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How to Become A Compliance Officer

Compliance officers are responsible for ensuring that the management and its personnel are complying with the organization’s policies and procedures. They also create strategies that are in full compliance with industry regulations as well as national and international laws. Compliance officers need excellent analytical skills, critical thinking and good communication. Do you think this job is for you? Read more to find out how to become a compliance officer.

Should I Become a Compliance Officer?

A Compliance officer is a senior position that requires a person to have a legal or accounting background. They are required to coordinate all aspects of compliance - government regulations, taxes, insurance and licensing. Some of the top employers for compliance officers include government agencies, financial services and healthcare organizations. To start a career as compliance officer, a bachelor's degree is required in accounting, finance, business or any other related field.

Education Required

Bachelor’s Degree

Degree Field

Accounting, Finance or any related field


Voluntary certification


No experience for entry level,  3 years experience required for certification

Key Skills

Problem-solving and critical thinking, project management techniques, grasp on economics, financial analysis, accounting and legal

Annual Mean Salary (2018)

$72,520 per year

Job Outlook (2018-2028)

4-6%  for Compliance Managers (O*Net Online)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2018) and O*Net Online

To become a compliance officer, it is important to have exceptional analytical skills, communication and organizational knowledge. By earning a bachelor’s degree in a related field and through experience, prospective compliance officers can acquire these skills. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018 the annual mean salary of Compliance Officers was $72,520.

Career Requirements

A compliance officer can work in diverse industries that require regulation, including accounting and finance services, healthcare, government and manufacturing. Before pursuing a bachelor’s degree, students should identify the area they are most interested in and ensure that the program they choose caters to their career goals.

Steps to Become a Compliance Officer

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

Typically a bachelor’s degree is required to become a compliance officer. Some common degrees for aspiring officers include accounting, finance, economics, statistics and management. There are specialization degrees as well for students interested in business, healthcare administration, environmental or civil engineering and criminal justice.

Step 2: Find Job as a Compliance Officer

There are jobs for compliance officers in different sectors like financial institutions, government, healthcare and other industries. Many graduates find jobs in banks and become certified Bank Compliance Officers. For this job, candidates have to complete 80 hours of compliance training, which is approved by the Institute of Certified Bankers (ICB).

Step 3: Pursue Certification

Certification for compliance officers is not mandatory but mostly indicates additional knowledge to the prospective employers. There are some officers who earn Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) license, while others pursue additional trainings.

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