The title that retirement planners shouldn’t have

As with most other occupations, individuals in the employee benefits field often seek to obtain various titles to demonstrate their knowledge of retirement plans. However, as with other occupations, not all employee benefit names are equal.

Professionals must ensure that the name they choose meets their goals. In this article, we use the term “employee benefits” to refer to retirement plans, such as 403(b) arrangements, 457 plans, individual retirement accounts (IRA), and other eligible plans.

Key points

  • Like experts in many fields, employee welfare experts can advance their careers or expand their customer base by seeking and accepting various appointments.
  • If employee welfare experts are newbies in the field, want to be promoted or change jobs, want to gain expertise in a particular field, or improve their market competitiveness, they may seek appointment.
  • When choosing a name, you should consider the reputation of the educational institution, whether the name meets the basic requirements, including continuing education (CE) requirements, and all costs.

Why get the title?

There are many employee welfare professionals who are experts in their fields and can educate themselves in these fields without taking courses. In fact, some of them are knowledgeable enough to teach specialized courses.

However, depending on your goals and objectives, obtaining a title may still be necessary. For newcomers in the field, the title can be important, because the path to the title usually provides most of the technical knowledge needed to become an expert in their field.

Below are some examples of cases where professional names can help.

Want to change job

A person who has worked with an employer for a long time may gain enough knowledge to be regarded as an employee welfare expert. However, although the individual’s current employers and colleagues may know the person’s expertise well, it may not be so obvious to potential employers, and they may need to verify their expertise beyond what is stated in the resume.

Although recommendations from former supervisors and employers can be helpful, professional names are usually a more acceptable way of assessing personal knowledge.

For example, compared to IRA service professionals (CISP), employers seeking someone to perform third-party management services may be more inclined to hire candidates with the title of Qualified Pension Administrator (QPA). This is because the American pension professionals and the Association of Actuaries (ASPPA) that issued the QPA need more in-depth courses on third-party management practices.

On the other hand, companies that support general IRA topics may find that the CISP name issued by the American Bankers Association (ABA) is more suitable for their business needs.

Seeking promotion

When seeking professional development, obtaining professional titles may help differentiate individuals from the competition, especially when other qualified individuals have similar education and experience. Professional titles not only indicate a commitment to improving oneself professionally, but also help confirm that the individual is an expert in his field and can handle key related issues.

Continuing Education (CE)

Completing the courses required to obtain a professional title is one of the best ways to understand the rules and regulations governing employee benefit plans. Most courses cover the basic rules and regulations of a specific field and guide students through complex materials that often lead to an above-average understanding of the topic.

Choose a designated provider

It is becoming more and more common for organizations that provide retirement education and information to provide their own names. Although many of them involve completing relevant course materials and exams, their impact on employers and customers may not be as great as those provided by well-known educational organizations.

The following table quotes some names provided by reputable and reputable organizations. You can view detailed information including fees and continuing education (CE) requirements by clicking the hyperlink.

Some of these organizations do more than just provide education, which helps to improve their reputation. For example, ASPPA is often involved in legislative and regulatory developments affecting employee welfare.

Choose a name

In addition to choosing a reputable educational institution, professionals should also ensure that the name meets certain basic requirements.


If the professional’s goal is to obtain a designation to provide and/or demonstrate expertise in the IRA, then CISP may be the most appropriate.For more advanced courses whose materials provide education on investment and retirement planning strategies, CRC may be a better choice.

For courses that focus on qualified program management practices, relevant courses include CPC, QPA, and APA. CEBS includes content related to retirement planning and health and human resources.Before deciding on a designation, prospective students should review the course outline and description to ensure that it covers the required area.

Continuing education requirements

Names with continuing education (CE) requirements are usually more valuable than names without CE requirements. Failure to meet the CE requirements usually results in the loss of professional titles.

Therefore, if the designation requires CE, the relevant parties will know that the designated person not only successfully completed the courses and exams, but also the relevant professional knowledge is kept up-to-date by meeting the CE requirements.


The cost of completing the course, taking the exam, and maintaining the CE requirements varies by name. For those courses that have CE requirements, an annual fee is usually required, plus the fees incurred by the CE course itself.

Some employers will pay for all related expenses, but usually require an individual designated person to bear the expenses. Although if money is an issue, having multiple appointments on your resume may look good, but choosing one or two to meet the objectives of the appointment may be feasible.

Extra benefits

Organizations that provide professional names in the area of ​​employee benefits usually also provide other names for their designated personnel. These may include free newsletters, free magazines, discounts on conference fees, and membership of other professional organizations with which they are related. Future designated personnel should evaluate the benefits provided by each organization to determine their value and relative importance.

special attention items

Some organizations provide affiliation for individuals who have not yet completed obtaining professional titles but are interested in the field and meet certain predefined requirements. For example, ASPPA provides relevant professional membership (APM) membership for pension professionals with degrees in law, accounting, actuarial science, financial science, insurance or related disciplines, provided that they have at least three years in pension-related work experience of.

Bottom line

In some ways, the professional name is like a college degree. Owning one does not necessarily mean that the designated person has current working knowledge in the designated field. This simply means that the individual is able to study and pass exams, and may have taken required courses or covered course materials. However, the professional name can play a role in getting a job offer or winning business from potential clients.

For potential employers and clients who are not familiar with the experience of the designated person and cannot assess their professional level, the professional name, especially the professional name with CE requirements, can provide the additional details needed to make the designated person’s case.


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