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CEBS Designations

The CEBS designation is an eight-course program covering the entire spectrum of total compensation. Three specialty designations -- CMS, GBA, and RPA -- can be earned by completing specific courses in the CEBS curriculum, and are excellent stepping stones toward earning the CEBS designation. In the United States, CEBS is a joint program of the International Foundation and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. In Canada, CEBS is co-sponsored with Dalhousie University.

The CEBS program offers four separate certifications for people working in the employee benefits and compensation field.  The three specialty designations GBA, RPA and CMS may be earned as stand-alone designations or as part of the CEBS designation.

CEBS – Certified Employee Benefits Specialists
GBA – Group Benefits Associate
RPA – Retirement Plans Associate
CMS – Compensation Management Specialists

Curriculum requirements for each designation:

CEBS – Six required courses and two elective courses (8 total)
GBA – Two required courses and one elective course (3 total)
RPA – Two required courses and one elective course (3 total)
CMS – Two required courses and one elective course (3 total)

All courses are designed as self-study courses and testing is done online to accommodate the student’s schedule.

Below is a list of the course curriculum for 2010:

GBA 1   Group Health Plan Design (CEBS Course 1)
GBA 2   Group Benefits Management (CEBS Course 2)
GBA 3   Health Care Financing and Economics (CEBS Course 9)
RPA 1   Retirement Plan Design (CEBS Course 3)
RPA 2   Retirement Plan Management (CEBS course 4)
RPA 3   Asset Management (CEBS Course 7)
CMS 1  Human Resources and Compensation Management (CEBS Course 8)
CMS 2  Compensation Concepts and Principles (CEBS Comp 1)
CMS 3  Executive Compensation (CEBS Comp 2)

For more information about the CEBS designation, course content, registration and costs visit the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans website at

ISCEBS Fellows logoFellowship status is awarded to CEBS graduate members who pass the continuing education examination offered annually during a predetermined testing window.  This special distinction recognizes members who are committed to continuing their professional development by broadening their knowledge in employee benefits, compensation, and other key related areas.  Fellowship is an excellent way to be recognized within your company, the Society, and the benefits community as a whole. 
In addition to the annual continuing education courses/examinations for the U.S. and Canada, you have other ways to qualify for fellowship status. CEBS graduate members will be awarded two-year fellowship status for each CEBS course completed, provided it was not used toward earning the CEBS designation.

Additional Information regarding completing the continuing education examination in order to qualify as a Fellow can be found by navigating to