The decision to become a compliance officer can be the first step towards a rewarding and challenging career. Compliance officers have the task of ensuring businesses stay within the law and are in compliance with all regulations and laws. Compliance officers can find work in many industries, including banking and finance, consumer manufacturing and healthcare to name just a few. Individuals interested in learning how to become a compliance officer should find everything they need to know right here.
How to Become a Compliance Officer
While an individual who works for a company may be hired as a compliance officer, they usually are required to have a bachelor’s degree. Some companies may even require a master’s degree. Working as a compliance officer requires research and knowledge of current laws and regulations in the industry and the state. Finding and completing an internship can be very beneficial to a compliance officer. Many colleges may offer assistance in finding internships. In most industries, an individual must have a few years of work experience before he or she can be hired as a compliance officer.
Depending on where the compliance officer works and in what industry, additional training may be required. Certification may not be required by law, but many employers prefer to have their compliance officers certified. The individual may earn the Certified Professional Compliance Officer credential or the Certified Regulatory Compliance Manager credential.
What is a Compliance Officer?
A compliance officer is a trained individual who ensures companies and business are compliant with regulatory requirements and internal policies. Compliance officers continue to be in demand due to the increasing crime rate and additional crimes committed internally.
While compliance officers are vital in any organization, compliance officers are more in demand in some industries than in others. For instance, they’re very much in demand in the financial industry due to the increased anti-money laundering laws. They’re also very busy in the businesses like oil and gas extraction, telecommunications, federal government and healthcare. Compliance officers continue to be needed with the growing number of licenses, permits, regulations and laws.
Compliance officers determine what risks a company faces, develop and implement measures to minimize the risk and report how effective the measures were in minimizing risks. A compliance officer may work for the company he or she is reviewing or may be an external worker hired by a third party. Compliance officers are required to have education and training.
Career Outlook for Compliance Officers
U.S. News & World Report ranks compliance officers number 11 among best business jobs and number 50 among 100 best jobs. Compliance officers are expected to see an employment growth of 8 percent between 2016 and 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The bureau predicts about 23,700 new compliance jobs will be created during that time.
As the BLS wage reports, compliance officers earn an average annual wage of $67,870. Compliance officers at the low end of the wage scale earn about $38,170, and those at the high end earn $107,010 or more.
Wages can be affected by experience, employer and location. Here are the highest paying states for compliance officers as of May 2017.
- District of Columbia – $90,130
- Washington – $84,800
- Massachusetts – $83,420
- Connecticut – $82,560
- California – $81,840
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Although working as a compliance officer can be stressful at times, it’s also an important position because being in compliance with the law is essential if a business intends to stay in business and be profitable. In the case of careers like healthcare, deciding to become a compliance officer can be categorized as possibly saving lives.