Compliance officers work in nearly every sort of for-profit and non-profit organization, working to ensure that the organization complies with the internal and external laws, regulations, and policies that govern the organization. In fields facing complex sets of regulations, such as health care and the financial industry, compliance officers are critical. 

Compliance officers may:

  • identify the risks facing an organization
  • implement policies to mitigate the risks of an organization violating applicable laws and regulations
  • effectively communicate ethics and compliance policies across the organization
  • investigate and resolve internal misconduct and employee complaints
  • help build an ethical organizational culture,
  • advise the organization

Careers in compliance are growing. The total employment of compliance officers in the U.S. alone is projected to increase by 8.2 percent between 2016 and 2026. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the mean annual wage in 2018 for compliance officers was $72,520.

No single definition can describe the breadth of the field of compliance, as compliance professionals work in an increasingly diverse array of capacities in a broad variety of organizations. Below are some examples of careers in compliance across a range of industries: health care, corporate, higher education, and financial services.