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How to Become a Compliance Officer

If you'd like to learn how to become a Compliance Officer, this article will guide you through the requirements as well as career pathways and salary information.

Compliance Officer Job Description

Compliance Officers work for businesses and ensure business and environmental regulations are being followed. Exactly how and what these officers do vary as much as how many types of businesses there are, however Compliance Officers are usually found in fields and businesses that are heavily regulated and monitored. Nearly all financial industries and corporations have a Compliance Officer (or Chief Operating Officer, or Business Operations Specialists are other terms used, among many similar titles) employed to make sure the business lives up to the law.

There are also many opportunities for Compliance Officers in health related fields where OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) Standards need to be upheld, the working environment and safety of the employees needs to be monitored and regulated, where licenses and permits need to be obtained, etc. Working in a hospital setting, long term care facilities, correctional facilities, Any businesses and industries that effect the enviroment such as agriculture, oil refinement, scientific researchers and laboratories, businesses that develop and create products for commercial use and consumption, and many more businesses need Compliance Officers to oversee operations and licensing, etc.

Education Requirements for Compliance Officers

Nearly all Compliance Officer positions will require a Bachelor's Degree. Because the nature of this job, having a degree in Criminal Justice is a huge advantage over other degrees, as you will have established a foundation in law and ethics. Some positions in the health field may favor a degree of that nature, while finance and accounting areas may want a candidate with a financial background, but this may vary from company to company and there are often acceptions or equivalents the company will honor.

Work Experience

Depending upon the type of business you work for, you will need atleast one year of experience in a related field. Having strong communication skills, both written and verbal are vital to this job, as you will be reviewing contracts, agreements, permits, lisences, keeping records, and more. On a daily basis you will be establishing relationships and repoire with clients and other working individuals. The ability to build and maintain good working relationships is a must.

Many of the jobs reviewed at the time of this article stated wanting people who were highly motivated and held a strong sense of moral attitude and duty and responsibility, and working knowledge of internal and external compliance related rules, regulations and policies related to the field of work for that business. They also desired candidates capable of working independently as well as within a group, and desired someone who was a team player with a strong ability to problem solve and think critically.

Compliance Officer Salary Information

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, compliance officers in 2010 made $63,760 a year. Compliance officer salaries ranged from $34,920 to $96,680. Your salary as a compliance officer will vary by industry and you can generally expect to earn more with higher education and more work experience.

Compliance Officer Jobs

There are a variety of compliance officer jobs available in a variety of industries. These include:

  • Federal Executive Branch (OES Designation)
  • State Government (OES Designation)
  • Local Government (OES Designation)
  • Management of Companies and Enterprises
  • Insurance Carriers
  • Oil and Gas Extraction
  • Pipeline Transportation of Crude Oil
  • Other Pipeline Transportation
  • Other Financial Investment Activities
  • Postal Service
  • Specialized Design Services
  • Natural Gas Distribution
  • Pharmaceutical and Medicine Manufacturing

Other Resources

Ethics and Compliance Officer Association

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)


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