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Compliance Officer Jobs and Training

Updated on January 21, 2012

Compliance officers conduct examinations and review evidence to determine compliance with various laws and regulations. Those with the proper training and education can seek compliance officer jobs with both the government and private business.

There is no shortage of jobs for compliance officers, particularly in the executive branch of the federal government and state and local governments. In fact, of the 204,000 or so jobs tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May of 2010, about 53,000 of those were with the federal government. Another 29,000 or so compliance officers had jobs with state governments, and local governments hired about 26,000. There are also tens of thousands of corporate compliance officers who see to it that the corporation abides by applicable laws and regulations.

The difficulty, however, in getting an education and training for jobs as a compliance officer is that they involve an enormous variety of different laws, regulations, license, and permit schemes. For example, companies these days generally hire an EEO officer to cut down on discrimination lawsuits. This officer will investigate claims of sexual harassment and other discrimination and educate employees on proper behavior in the workplace. There is not really a college degree for such a job.

Thus, most compliance officers will specialize in some area of the law or a specific occupation first and then "step into" a compliance position. In some cases, an officer will start out as an assistant and then work his or her way up the ladder. This is generally true in larger organizations.

Examples of classes that may prepare someone to become a compliance officer later are health law, insurance law, business law, securities law, and human resources. While there is no one path due to the variety of different job duties and positions for this occupation, it is generally a good idea to at least get a bachelor's degree. Many companies and government agencies will require that right out of the box as a job qualification.

If you can get this work, it pays well. According to the BLS, the median salary in May of 2010 was about $58,000.


Bureau of Labor Statistics Report on Compliance Officer Jobs and Career


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