What’s Your CEBS Story? Christine Huynh, CEBS

Earning your Certified Employee Benefit Specialist® (CEBS®) designation is a learning journey. Along the way, you acquire valuable employee benefits knowledge and relevant new skills. As you apply what you’ve learned to your work, you can forge a unique career pathway that is truly your own. Here’s a designee’s CEBS story.

A Chat With Christine Huynh, CEBS

Christine Huynh, CEBS

Total Rewards Specialist


Toronto, ON

Could you describe how earning your CEBS designation has supported you in your professional growth?

“I started as an actuarial science student but quickly realized that path was not for me. However, I enjoyed being in the total rewards space, so I turned to CEBS to further my education. Having just finished university and exited the world of actuarial exams, studying and preparing for CEBS was a seamless transition for me. The study guides are easy to follow, and the ample practice content sets you up for success so even if you haven’t picked up a textbook in years, you’ll be able to jump right into it like it’s your first day of school.

I became aware of the CEBS program through my employer at the time. There was a study program available for those who were interested in pursuing the CEBS designation with generous time off to study and bonuses for each exam passed. I had lived and breathed pension throughout university, so I decided to start with the GBA designation. The study materials were engaging and helped me understand the importance of group insurance in Canada. So, with that, I decided I wanted to work in group benefits.

I was prepared for a long journey of selling myself in interviews since I had zero experience in group benefits, but to my surprise, beginning the GBA designation was enough to land me two job offers within a month! I ended up at a new company in health and benefits consulting that also recognized the importance of the CEBS designation and provided study time and bonuses for each exam completed.

Halfway through my studies, the pandemic hit. When most of the world hit pause, we were encouraged and supported by the International Foundation to finish our exams. Within two sittings, I was fully certified and felt an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. I finished my CEBS journey with the GBA/RPA 3 exam. In that course, compensation plans and strategies were explored and once again, I was captivated and motivated to explore a new career path. Being here before, I knew that even though I didn’t have any compensation experience, the CEBS designation would provide employers with the confidence that I had the knowledge needed to be an asset to their team.”

Could you share a story about how you applied what you learned to your work?

“Starting any new job is challenging, but starting one with absolutely no experience can add anxiety and stress on top of that. Luckily, the GBA designation prepared me for what to expect in the real workplace. The study materials are up to date, and the Benefits in Action case studies are based on possible scenarios that you could face. Even though I didn’t have the actual work experience, I’m thankful employers recognize that benefits professionals with the CEBS designation are fully equipped to contribute and add value to their enterprise from day one.”

Could you share some insight about how pursuing your CEBS demonstrates that you are a lifelong learner and an expert in your profession?

“With the CEBS designation, I’ve been able to move from pensions to group benefits to compensation with little experience during each transition and just CEBS on my resume. I’ve also been lucky enough to apply what I’ve learned to work for a global consulting firm, one of the major banks in Canada and my present employer, a fast-growing tech company. The CEBS designation provides you with not only the foundational groundwork to understand retirement, benefits and compensation programs but also the ability to apply what you’ve learned and the resources to solve real and current problems. The CEBS designation has opened the doors to so many opportunities for me and I’m excited to see where it continues to take me.”

Visit CEBS online for information about purchasing course materials, signing up for an Online Study Group, virtual exams and more details on the program. Do you need further guidance on your CEBS journey? Whether you’re about to take your first step or getting close to earning your designation, we’re here to help!  Give us a call at (833) 886-3749 or email cancebs@ifebp.org.