Compliance jobs typically require an individual to develop a strong understanding of laws, regulations, and standards while also having extensive knowledge of the industry in which he or she works. As a result, there are numerous types of compliance qualifications, ranging from full-blown academic degrees to professional diplomas and certificates. In addition, a compliance professional may also need to complete regular continuing education courses.
Many employers require candidates for compliance jobs to hold at least a bachelor’s degree, and those who hold more advanced positions may be required to hold a postgraduate degree. While there are some degree programs that provide specialist training in compliance or business ethics, others may be more broadly focused, training students in compliance-related areas, such as business, law, or even information science. Compliance candidates who hold a degree in non-compliance may be required to complete additional compliance qualifications, such as a continuing education course or certificate program, in order to remain in their jobs or to advance in their careers.
As the ability to effectively work in compliance depends on specialized knowledge of compliance issues, many schools and businesses offer certificate and diploma programs in various niche areas of compliance practice. For example, those who work in compliance for financial firms may have to complete a series of courses to earn a diploma or certificate in financial compliance. Some businesses may require job candidates to hold one or more of these compliance qualifications, depending on the complexity of their jobs.
Industry regulations and laws change frequently, requiring compliance professionals to routinely update their knowledge and skills. Participating in ongoing continuing education programs is often a requirement for those who work in compliance. These compliance qualifications can be earned online, in stand-alone classes, and during workshops and seminars held at industry conventions and conferences. Those who work closely with government agencies may find that they need to make significant efforts to keep up with changes and may find that continuing education classes are the best way to accomplish this.
Another type of qualification program, one that is not education-based, is professional certification. Compliance certification programs provide a way for experienced compliance professionals to document their knowledge and abilities. The requirements to earn certification vary, but often include evidence of full-time employment in a compliance role for a number of years. Certification candidates must also pass a comprehensive exam before being granted certification. The need for certification will vary by industry and employer. Some employers may insist on this type of certification prior to hiring a candidate, while others may be more concerned about a candidate’s actual job experience and education.