​Press Release​ Date: April 25, 2017​

New CEBS Designation Curriculum Model Announced

Redesigned designation program features health care and retirement curriculum, enhanced study materials, online access.

BROOKFIELD WI--The Certified Employee Benefit Specialist® (CEBS®) program has been redesigned to meet the demands of an evolving benefits industry while elevating the stature of designation holders.  The cosponsors of CEBS, the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, have restructured the curriculum and enhanced the overall learning experience.

"As the Chief Executive Officer of the International Foundation, I can assure you that we have been working hard to redefine what a designation can be," said Michael Wilson.  "In addition to improving the process of obtaining the CEBS designation, we recognize that the curriculum needed to adapt to today's ever-changing environment.  The program needed to become more relevant to the work benefit professionals are doing every day."

What is Different?

CEBS moves to a five-course required curriculum focusing on the core elements of health care and retirement.  Enhanced study materials with case study scenarios illustrate content and are accessible online in addition to print.

"The CEBS designation remains the best way to advance a career in employee benefits,'" said Dr. Peter Cappelli, Academic Director CEBS Program, Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.  "And the new, streamlined curriculum makes it more convenient than ever to earn."

The Group Benefits Associate (GBA) and Retirement Plans Associate (RPA) designations will continue to be recognized and obtainable in the new model. Compensation and HR theory courses will sunset in December 2017.  The Compensation Management Specialist (CMS) designation will continue to be recognized but will not be available in the new model.

Students enrolled in the current model will have the option to continue in that program to earn their designation or transfer into the new model.  Enrollment for the new program is now open. Students electing to complete a designation in the current program must do so by December 29, 2017.

The CEBS program was established in 1976 through a partnership with the International Foundation and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.  It is regarded as the premier designation in the employee benefits industry.  More than 14,000 have completed the CEBS designation or one of the specialty credentials.


The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans is the premier educational organization dedicated to providing the diverse employee benefits community with objective, solution-oriented education, research and information to ensure the health and financial security of plan beneficiaries worldwide. The Foundation has more than 33,000 multiemployer, corporate and public sector members representing over 25 million lives. For additional information, visit www.ifebp.org

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is recognized globally for intellectual leadership and ongoing innovation across every major discipline of business education. The most comprehensive source of business knowledge in the world, Wharton bridges research and practice through its broad engagement with the global business community. Since the inception of CEBS, the Wharton School has been responsible for all academic standards, including curriculum and examinations. Visit Wharton's Web site at www.wharton.upenn.edu. ​​