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Compliance Officer

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Career Overview

Just like people, companies and government agencies need to obey the laws. And while people rely on their morals, integrity and their conscience to make sure they don't break laws, companies and government agencies rely on compliance officers. So if you are detail-oriented and have a lot of respect for rules and authority, this job could be a good fit for you.As a compliance officer, you'llneed to keep up with an ever-growing list of laws, regulations and licensing and permit requirements that affect the industry your company is in. You'll have to assess your company's risk by comparing the way things should be done to how your company is actually doing them. And if your company is at risk, you'll need to create processes and systems that reduce that risk.Day to day, exactly what you'd be doing would depend on the industry you're in. But in general, you could do things like inspect machinery, follow up on employee complaints, and perform audits. To investigate issues, you may need to access electronic databases and review relevant employeeemails.Despite the fact that this career is necessary in so many fields, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a modest employment growth of 4.6% between 2012 and 2022. They estimate that during that time period, 11,000 jobs will need to be filled.

Salaries and Job Outlook*

2013 Median Annual Pay
Number of Jobs in 2013
Projected Growth Rate
National
$67,870
287,130
8.2 %
Virginia
$71,170
7,850
 

Education and Training

Degrees Required:
High School Diploma Bachelor's Degree in Accounting, Business or related field

While not all compliance jobs require a degree, most do. Typically, compliance officers have college degrees in subjects like accounting, business or finance.A compliance officer may need additional specialized education, depending on their industry. For example, an environment compliance officer may need a science-specific degree or training in order to perform tests and measure the environmental impact their company or agency

 
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Valued Traits & Abilities

Communication Skills
Leadership Skills

Work Environment

Compliance officers are necessary in all sorts of industries, including finance, healthcare, telecommunications, and energy. Some compliance officers work in office environments, but some could do field work outdoors or at industrial plants. Compliance officers can be employed directly by a company, or could work for an agency that a company has contracted to do their compliance work for them.

* Source: BLS Data - 2013