|Number of Jobs:||32,400|
|This Job is Ranked in|
|Best Business Jobs||#4|
|The 100 Best Jobs||#37|
Compliance officers are the performance auditors who make sure businesses and other organizations are properly following the growing maze of laws, regulations, permits, and licensing requirements. They may work for the organizations that they're reviewing, or for external agencies or companies contracted to do compliance work. And they're needed in a broad range of industries and in agencies at all levels of government. Working environments can also vary greatly, from predictable office settings for permits and other document review to off-site fieldwork in outdoor and industrial plant settings. Because of the diversity of employer types and needs, compliance officers often require extensive specialized education and training. For example, environment compliance officers may require substantial scientific knowledge and perform sophisticated tests to measure environmental impacts of airborne and waterborne chemical releases.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects compliance officer employment growth of 15 percent between 2010 and 2020. That's 32,400 new jobs and 26,200 replacement jobs. There were 210,510 compliance officers in 2011.
According to the BLS, the mean annual salary for compliance officers was $60,740 in 2011, but there can be wide wage differences depending on the educational, scientific, and work-experience requirements of a specific position. The best-paid 10 percent made $96,680, while the lowest-paid 10 percent made $34,920. Oil and gas, financial, and postal-service employers paid the highest salaries. The highest-paid compliance officers worked in the metropolitan areas of Stamford, Conn., Framingham, Mass., and San Francisco.
Most compliance officers have college degrees, but not all jobs require them. Because specific job requirements vary greatly, moderate on-the-job experience may be required.
"The most important skills include leadership, writing, public speaking, ethical decision-making, communications, and training and instructional design," says Keith Darcy, executive director of the Ethics and Compliance Officers Association (ECOA). "They should also possess a high degree of courage and integrity due to the confidential nature of the work." Many positions require certification and regular retraining in the business and industry sector in which the person works.
Experience in a prospective employer's line of work is a plus, Darcy says, as is knowledge of its organizational culture and how its employees work together. "Other past work experience could include internal audit, legal, human resources, internal controls, and risk management," he says. "Prospective candidates should first learn how a job is defined and structured, including what issues it is responsible for," Darcy says. "For example, a regulatory compliance officer must possess a different set of qualifications than an ethics and compliance officer."
|Upward Mobility||Above Average|