CEBS Compliance Guidelines

Download the full CEBS Compliance Guide.

Welcome to CEBS Compliance!

The employee benefits profession is continuously evolving. Certified Employee Benefit Specialist® (CEBS) graduates are leaders in the industry and at the forefront of the profession’s new and emerging trends as well as legal and regulatory requirements. CEBS Compliance status is a formal recognition of the ongoing, career-long professional development that CEBS graduates maintain to best serve their plan participants, employers and other stakeholders. CEBS Compliance means you are a leader in the profession.

Maintaining CEBS Compliance helps you keep your professional skills sharp. It upholds the reputation of the CEBS designation and the community of benefits professionals who have earned it.

Compliance standards, policies, recognition and reporting is administered by the CEBS program. This section explains key policies and procedures of CEBS Compliance.

All CEBS graduates, of any year, are eligible and encouraged to participate.

If you're ready to report credits, go to, log in with your International Foundation username and password and follow the prompts to view and report your credits. If you're new to CEBS Compliance, download the CEBS Compliance Guide above, or read on for more information on eligible activities and how compliance works.

Compliance Content Domain and Body of Knowledge

Compliance Questions and Answers

Compliant Listing / Publicize Your CEBS Compliance

Eligible Activities

Compliance Audit

CEBS Compliance Overview  

 To support the basic objectives of high levels of competence, performance and ethical conduct, all those who seek or obtain the CEBS designation are expected to comply with the letter and spirit of the CEBS Principles of Conduct, one of which states:

“A CEBS shall continually strive to maintain and improve the knowledge, skills and competence needed for effective performance in the profession. This not only includes the initial acquisition of professional knowledge and skills but also requires continued learning and development.”
Because CEBS graduates represent diverse professional capacities, roles and specialties, CEBS Compliance is designed for maximum flexibility in choosing appropriate professional education activities.

Who Participates?
All CEBS graduates, of any year, are eligible to participate and be recognized for CEBS Compliance. It is a formal acknowledgement of the commitment to maintain a high level of professional expertise.

Continuous, career-long learning is considered a core value of the CEBS designation. While all CEBS graduates are expected to continue their professional development, there is no revocation policy for not participating in CEBS Compliance. CEBS graduates who choose to participate are publicly recognized for their commitment to the profession and their career and are entitled to use the status of CEBS-Compliant.

The Role of ISCEBS  in CEBS Compliance
As an affiliated organization of the International Foundation, the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists (ISCEBS) endorses CEBS Compliance. ISCEBS was founded on the principle of providing professional development avenues for CEBS graduates. The Society supports its education activities—including the Employee Benefits Symposium, the annual ISCEBS Fellowship course and exam, and local chapter programs—for CEBS Compliance credit.                       
Showcase Your Accomplishments 

Recognition of Compliance
CEBS Compliance plays a vital role in the CEBS designee’s pursuit of ongoing professional knowledge. Recognizing the importance of staying proficient and up to date in an ever-changing industry, CEBS is committed to public recognition of those who are CEBS-Compliant.

Compliant graduates are recognized on, a publicly available and searchable listing of all graduates whose compliance status is current. Compliant graduates are listed by country and alphabetically by state or province/territory. This listing is available for employers, clients, government regulators and other parties who are interested in or rely upon the professional currency that CEBS Compliance signifies.

Once you attest to meeting the 30 hours of compliance credits, you are welcome and encouraged to highlight your compliant status on your professional platforms. Other recognition may take place in conjunction with the annual ISCEBS Symposium or at local ISCEBS chapter events.

Showcase Your Accomplishments With a Digital Badge!
You worked hard to earn your designation and remain compliant—Show it off! A digital badge helps CEBS Compliant individuals publicize their achievements. Badges are shareable on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook and in email signatures and can be embedded in websites. Complete details on claiming your digital badge can be found at

How CEBS Compliance Works
CEBS Compliance is defined as earning 30 hours of credit over two consecutive calendar years. When you earn 30 credits over two consecutive calendar years, you have attained CEBS-Compliant status and are recognized at Credits can be earned at any time and in any amount during the two years. If you are not currently compliant, you can start at any time; there is no need to wait for a new calendar year to begin. If you do not earn 30 credits during a two-year time period, you will not be entitled to use the CEBS-Compliant status. Compliance is open to all CEBS graduates of any year. Refer to the tables below to determine how to begin or maintain your status.    
Graduates from 2017 and Forward

Graduates are considered compliant as of the day of completion through the date indicated on the table below. For example, if you complete the CEBS designation on June 15, 2019, you are considered compliant through December 31, 2021. Eligible activities completed on or after January 1, 2020 are counted toward maintaining your compliance status.

