The Average Salary of a Retirement Benefits Specialist

by Rick Suttle

Corporate employees and self-employed workers rely on retirement-benefits specialists to provide the best available pension, 401k and individual retirement account plans. Retirement-benefits specialists research various retirement investments, calculate returns, and discuss the benefit plans with employees and individuals. They also explain eligibility requirements for retirement plans and when the payments will commence. If you want to be a retirement-benefits specialist, you need at least a bachelor's degree and several years of experience in the industry. In return, you can expect to earn an average salary of over $60,000 annually.

Salary and Qualifications

Retirement-benefits specialists earned average annual salaries of $65,000 as of 2013, according to the job website Indeed. To become a retirement-benefits specialist, you need a bachelor's degree in business, human resources, accounting, finance or insurance, and at least two or three years experience working in human resources or for a retirement-benefits company. Some employers may also require you to have certification from professional associations that specialize in human resources, such as Society for Human Resource Management or National Human Resources Association. Other essential qualifications are an attention to detail and organizational, communication, decision-making and computer skills.

Salary by Region

Average salaries for retirement-benefits specialists varied significantly within the four U.S. regions in 2013. In the South, they earned the lowest salaries, $55,000, in Louisiana, and highest, $76,000, in Mississippi, according to Simply Hired. Those in the West made between $46,000 and $72,000 per year, respectively, in Hawaii and California. In the Northeast, you would make $58,000 in Pennsylvania or $77,000 in New York, which were the lowest and highest salaries in the region. In the Midwest, you would earn $51,000 to $69,000, respectively, in South Dakota or Illinois.

Contributing Factors

You would likely earn more as a retirement-benefits specialist as you gain experience. For example, you may qualify for a higher-paying job once you have five years of experience. Company size may also be a factor, as larger companies often pay more because they can better support the higher salaries. Retirement benefits specialists also earn more in specific industries. In 2012, human-resources specialists -- who have similar responsibilities -- earned average salaries of $80,410 and $79,330, respectively, working for the federal government and software publishing companies, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average salary for human-resources specialists was $60,660 per year.

Job Outlook

The BLS doesn't report job-trend data for retirement-benefits specialists. It does forecast job opportunities for human-resources specialists, which are expected to increase 21 percent in the next decade, a higher than average growth rate. Job opportunities should increase as more people become aware of the importance of saving for retirement.

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