How Do I Become a Compensation Analyst?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A college degree in finance or a related subject is usually necessary to become a compensation analyst. Some employers may prefer candidates with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree, and experience in the industry can also be extremely valuable. Certifications are available for those pursuing careers in this field and may be advantageous for highly competitive positions. They are not typically required by law, however, and may not necessarily be expected by prospective employers.

Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

Compensation analysts help companies determine how much to offer in pay and benefits. They consider a number of factors to keep pay competitive and affordable for their employers. Some work directly for large companies with substantial human resources needs. Others may be consultants for staffing and hiring firms, and can offer their services to a number of companies that want guidance on compensation. In all cases, someone who plans to become a compensation analyst needs to be familiar with industry standards when it comes to compensation packages.

Degrees in business, finance, and human resources can all be helpful to become a compensation analyst. Some people have degrees and a background in subjects like accounting. Entry-level positions in human resources can provide people with experience and skills they can use to apply to more senior positions. These can eventually put a staff member in a position to become a compensation analyst. The combination of degree and experience is usually necessary although some companies may consider people with extensive experience and no degree.

An MBA is not usually required, although it can be, particularly for positions at very large companies. This more advanced degree can make a prospective compensation analyst more competitive. In some cases, it may be possible to start working in human resources or a related field while pursuing a part-time MBA. This can help people develop experience and professional connections at the same time they work on their degrees. Once they graduate, they can apply directly into compensation analyst positions.

Another option to consider is certification. Several nations have certification programs for human resources professionals including some aimed at compensation analysts. Someone who has become a compensation analyst can take an examination or complete a short course to receive a certificate. This can be used on job applications to bolster an applicant’s credibility and experience. When competition for a position is aggressive, candidates with additional credentials, experience, and advanced degrees may have an edge on others.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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