Year in which you earn the CEBS designation ​You are considered CEBS-Compliant through ​Start earning compliance credit to maintain your status on or after
​2017 or 2018 December 31, 2020​ ​January 1, 2019
​2019 ​December 31, 2021 ​January 1, 2020
​2020 ​December 31, 2022 ​January 1, 2021
​2021 ​December 31, 2023 ​January 1, 2022

Graduates from 2016 or Earlier

CEBS Compliance credits are accumulated on a two-year consecutive calendar-year basis. For example, if you reach 30 credits any time during 2019, you are considered compliant through the end of 2021. The table below illustrates how long your compliance status is in effect based on the year during which you reach the 30-credit threshold.

Year in which you reach 30 reported credits ​You are considered CEBS-Compliant through
​2019 December 31, 2021​
​2020 December 31, 2022​​
​2021 ​December 31, 2023

Guidelines for Calculating Compliance Credits  

When calculating Compliance credits, the following guidelines are in effect:

  • The activity's content must related to one or more of the CEBS content domains.
  • One Compliance credit hour is equal to 50 minutes of qualifying activity. Compliance credit is calculated as total minutes ÷ 50, rounded down to the nearest half credit.

    Example: Six hours (360 minutes) of content equals 7 credits.
    360 ÷ 50 =  7.2 Round down to the nearest half for a total of 7 credits.
  • Only activities comprised of educational content are eligible. Time spent on meals, refreshment breaks and other noneducational activities does not qualify.
  • If an activity begins in one calendar year and ends during the following calendar year (a formal course is the most common example of this), the compliance credits should be claimed for the year in which the activity is completed.

Note: Although a sponsor or provider of an activity may advertise a certain number of continuing education credits, you are responsible for using the guidelines described here to determine the activity’s applicable content and calculate compliance credit.     

Credits applied toward compliant status in one reporting period cannot be used toward compliance in a subsequent reporting period.    

Content of Compliance Activities
You are encouraged to choose education activities that are relevant to your professional role and interests, especially if you are also pursuing continuing education requirements for another professional designation or license.

The topics below reflect the existing content domains covered in the CEBS curriculum and provide the educational framework for qualifying activities for compliance credit. The topics cover both the breadth of the subject matter as well as applications and industry practices reflected in the CEBS curriculum.

  • Group Benefits Management
  • Retirement Plans Management               
  • Wealth Management/Personal Financial Planning                               
  • Governance/Integration/Coordination of Private, Group and Public Plans       
  • Plan Design                               
  • Plan Funding and Finance       
  • Plan Administration/Claims                               
  • Plan Communication       
  • Compliance Practices                               
  • Resource and Cost-Containment Practices       
  • Technology, Service and Support Practices                               
  • Regulatory, Legislative and Marketplace Developments       
  • Ethics and Professional/Fiduciary Responsibility                            

In addition to the topics listed above, these content areas (which were in the CEBS curriculum prior to 2017) are also considered for education activities.      

  • Compensation Management
  • Human Resources Management

Education Activities for Compliance                        
A variety of education activities can qualify for compliance credit, and are explained in further detail below. The list is not exhaustive, and other activities may qualify. Given the nearly limitless spectrum of education courses and programs available, each CEBS graduate is responsible for determining whether any education activity chosen relates to one or more CEBS content areas. Consult this section for details and requirements for each activity and how to calculate your credits.

Supporting documentation is not required at the time of reporting completed credits. CEBS graduates should retain supporting documentation for at least three years after the activity is completed since it will be requested if you are selected for audit. It may be helpful to scan all of your supporting documents into one file to have ready if you are selected for audit. Examples of such records include: 

  • Certificate of attendance
  • Personalized attendance letter from the sponsoring provider
  • Educational transcripts/grade results
  • Teaching or writing contracts
  • Registration receipt
  • Confirmation letter/e-mail.

ISCEBS Fellowship Course/Exam
The ISCEBS Fellowship Course/Exam is comprised of two tracks: health and retirement. Successfully completing one track by passing its exam qualifies for 15 credits, while the combined course and exam (both tracks) qualifies for 30 credits. These credits are automatically reported to your CEBS profile.      

In addition to earning compliance credit, ISCEBS members can be awarded Fellowship status. The ISCEBS Fellowship program is separate and distinct from CEBS Compliance and is earned by completing one or both tracks of the ISCEBS Fellowship Exam (one track equals one year of Fellowship).   

Related educational session attendance at a conference is eligible for compliance credit. One 50-minute hour of education equals one compliance credit. Meals, breaks and other noneducational events (receptions, exhibitor/vendor events, etc.) do not qualify. Examples of conferences include:

Programs and Courses
Successful completion of related educational programs and courses is eligible for compliance credit. Activities must be designed and conducted by persons qualified in the subject and must relate to the CEBS content domain areas.

