. For the CEBS designation, there are administrative and procedural items that must be completed before the CEBS designation is awarded. A graduation package with pertinent details is sent to CEBS completers. 

After earning the CEBS designation can I take additional CEBS courses to earn my GBA, RPA or CMS designation?
Yes. If you are interested in earning all three specialty track designations with your CEBS, it will require the completion of a minimum of nine CEBS courses.

If I am pursuing the CMS designation, and have previously completed CEBS Course 5-Foundations of Compensation, Course 6-Theory and Application of Employee Benefit Accounting and CMS 3-Strategic Human Resource Management and Total Compensation (CEBS Course 8), will I be awarded the CMS designation?

No. To earn the CMS designation, you must complete the three required compensation courses. Credit will be given for CMS 3-Strategic Human Resources Management and Total Compensation (CEBS Course 8) (regardless of when it was completed). Also, those who have completed Course 5-Foundations of Compensation as of January 1996 will receive credit for this course. Everyone must complete CMS 2-Executive Compensation and Compensation Issues (CEBS Course 6) before being awarded the CMS designation. (Note: Students who completed Course 5-Contemporary Legal Environment of Employee Benefits between 1986 and 1995 will need to complete CMS 1-Compensation Principles and Concepts in order to meet this course requirement for the CMS designation. (See next Q/A addressing this policy.)

What if I completed CEBS Course 5-Contemporary Legal Environment of Employee Benefits?
If you completed Course 5-Contemporary Legal Environment of Employee Benefits, this course cannot be used under the eight-course model for earning the CEBS designation or towards earning the CMS designation as of December 31, 2005.

Can I use Course 6-Theory and Application of Employee Benefit Accounting towards earning my CEBS designation?
This course was phased out of the curriculum at the end of 2003. As of December 31, 2005, credit for this course cannot be used towards earning the CEBS designation.

How can I receive CEBS exam credit if I have completed my CFP, CFA or CCP designation?
If you hold the Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) or Certified Compensation Professional (CCP) designation, you may be able to receive a maximum of two exam credits in the CEBS program, with a one-exam credit maximum towards the GBA, RPA or CMS designations.  A $75 fee per exam credit will be assessed at the time of application. Form is available online.

It's been a while since I've taken any CEBS courses. Who can I contact if I need to confirm the courses I have completed?
Please contact the CEBS Department at (844) 809-2698 or cancebs@ifebp.org for information regarding your completed coursework.

How can I get started?
Whether you are new to CEBS or have already completed some or all of the requirements for a specialty designation, use the CEBS Academic Calendar 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.

Who do I contact if I still have questions after reading this information?
Contact the CEBS Customer Service Department at (844) 809-2698 or cancebs@ifebp.org if you need any additional assistance.

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