WHAT IS A COMPLIANCE OFFICER? Duties, Qualifications, & Salary


Becoming a compliance officer might seem attractive, with many chances to move up. But how much money does a compliance officer make? The salary of a compliance officer depends on the industry, the level of education, the amount of work experience, and the location of the job. Use this guide to learn about the duties and qualifications of the chief compliance officer.

What is a Compliance Officer?

A compliance officer is a company employee who ensures that the company complies with its external regulatory and legal requirements and internal policies and bylaws. The chief compliance officer is typically in charge of a company’s compliance department.

A compliance officer is responsible to their employer for finding and managing regulatory risk. They do this by working with management and staff. Their goal is to make sure that a business has enough internal controls to measure and deal with the risks it faces. Compliance officers offer a service that helps business units meet their legal, regulatory, and internal process obligations. This service is done in-house. The officer is frequently, but not always, the company’s general counsel.

How A Compliance Officer Work

A compliance officer is an employee of a company who helps the company keep its policies and procedures up to date so that it can stay within the regulatory framework of its industry. A compliance officer’s duties may include evaluating and setting standards for communications with the outside world, such as requiring email disclaimers or inspecting buildings to ensure they are safe and easy to get to. Compliance officers may also make or change internal policies and lead internal audits of procedures to make it less likely that the organization will break laws and rules.

The officer must know much about the company and how it might break the rules. They must effectively explain the organization’s primary ethical standards and compliance rules. Compliance officers plan regular employee training sessions to communicate essential regulatory changes and updates.

This is especially critical in today’s high-stakes regulatory environment, where change is constant. The officer must work with the business units and management to make plans for what to do if there is a possible violation of compliance.

If someone breaks the rules, the officer must put in place the proper punishments to prevent it from happening again. The duties of a compliance officer are to make sure that compliance procedures are constantly monitored and evaluated to find places where they could be improved.

Compliance officers are intended to provide an unbiased perspective on corporate policies. Influence from other employees, especially management and executives, to ignore violations could lead to heavy fines or punishments, which could cause the organization to lose money or even fail. Larger companies often hire a chief compliance officer (CCO) to handle compliance-related tasks.

Salary of a Compliance Officer

The average annual salary for a compliance officer in the United States is $52,758 annually as of November 24, 2023. If you need a basic salary calculator for a compliance officer, that works out to about $25.36 per hour. This equates to $1,014 each week or $4,396 per month.

While ZipRecruiter reports yearly salaries as high as $119,000 and as low as $20,000, the bulk of compliance officer salaries in the United States now ranges from $36,000 (25th percentile) to $56,000 (the 75th percentile), with top earners (the 90th percentile) earning $88,000.

The average salary range for a compliance officer ranges significantly (up to $20,000), implying that there may be several prospects for growth and better income, depending on skill level, location, and years of experience.

According to recent ZipRecruiter job posts, the Compliance Officer job market in New York, NY, and the surrounding area is active. Compliance Officer salaries in New York rank fourth out of fifty states.

Chief Compliance Officer

The chief compliance officer is one of the most important members of the management team. The primary duties of a chief compliance officer are to oversee compliance within an organization and ensure that laws, regulations, policies, and procedures are followed.

As the compliance leader and subject matter expert, the Chief Compliance Officer is in charge of setting standards and putting in place procedures to ensure that compliance programs throughout the organization are practical and efficient at finding, preventing, detecting, and fixing violations of laws and rules.

Also, the Chief Compliance Officer must ensure that senior management and the Board are confident that the company has effective and efficient policies and procedures, that all employees understand and follow them, and that the company is meeting all regulatory requirements.

The Chief Compliance Officer must report to the Chief Executive Officer directly. He must also keep the board informed of critical issues and material violations.

Duties of a Chief Compliance Officer

  • Defining the required level of expertise across the organization on present and emerging regulatory compliance needs.
  • Creating an annual compliance work plan that reflects the particular characteristics of the organization.
  • Revision of the compliance strategy regularly in response to changes.
  • Managing the compliance teams productively and professionally.
  • Supervising and monitoring the compliance program’s implementation.
  • Providing direction, counsel, and training
  • Providing compliance strategy direction to the management team.
  • Preparing and delivering to the Board clear and concise compliance reports.
  • Communicating with regulators about compliance issues.
  • Coordination of audit, review, and examination operations.
  • Create policies and procedures to encourage managers and employees to report suspected fraud and other irregularities without fear of reprisal.
  • Coordination of internal compliance review and monitoring efforts, including departmental evaluations regularly.