Many CEBS graduates are involved in continuing education requirements for other professional designations or licenses, and these activities are likely to qualify for CEBS compliance credit. Examples of such programs and courses may include those sponsored by:

  • Colleges and universities
  • Professional organizations (national or local level)
  • Organizations that offer professional designations or licenses relating to the CEBS content areas
  • State or provincial/territorial licensing boards.

Below are some examples of common programs and courses that can qualify for compliance credit.

CEBS Courses
Completing a CEBS course in either the United States or Canadian curriculum beyond the courses originally completed to earn the designation is eligible for 30 hours of credit per course. These credits are automatically reported to your Compliance profile.  

Undergraduate or Graduate Course Work
Completion of a relevant full-semester undergraduate or graduate course from an accredited college or university is eligible for up to 30 hours. Generally, the compliance credit hours per course can be determined by applying the academic institution’s published credit hour (or credit unit) allocation to the number of weeks in the semester. For example, a three-credit-hour course offered over a 12-week semester equals 36 credit hours. Courses may exceed 30 hours per course, but only 30 hours of credit are allowable. Courses must relate to the CEBS content domain areas.

Licenses or Professional Designations
Courses taken to earn or maintain a professional designation or license that relates to the CEBS content domain areas are eligible for one credit per one 50-minute hour of education, up to 30 hours of credit per course. Courses must relate to the CEBS content areas.

Local, Short or Online Programs
Other courses and programs, such as seated, in-person programs sponsored by local chapters of national organizations, e-learning courses and Webinars are eligible for one credit per 50-minute hour of education. Courses must relate to the CEBS content areas.

Teaching or presenting to health, retirement or other employee benefits professionals or students in an online, classroom or conference setting are eligible for compliance credits. All topics must relate to the CEBS content areas.

When reporting teaching/presenting credits, two credits per hour of actual teaching/presenting time can be claimed for the first time the class or seminar is conducted. For second and subsequent offerings of the same course or session, one credit per hour of actual teaching/presenting time can be claimed.

Credit awarded for teaching shall not exceed 15 hours within a reporting period even if multiple courses are taught/presented. Presentations designed for an audience unrelated to health, retirement employee benefits or compensation professionals (such as those for marketing purposes, media interviews, etc.) do not qualify.

Compliance credits are awarded for authorship, provided the content of a written work directly relates to the CEBS content areas  and the work is written for a health, retirement or other employee benefits audience. In order for a written work to qualify for credit, the work must treat the topic at a level commensurate with the professional knowledge and expertise of those possessing the CEBS designation. Compliance credit for authorship will be awarded for the time required to research and write the work. Authorship credit awarded shall not exceed 15 hours within a reporting period.

Examples of appropriate forums for written works would include published books, book chapters, peer-reviewed scholarly journals, publications targeting a professional audience and other comparable published works.

Short news articles, company newsletter articles for clients and informational question-and-answer (Q&A) pieces are not acceptable for authorship credit.

What types of activities do not qualify for credit?

Activities that do not qualify for credit include unstructured activities, such as reading books or articles on professional topics, or activities for which no proof of completion is available; personal development courses such as public speaking; and any program less than 50 minutes long. 

Certain Foundation and ISCEBS Activities Are Reported Automatically

Automatically reported activities include the ISCEBS Fellowship Exam, additional CEBS courses and International Foundation e-learning courses. Other eligible activities are self-reported.

How to Report Education Activities
To self-report your eligible activities, follow these steps:

  • Log in at using your Society or International Foundation ID number and password.
  • As a CEBS graduate, your username defaults to your Society or International Foundation ID number, and your password is the first ten characters of your last name (unless you changed it). If you have misplaced one or both, follow the prompts on the login page to retrieve your username or reset your password, or you can contact CEBS Customer Service for assistance.
  • Click “Manage Your CEBS Compliance Credits” button to the right of your name.
  • Follow the prompts to view, add, edit or remove activities.      

Auditing of Compliance Activities                         

An audit is conducted to maintain the integrity of the self-reporting system. It also serves as a review of the kinds of activities CEBS graduates pursue for professional development, which helps the CEBS program and the International Foundation continue to grow and evolve to meet benefits professionals’ educational needs.

CEBS will randomly audit a percentage of designees who have reported compliance. If you are selected for audit, you should be prepared to submit supporting documentation of your education activities. No fee will be assessed for an audit.

Ethical Responsibility                         
CEBS Compliance is intended to recognize and enhance the stature of the CEBS credential and those who hold it. It is each graduate’s obligation to choose education activities that will further professional development and to avoid falsification, circumvention or evasion of the spirit or procedures of CEBS Compliance.   

Questions?  CEBS is Here to Help!

If your question is not answered here, contact CEBS Customer Service for additional assistance. Thank you for your ongoing support of CEBS!