Compliance officers work in a variety of fields and are responsible for making sure that the department or company that they are overseeing adheres to specific quality and ethics standards in order to protect them from scandals, lawsuits and customer complaints. Protecting the safety of the public is also a responsibility of compliance officers, as unethical behavior can diminish the quality and effectiveness of the company’s products or services. Production lines, health care facilities, business offices, large corporations, school districts, government entities and nonprofit organizations are all places that employ compliance or ethics officers. As a compliance officer, you will be expected to review and write up reports about how well their organization adheres to compliance policies regarding personal conduct, customer relations, and other ethics concerns. Compliance officers also recommend and develop policies that outline proper, legal behavior and operations in the workplace. When complaints arise, compliance officers must be able to conduct unbiased investigations and work with customers, managers and other departments to solve the issue.
The salary for a compliance officer varies greatly depending on the person’s geographic location and industry. Generally, entry level compliance officers can expect to make around $46,000 a year, and those with at least five years of experience can make between $56,192 to $67,565. Those who work in major cities like New York can expect to earn much higher salaries, while compliance officers in smaller cities and the suburbs will earn less. Compliance officers working full-time for a reputable company should also expect to receive a benefits package that includes paid vacation and holidays and health insurance.
A bachelor’s degree is required for compliance officer positions, but higher degrees are preferred, especially if the candidate expects to get promoted and earn a higher entry level salary. A Master’s in Criminal Justice could help your chances of becoming a high ranking compliance officer, especially if you intend on working in a field that requires a working knowledge of the justice system. Jobs fulfilling these qualifications include compliance officer positions in the corrections system, a courthouse, police department, the military, or even in a government agency. Some compliance officers even go on to get their law degree, which puts them at a greater advantage to other job applicants.