Strategic Benefits Management

Strategic Benefits Management (Bridge Course)

This course is required to earn the following designations: GBA, RPA, CEBS

*Important note: The GBA/RPA 3 Course (Strategic Benefits Management) is being extensively revised and the exam based on the previously offered version of the study guide must be passed by March 15, 2022.

In 2022, a new Study Guide and textbook detailed below will be required reading for purposes of the CEBS program and the national exam.  These materials will be available beginning in February 2022. The updates will be reflected in exams administered on and after April 15, 2022. These updates cover all modules of the course.*

The course provides an overarching framework of today's most pressing and volatile issues that impact both health and welfare plans, as well as retirement and capital accumulation plans. The course begins by describing the contextual environment in which employee benefit plans operate. The overview surveys the fiduciary regulatory structure built on the foundation of ERISA and looks at the "community of expertise" that characterizes the many specialty services that comprise today's multifaceted benefits industry. The course then explores the myriad challenges confronting benefits professionals including compliance issues, cybersecurity and privacy and overseeing plan audits. Managing vendor services within the realms of health care and retirement is also considered. How today's private benefit plans interact with social insurance programs and how they are deployed on a global scale are likewise detailed.

Topics covered in GBA/RPA 3

  • ERISA Regulatory Framework
  • Benefits Industry  
  • Plan Documentation Requirements
  • Cybersecurity and Privacy Concerns
  • Overseeing and Managing Plan Audits
  • Issues in Vendor Management-Retirement
  • Analytics in Vendor Management-Health
  • Impact of Financial Product Innovation on Retirement Plans
  • ERISA in Practice: Key Issues
  • Social Insurance
  • Health Care Coverage in Retirement
  • Global Employee Benefits

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Resources for GBA/RPA 3


Successful completion of comprehensive exam          



GBA/RPA 3 Study Guide, including online access to the guide and practice exam

Reading Update




Strategic Benefits Management
Mahoney and Maniaci, editors, XanEdu, Inc., 2017



Online Study Group With Instructor Support
12-week sessions offered in spring, summer and fall


Success Package - Save 20%

Save 20% when you purchase the Textbook, Study Guide, Online Study Group and Exam.



Study Guide—Delivered in Print and Online!
The CEBS Study Guide is an essential component for mastering the CEBS material you will be tested on in the examination. Your Study Guide purchase includes both a printed study guide and access to an online environment.

  • Learning Modules provide structured coverage and highlight key elements and critical takeaways of the Assigned Reading. The learning modules draw on readings from Textbooks and journal articles written by leading academics and expert practitioners.
  • Applications are designed to make you think about how what you are learning translates to the work world. Two types of applications are provided throughout the CEBS courses—Benefits in Action and Integrated Cases (Capstone Cases).
  • Practice exam, accessible in the online environment, provides immediate results indicating the areas that may need additional study, along with page reference sources and an explanation of correct responses.


A textbook and/or supplementary readings are required for each course, providing the theory and content of the topics covered in the study guide. 

Online Study Group With Instructor Support

Need a little push to stay on track or the security of expert and peer support? Online study groups are for you. Guided study groups provide access to instructors, a structured time frame and peer interaction.

Frequently Asked Questions

Still looking for more information? Check out CEBS FAQ for further details on curriculum updates.