by Cindy Heine, CEBS
Cindy Heine, CEBS and her father, William Heine, CEBS at the Conferment Ceremony during the Symposium in Phoenix.
Honestly, the first thing that comes to mind when I hear the letters CEBS are those huge binders; endless practice exams with those challenging question formats; and the panic that inevitably comes in those late nights before the exam. This anxiety is only surpassed by the sheer panic I felt after hitting the submit button and praying feverishly to the exam gods to be kind. I am fairly certain that on one or more exams I only passed because I filled out the survey at the end! (RPA2 comes to mind.)
When I think beyond these initial flashbacks, however, my thoughts are a bit different.
This CEBS learning odyssey was long, in-depth and academically rigorous. Studying for the various components allowed me the opportunity to dive deeply into subjects that I deal with day in and day out and subjects that I rarely touch. This process has allowed me to learn new things, test my knowledge on items I think I know well and, perhaps most importantly, to see how all of the various employee benefits fit together. It has given me a sense of history and context to the development of employee benefits that I did not have before. It has also provided me with insights into the various ways that employee benefits packages can be combined for the advantage of both the employer and the employee.
The process has also helped me to understand the impact that benefits have on our country’s economy and how our country’s view of the role of the employer continues to evolve. In short, I have additional critical thinking skills when it comes to evaluating and creating employee benefit plans. I now see a bigger picture that I believe allows me to provide better service to my firm and our clients.
Yes, the CEBS certification process is long. It is hard. It is definitely worthwhile. I would rather be challenged, have my knowledge tested and know that I meet the gold standard in the employee benefits field than simply stating my experience. With the CEBS certification, I have proven my abilities. My clients deserve nothing less. As professionals, we have a fiduciary responsibility to our clients to serve them to the best of our ability. The CEBS process has certainly allowed me to fulfill this responsibility more completely.
After all, anybody can do easy.
Cindy Heine, CEBS
Associated Benefits Consulting
Baton Rouge, Louisiana