How Do I Become a Compliance Officer?

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

A good first step toward becoming a compliance officer is learning as much as you can about the job. By doing so, you can make certain you are truly well suited to this type of position. Next, you can choose the field in which you'd like to work and then seek a degree in that field. Generally, employers are willing to hire individuals with bachelor's degrees, but some may prefer master's degrees instead. Additionally, you will likely need experience in your chosen field to land this job.

Compliance officers are among the high-level executives in many corporations.
Compliance officers are among the high-level executives in many corporations.

The first step you'll take to become a compliance officer may be conducting research in the hopes of gaining a better understanding of what a compliance officer does. For example, in this job, you will likely investigate complaints and perform inspections. You may also identify problems with policies and procedures and provide recommendations for changes. Part of your job might also include follow-up tasks as you attempt to ensure that the necessary changes have been completed. Once you've learned at least the basics of this type of job, you may feel more confident in deciding whether or not it is right for you.

When you are sure you want to become a compliance officer, your next step is deciding which field you want to enter. You are likely to find compliance officer opportunities in a range of different industries. For example, you might prefer to become a compliance officer in the health care field or in field such as law enforcement. You could also consider seeking a career in a field such as employment or licensing. There are even opportunities to work in compliance in environmental positions.

You'll likely need a four-year degree to become a compliance officer, though education requirements will likely depend on the employer. In most cases, it makes sense to pursue a degree in the field in which you hope to gain employment. For example, you would pursue a health-related degree if you hope to work as a compliance officer in the health-care industry. To work in a finance-related compliance job, you may do well to seek a business or finance degree.

Some employers prefer job candidates who have earned master's degrees instead. For example, an employer may state that a bachelor's degree is required but explain that a master's degree is preferred. At the very least, earning an advanced degree may help you stand out among other job applicants.

Experience is also important when you want to become a compliance officer. After you've earned a degree, you will typically have to seek work experience in the field you have chosen. For instance, if you want to become a compliance officer in law enforcement, gaining at least a few years of experience in a law-enforcement-related position will likely improve your chances.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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