Press Release Date: April 25, 2017

New CEBS Designation Curriculum Model Announced

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

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 Dalhousie University, 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 group health and retirement.  Enhanced study materials with case study scenarios illustrate content and are accessible online in addition to print.

"There are many new elements within the curriculum that will appeal to both new and current students," said Ann O'Neill, Academic Director, CEBS Program at Dalhousie University.    "I'm particularly excited about the numerous case-based applications. Each case uses conversational-style narrative to describe a different plan sponsor organization, its structure and culture, the business problem it faces with regards to its benefits or retirement plans and the roles and contributions of the various benefits professionals involved. Students navigate the case in a structured way, applying knowledge gained from course theory to a practical challenge. Realistic sample plan documents and forms, and visually impactful graphics appeal to all learning styles. The cases 'feel' real." 

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 15, 2017.

The Canadian CEBS program was established in 1985 through a partnership with the International Foundation and Dalhousie University.  It is regarded as the premier designation in the employee benefits industry.  More than 14,000 thro​ughout Canada and the U.S. 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

​Dalhousie University is a world-renowned academic institution, with over 180 undergraduate, professional and graduate programs. More than 18,000 students, drawn from across the globe, are enrolled. Dalhousie combines the prestige of a big-name university with a hands-on, collaborative education. Our focus on academic innovation means we are committed to the continuous development of our programs and courses, how they are designed, and how we deliver them. Since 1985, Dalhousie has provided academic oversight to the CEBS program.

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