What Is a Compliance Analyst? Job Role, Skills, and Salaries

Written by Coursera • Updated on

A compliance analyst ensures that companies follow the law and avoid fines. Learn more about compliance analyst jobs, what they do, and how much they earn.

[Featured Image]:  Compliance Specialist working at laptop, reviewing cybersecurity rules and regulations.

Business leaders may be innovators and trailblazers, but they still have to follow the law and the rules set forth by the government agencies that regulate their industry. That's where a compliance analyst steps in. These professionals have expert knowledge of regulations, laws, and guidelines that can govern everything from how a company processes transactions to what it has to disclose to clients.

If you're a natural rule follower who likes to color between the lines, you may be a good fit for a career as a compliance analyst. Learning more about the type of work they do and how much they can earn may help you prepare for your next steps when you're ready to pursue a career in this field.

What is a compliance analyst?

A compliance analyst's primary goal is to ensure a company complies with the industry's laws and regulations. In their work, they may examine practices and policies within the business, identify areas where they are out of compliance, and offer suggestions for how to make necessary modifications. This requires regular review and research into governing authorities' current rules and regulations.

What does a compliance analyst do?

A compliance analyst's responsibilities vary depending on the industry they work in and the company's design. For example, a compliance analyst working in the health care field may focus on how well the company protects patient privacy. A compliance analyst in the financial services industry may review transactions to ensure employees follow the laws regulating money and securities transfers. They may be asked to do any of the following:

  • Develop solutions for practices that are out of compliance.

  • Monitor departments to ensure compliance with company policy and industry regulations.

  • Prepare reports for management.

  • Provide updates to team members and management when regulations change.

  • Review current practices to ensure they stay within the boundaries of the law.

  • Review data security.

  • Train team members to use best practices that align with regulations.

Where do compliance analysts work?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the industries employing the greatest number of compliance analysts include government agencies, insurance, pharmaceutical manufacturing, and natural gas distribution. However, you can find compliance professionals in almost every field and companies of all sizes. They work in construction, finance, health care, human resources, information security, technology, and more.

Importance of compliance professionals

Compliance professionals provide a valuable service to companies by helping them avoid costly fees and legal problems. Regulatory agencies may levy fees and other penalties for violations. Depending on the nature of the violation, the business may need to pay back taxes and interest or face an audit of the company's resources. Sometimes a violation leads to the business owner accepting personal responsibility or being forced to close the business. A violation also can affect the company's reputation and damage the trust of its customers and vendors.

How to become a compliance analyst

You need at least a bachelor's degree to become a compliance analyst. However, colleges and universities typically don't offer a degree program with compliance analysis as a major. Instead, compliance analysts tend to earn a degree in a field related to the industry they want to work in. This is why you should spend some time thinking about your career goals before you select a major.

For example, if you want to work as a compliance analyst in the health care industry, you may choose to major in health care administration or nursing. If your plans involve working in the technology industry, you may opt for a degree in computer science. Similarly, you may major in accounting or finance if you want to work in financial services.

In addition to a degree, you should have industry job experience. You may even start working in an entry-level position while still earning your degree. This allows you to learn how the company or the industry operates and familiarize yourself with industry regulations. Understanding standard operating procedures can help you identify practices that don't comply.

Your training as a compliance analyst will likely continue even after you've worked in the field for years. You may pursue industry certificates or related licenses to deepen your knowledge or return to school to earn a master's degree. You'll also spend time researching and staying up to date with the latest regulations, including taking classes and attending professional learning events.

What skills do you need for compliance analyst careers?

Compliance analysts need technical and human skills, including communicating clearly and conducting research. The specific technical skills like software proficiency you need depend on your industry.

However, the following list of skills encompasses some of the ones you may frequently use in your work:

• Attention to detail

• Auditing

• Communication

• Critical thinking

• Data visualization

• Diplomacy

• Presentation

• Problem-solving

• Research

• Time management

Placeholder

Job outlook and career prospects for compliance analysts

As long as companies must follow regulations, they will likely rely on compliance analysts to ensure they do what the law requires. Demand for compliance professionals appears to be growing, following increased regulation in key industries to protect the public from fraud.

