How Do I Become a Compliance Specialist?

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  • Written By: Lainie Petersen
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 05 January 2020
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If you want to become a compliance specialist, you will not only have to obtain specific educational credentials and job experience, but you will need to work on developing a mindset that will serve you well in the area of compliance. Most companies that hire people for compliance specialist careers will typically want you to have an undergraduate degree and, depending on the type of work you do, a graduate degree or certificate as well. Although there are some entry-level compliance jobs, in many cases you will need a few years of job experience, ideally in administration, research, or even paralegal work, before you can become a compliance specialist. Finally, you should work on your ability to complete quality research, be willing to acknowledge that you may be uncertain of information, and be able to hold your ground so as to protect your employer from possible repercussions for noncompliance.


A compliance specialist is someone who becomes familiar with laws, regulations, and industry standards within a particular industry or even several industries. He typically informs his employer of these standards and works within the company to ensure that all departments remain in compliance as well. If you become a compliance specialist, you will have to be very careful and precise in your ability to communicate what can often be very confusing and even contradictory information. Develop your writing skills, because you will need to use them frequently while conducting research and communicating with regulators and colleagues alike. In all cases, you need to be able to admit when the information you have is inaccurate or incomplete and to ask for time to perform additional research.

Many people find that the more knowledge they have of their particular industry, the more effective they are in compliance work. If you are unable to obtain a compliance job right away, you may still want to take a position in a company in an industry that interest you. After you have time to develop strong knowledge of the industry, speak to your supervisor about opportunities to become a compliance specialist.

While the educational background of compliance specialists can vary widely, if you have not yet begun school, you should think about the area or areas in which you would want to become a compliance specialist. For example, financial services firms often rely on compliance personnel heavily during their regular operations. If finance is interesting to you, you should major in finance or banking while in school. Other common educational programs that may serve you well include library science, law, or paralegal studies. Many legal database companies also provide low-cost training in the use of their databases, which can be extremely helpful to you after you have become a compliance specialist.



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