Retirement Analyst Careers: Salary Info & Job Descriptions

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What are the pros and cons of a retirement analyst career? Get real job descriptions, career prospects and salary info to see if becoming a retirement analyst is right for you.
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Becoming a Retirement Analyst: Pros and Cons

Retirement analysts typically work for companies and government agencies to ensure that their employee retirement benefits meet state and federal regulations. Read over the following list of pros and cons to determine if becoming a retirement analyst is right for you.

Pros of a Retirement Analyst Career
Various majors can lead to this career*
Voluntary certifications available*
Employment opportunities found in all regions of the country**
Provide peace of mind to employees that their retirement benefits are well-maintained*

Cons of a Retirement Analyst Career
Slower than average employment growth (6% from 2012-2022)**
Employers often seek candidates with experience***
Need to have a firm grasp of the laws regulating retirement benefits**
May have to help settle disagreements between employees and employers**

Sources: *ISEEK, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, ***Various job boards.

Career Information

Job Description and Duties

As a retirement analyst, you may get hired by companies who provide retirement benefits to their employees. Employee benefits, including retirement plans, must meet federal and state laws. You will advise upper-level executives on how to ensure plans comply with regulations. You also meet with employees to help them understand eligibility requirements and what their retirement benefits include.

Job Outlook and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't collect career information specifically on retirement analysts, but it does collect data for compensation, benefits and job analysis specialists, which can include retirement analysts. According to BLS 2012-2022 projections, a slower than average 6% growth rate was expected for these professionals. As of May 2014, compensation, benefits and job analysis specialists earned average salaries of about $64,380, reported the BLS.

What Are the Requirements?

The BLS stated that a bachelor's degree is required for this position. However, you can earn a degree in various majors to learn the necessary skills for this occupation, including labor relations and human resources. These programs teach you to examine, execute and oversee employee compensation and benefits. Other applicable majors may include finance, accounting and business.

What Employers Are Looking for

To be a successful retirement analyst, you need to have excellent computer skills since you will most likely work with various enterprise resource planning software, document management software and human resources software. You also need keen analytical skills and problem-solving abilities. The following list provides some examples of what employers are looking for in retirement analyst candidates, according to July 2012 job board postings:

  • An insurance company in New Jersey hired for a retirement benefits analyst with experience in finance, investments or benefits administration to join the human resources department and manage the retirement and stock benefits program.
  • A Louisiana state agency looked for retirement benefits analysts with bachelor's degrees to determine employee eligibility for benefits and to advise employees and retirees about their benefits.
  • A steel company in Florida sought a retirement analyst with a bachelor's in human resources, business or a related field, interpersonal skills, knowledge of Microsoft Excel and Access and experience in pensions.

How to Stand Out

There are multiple voluntary certifications you can acquire to help validate your proficiency as a retirement analyst. The Retirement Management Analyst designation is awarded to members of the Retirement Income Industry Association (RIIA) who complete an RIIA-approved education program and pass an exam. As an RIIA member you gain networking opportunities, discounted research reports, RIIA resources and more.

Other designations are offered by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, including the Certified Employee Benefit Specialist, Group Benefits Associate, Retirement Plans Associate and Compensation Management Specialist. Specific courses are necessary to earn each designation as well as a passing exam score. Earning any or all of these designations grant you membership to the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists; as a member of the organization, you can attend an annual symposium, have access to your local chapter, stay updated on industry trends and developments and have access to other resources.

Alternative Career Paths

If you're looking for a career with a more favorable outlook, consider becoming a human resources specialist. These professionals also handle employee benefits as well as payroll, employee relations and recruitment. BLS 2010-2020 projections indicated that a faster-than-average 21% employment growth is expected for these professionals. Similar to a retirement analyst, you may need a bachelor's degree in human resources, business or a related field. Human resources specialists earned average salaries of about $59,000, according to May 2011 BLS data.

Another career to consider is personal financial advisor. In this career, you may advise people on their financial affairs; you may also be able to specialize in a specific area, such as retirement. The minimal education requirement is typically a bachelor's degree in finance, economics, accounting or a related field. A rapid 32% employment growth was expected for personal financial advisors, according to 2010-2020 BLS projections. As of May 2011, these professionals earned $91,000, reported the BLS.

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Georgetown University

  • Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate

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Regent University

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Purdue University Global

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  • BSBA in Financial Analysis
  • Associate: Accounting
  • Executive Leader Graduate Certificate

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Florida Tech

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  • Master's in Business Administration/Accounting & Finance
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Northcentral University

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Walden University

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  • Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) - Accounting
  • Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) - Energy Management

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Liberty University

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  • MBA: Strategic Management

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Colorado Christian University

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