How to Become a Compliance Officer
Compliance officers typically work for the U.S Department of Labor, although some may work as contractors or consultants for private companies. They are responsible for managing any compliance conflicts that arise within companies, businesses, and other organizations. They investigate business practices to ensure organizations abide by the laws and regulations set forth by the government. They examine licenses, permits, and other official documents to ensure that businesses are operating properly. In addition, compliance officers examine financial records and other business activities. They also write reports, detailing what they find when auditing organizations.
Compliance officers must have knowledge of business and organizational law. They should be able to conduct research and write thorough reports covering their findings. Communication skills are also very important, as compliance officers need to point out potential areas of improvement to organization officials. Finally, some knowledge of finance and statistics is beneficial as well.
Education & Training
It is typical for compliance officers to have at least a bachelor’s degree; however, some companies will hire compliance officers who only have some college education. The best degrees for compliance officers are communications, human resources, and business degrees. For students who want to go into specific areas of compliance, like environmental or financial compliance, degrees for compliance in those concentrated fields would be best. After earning a degree, students may want to consider seeking certification in compliance.
Before a candidate can qualify for a compliance officer position, he or she should pursue some field training. Internships within businesses are a great way to earn experience that will help a candidate stand out among his or her peers. Typically, candidates need to have some experience within the industry in which they hope to work prior to being hired.
The hiring process for compliance officers can be lengthy, depending upon the employer and requirements. Typically, compliance officers will be expected to participate in interviews and background checks. As the position involves examining confidential information, some positions may require a psychological assessment as well.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that compliance officers earn an average salary of $63,760. The top 10% typically earns around $96,680 annually, where the bottom 10% earns around $34,920 yearly. Of course, salary figures will depend upon the employer, location, experience, and education. The more experienced a candidate is, the more likely it is that she or he will earn more.