Compliance Officer

Career Information

business woman reading documents
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Job Description

A compliance officer makes sure entities are conforming with and eligible for contractual obligations, government regulations, laws, or licenses and permits. Under this broad occupational title is a group of more specific job titles including environmental compliance inspector, licensing examiner and inspector, equal opportunity representative and officer, government property inspector and investigator, coroner, and regulatory affairs specialist.

  • An environmental compliance inspector sees to it that companies are obeying federal, state and local regulations that protect the public and environment from pollution.
  • A licensing examiner or inspector determines whether individuals and companies that apply for professional licenses and business permits meet eligibility requirements and that those who already have them conform to all stipulations.
  • An equal opportunity representative or officer ensures that companies and other entities are complying with equal opportunity laws, guidelines, and policies in regard to employment and contracting arrangements.
  • A government property inspector or investigator makes sure government entities are in compliance with contractual obligations and regulations.
  • A coroner determines the cause of and responsibility for deaths within a legal jurisdiction.
  • A regulatory affairs specialist coordinates internal regulatory processes for an entity, which may include preparing documentation for submission to regulatory agencies.

    *Note: This profile does not include information about compliance officers working in the following industries: agriculture, construction, health and safety, and transportation.

    Employment Facts

    There were 240,000 compliance officers employed in 2012. Most work for the federal government and for state and local governments.

    Others work for corporations, financial services firms and insurance companies.

    Educational Requirements

    Most people who work in this occupation have bachelor's degrees. A degree in a related field is often desirable. Compliance officers also receive on-the-job training.

    Why Do You Need to Know About Educational Requirements?

    Additional Requirements

    In addition to formal and on-the-job training, a compliance officer also needs certain soft skills, or personal qualities, to succeed in this occupation. He or she must have strong reading comprehension and listening skills. Strong oral and written communication skills are also very important. In addition, a compliance officer should be able to think critically and solve problems.

    Job Outlook

    Employment of compliance officers, in all specialties, is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations through 2022 (The US Bureau of Labor Statistics).

    Why Do You Need to Know About Job Outlook?


    Compliance officers earned a median annual salary of $64,950 in 2014 (US).

    Use the Salary Wizard at to find out how much a Compliance Officer currently earns in your city.

    A Day in the Life of a Compliance Officer

    These are some typical job duties taken from online ads for compliance officer positions and related jobs as noted, found on

    • Assist management in identifying and containing compliance risk, compliance monitoring and fostering a compliance culture.
    • Oversee assigned portfolios for compliance with guidelines, internal policies and regulatory issues.
    • Develop, coordinate, and execute various compliance testing and monitoring initiatives.
    • Conduct periodic internal account/customer reviews to identify potentially suspicious activity.
    • Review receipting information on submitted documents for accuracy, statutory and regulatory compliance.  (Job Title: Licensing Examiner and Inspector)
    • Conduct investigations of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaints. (Job Title: Equal Opportunity Officer)

    Occupations With Related Activities and Tasks

     DescriptionAnnual Salary (2014)Educational Requirements
    Tax ExaminerMakes sure tax returns are accurate$51,120Bachelor's degree in accounting or a combination of education and experience
    Insurance Claims AdjusterInvestigates insurance claims in order to determine how much an insurer should pay$62,220High school diploma
    Financial ExaminerInvestigates whether banks and financial institutions are in compliance with laws and regulations$76,310Bachelor's degree with coursework in accounting, finance and economics
    Loan OfficerHelps individuals and companies obtain funds from banks and other financial institutions$62,620Bachelor's degree in economics, finance or a related field

    Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Data for Occupations Not Covered in Detail: Business and Financial Occupations, on the Internet at and Financial Occupations (visited June 11, 2015).
    Employment and Training Administration, US Department of Labor, O*NET Online, Compliance Officers, on the Internet at (visited June 11, 2015).