Compliance Officer Qualifications

Compliance officer qualifications differ depending on the position and sector. A bachelor’s degree is usually required for these jobs; however, an associate degree and industry-specific certificates may suffice. A law or master’s degree can lead to additional work opportunities and higher pay.

The best majors for compliance officers are determined by their field of study. For instance, financial compliance officers may need degrees in accounting or finance, while healthcare compliance officers may need degrees in healthcare management or administration. Compliance and risk management courses and specialties may be especially beneficial.

Compliance Officer Skills:

  • Organized, inquisitive, innovative problem solvers capable of swiftly and precisely perceiving, understanding, and interpreting facts
  • Professionals with solid time management abilities, the capacity to multitask, and the ability to see the broader picture
  • Diplomacy is a required soft skill (Expense examiners must collaborate with a wide range of stakeholders to provide critical assessments for improving a company’s financial health, identify leaders to help achieve the ultimate goal, and guide the team forward).
  • Professionals who keep up with technological advances and have a track record of preventing, identifying, and correcting compliance issues.
  • In-depth knowledge of the company’s culture

Industry experience can also be valuable, especially in highly regulated industries like finance. While individual laws can be taught, businesses might benefit from hiring compliance officers familiar with their industry’s larger regulatory landscape. A bachelor’s degree in finance or accounting is preferred, but many compliance experts come from legal, real estate, banking, private equity, or startup backgrounds.

Many businesses also put a lot of value on a master’s degree in business administration or a highly sought-after qualification, like CPA certification. The CCEP (Certified Compliance and Ethics Professional) and the IACCP (Investment Adviser Certified Compliance Professional) are also valuable qualifications.

How to Become a Compliance Officer

Before working in compliance, you must first have a four-year bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited business institution. Most compliance officers have a background in finance, accounting, statistics, economics, or management. For specialization, some universities will provide a certificate in business compliance. Although a Master of Science in Finance (MSF) or Master of Business Administration (MBA) is not needed, it can help you stand out. A Master of Laws (LLM) in Compliance may also be advantageous.

For promotion, compliance officers typically require several years of experience. It is possible to start as an intern and move up to compliance analyst or financial analyst jobs. Professional certification can help you advance in your career. The American Bankers Association, for example, offers the Certified Regulatory Compliance Manager (CRCM) credential.

What is an example of a Compliance Officer?

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), for example, prohibits bribing foreign government officials to get a business deal. Compliance officers ensure that the organization has taken steps to stop bribery and that its employees know how to follow these rules. That is a function of the compliance officer.

Is the Compliance Officer Part of HR?

Compliance is one of the most critical tasks of any HR department. You ensure that hiring practices, workplace rules, employees’ treatment, and several other things follow the law.

Is compliance a promising career?

Yes, working as a compliance professional is a rewarding profession.

A compliance specialist can earn between $60,000 and $70,000 per year. Compliance officers, on average, report a decent work-life balance. In reality, most of the year, you won’t have to work many extra hours and will be able to leave work early.

Is compliance a stressful job?

Compliance officers frequently face significant levels of stress. Concerns include keeping up with new laws and rules, stopping compliance and ethics violations, and fixing compliance and ethics violations.

Is compliance a high-paying job?

The highest-paying Compliance Specialist positions can earn up to $112,500 per year. Compliance Specialist jobs can be found on ZipRecruiter in the Business industry and the Operations category.

What qualifications do compliance officers require?

The Six Must-Have Compliance Officer Skills

  • Interpretation ability.
  • Detail-oriented.
  • Keep an eye on the big picture.
  • The ability to apply rules to real-world situations.
  • Capabilities for risk assessment.
  • Communication abilities.


Compliance officers are very caring people who look at balance sheets, contracts, and other business records to ensure that rules are followed precisely. Officers decide if an organization is following the rules or is open to criticism based on how well they know and are honest. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a compliance officer earns an average yearly salary of $69,180, or $33.26 per hour. Becoming a compliance officer can lead to a satisfying career that keeps businesses functioning honestly.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like