What’s Your CEBS Story? Scott Wertheim, CEBS

What's Your CEBS Story

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 Scott Wertheim, CEBS

Scott Wertheim, CEBS

Principal, Financial Advisor


Could you describe how expanding your professional network has helped you attain success?

I obtained my designation a number of years ago (it feels like too many to count) when I was just starting out in the retirement plan advisory business. I selected the CEBS program because it covered the entire spectrum of benefits and, at the time, I had very little experience. My original goal was to gain some academic experience within retirement plans, but I quickly noticed the depth of topics available across the other remaining courses. While completing the coursework on my own, I started to network with benefit professionals who either had or were pursuing the designation. The initial connections helped keep me motivated to follow through with achieving the designation while also expanding my network of benefit professionals. This came in handy as I moved into a consulting role and started to engage directly with plan sponsors.

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

Obtaining the CEBS designation is only the first step on a long, never-ending journey for self-improvement and advancement of knowledge. Other credentials do not have the same breadth of coursework. I could have easily focused solely on retirement and not engaged in the other areas of the benefits world. However, selecting the CEBS designation shows a desire to constantly learn about all types of benefits, which is a challenging, broad field of study. There is no shortage of learning opportunities. I also believe that learning goes beyond the academic side of the program. Learning for me involves being active with my local chapter, colleagues and friends. This helps further my development and expertise in the field as well as be a positive member of our community.

Could you share a story about how you prepared for your CEBS exam and applied what you learned to your work?

I chose the self-study approach for my CEBS exams. I spent a lot of time prepping for exams during the evenings while trying to learn my job during the day. The two new skills were intertwined because the academic content I studied at night was fresh on my mind during the day. This turned out to be very helpful and allowed me to add value to our firm’s clients while building my own credibility since I was starting out with very little experience. Without being prepared and engaged in the program, I believe my career growth would have been slower and may have taken a different turn.

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

Once I completed my courses and received the designation, I was immediately recognized by my boss, and my accomplishment was announced to the entire firm. This was viewed positively by senior management since it was not a requirement for my job and I was the only one in the firm at the time to have the CEBS designation. By this time, I was directly involved with supporting our retirement plan clients and starting to branch out into business development. It was during my initial sales efforts when I noticed that I was receiving favorable attention from fellow CEBS graduates or individuals working through the program on their own. To this day, the CEBS designation on my business card often results in discussions about the program. The CEBS designation has opened doors to opportunities for working with people who would otherwise not be interested in hearing from “another consultant.” It provides a common ground from which a relationship can be developed. Everyone who has completed the program or is in the process knows the commitment required to achieve the designation, and I have found that leads to a new level of respect.

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 (800) 449-2327, option 3, or email cebs@ifebp.org.