Alternative job titles for compliance analysts (with salaries)

Compliance analysts may have a variety of job titles, including terms like examiner, auditor, manager, and screener. Job titles can vary, but you may see compliance analyst jobs listed as follows: 

  • Building inspector: $56,491 [13]

  • Director of corporate compliance: $111,249 [4]

  • Ethics officer: $144,136 [5]

  • Financial compliance officer: $66,677[6]

  • Food safety auditor: $55,263[7]

  • Fraud investigator: $54,388 [8]

  • Information technology security specialist: $86,250 [9]

  • Occupational health and safety technician: $44,233[10]

Career path in compliance analysis (with salaries)

Your career path as a compliance analyst can follow many directions because the roles tend to be industry-specific. The education requirements for compliance analysts may also differ. For example, hands-on experience at job sites may be more valuable than a formal education if you're working in the construction industry. On the other hand, financial auditors may need a master's degree.

You may start your career working in a specific industry to learn how it operates, and in some cases, you may be able to shadow managers and compliance professionals to learn what they do. The career path may include the following roles and titles:

  • Compliance specialist

Average annual salary: $53,735 [3]

As a compliance specialist, you may work in a specific area, like auditing or patient records, compared to an entry-level compliance position.

  • Compliance manager

Average annual salary: $83,249[2]

As a compliance manager, your role may be implementing and monitoring how employees follow company policies and industry regulations.

  • Compliance officer

Average annual salary: $70,935[11]

Compliance officers can take on various responsibilities, from creating company compliance policies to monitoring and enforcing them.

  • Senior compliance officer

Average annual salary: $91,453 [12]

A senior compliance officer has duties similar to a compliance officer, but they tend to have more work experience and may have additional certifications.

  • Chief compliance officer

Average annual salary: $164,446[1]

You are the company's top compliance analyst and chief compliance officer, and you report directly to the company's chief executive officer.

Discover more about compliance roles with a course

Start exploring career possibilities as a compliance professional through online courses that cover regulation and compliance issues in financial services, fintech, cybersecurity, and more. Check out courses on Coursera like Effective Compliance Programs from the University of Pennsylvania or Data Privacy Fundamentals from Northeastern University.

Placeholder

course

Effective Compliance Programs

Once you have an understanding of what compliance is, and why it may be important, it is natural to wonder next, “What should I do about it?” In this ...

4.9

(586 ratings)

12,468 already enrolled

Average time: 1 month(s)

Learn at your own pace

Skills you'll build:

Management, Strategic Planning, Compliance, Organizational Behavior

You also can pursue a Specialization like the Regulatory Compliance Specialization from the University of Pennsylvania.

Placeholder

specialization

Regulatory Compliance

Learn to create a culture of compliance. Master the strategies for building an effective compliance program to manage risk

4.8

(1,745 ratings)

20,391 already enrolled

INTERMEDIATE level

Average time: 4 month(s)

Learn at your own pace

Skills you'll build:

Risk Management, Business Strategy, Compliance, Human Resources Management, Brand Management, Strategic Planning, Management, Organizational Behavior, Information Privacy, Data Management, Privacy Compliance, Operations Management, Corruption

Article sources

1

Glassdoor. "Chief Compliance Officer Salaries, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/chief-compliance-officer-salary-SRCH_KO0,24.htm." Accessed December 5, 2022.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

Big savings for your big goals! Save $200 on Coursera Plus.

  • For a limited time, save like never before on a new Coursera Plus annual subscription (original price: $399 | after discount: $199 for one year).
  • Get unlimited access to 7,000+ courses from world-class universities and companies—for less than $20/month!
  • Gain the skills you need to succeed, anytime you need them—whether you’re starting your first job, switching to a new career, or advancing in your current role.