With a strong potential for employment and professional growth, becoming a compliance officer may seem like an attractive career opportunity. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports 18,600 new jobs will become available for compliance officers between 2018 and 2028. But how much money does a compliance officer make?
Compliance officer salaries vary depending on the industry, work experience, level of education, and location of employment. Overall, the BLS reports compliance officers earned a mean annual wage of $72,850.1
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Compliance Officer Salary by Industry
Compliance officers work in various industries. However, they are regularly employed in industries where there is a high degree of regulatory oversight. For example, compliance officers may work in health care, in the federal government, or in private industries such as mining or pharmaceuticals.
Healthcare Compliance Officer Salary
Because of the strict health and safety regulations healthcare facilities are required to follow, compliance is a critical part of their management and day-to-day operations.
According to data gathered by the Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA), chief compliance officers in the health care industry are paid an average salary of $122,311 (PDF, 2 MB). However, this amount can vary by the type of organization, its size and location.
For example, in an extremely large health care organization with an annual revenue of $50 million to $100 million, chief compliance officers’ average salary was $116,364, according to the HCCA. In organizations generating less than $5 million, compliance officers were paid an average of $88,062.
Pharmaceutical and Medicine Manufacturing Compliance Officer Salary
Like the general health care industry, pharmaceutical companies must adhere to strict laws and regulations. Compliance officers may help manage and mitigate risks with operations.
According to the most recent BLS data, compliance officers working within the pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing industry received an average annual salary of $82,510.1 The pharmaceutical industry employs more compliance officers than all but three industries, according to the BLS.
Legal Compliance Officer Salary
Legal compliance officers typically work in private sector companies, ensuring that they meet all legal and regulatory requirements. They may work closely with the organization’s legal counsel, and regularly conduct inspections, audits and research to determine whether the business is fully compliant with industry standards.
Salaries for corporate and legal compliance officers typically vary depending on the type and the size of their employer. For example, those employed in securities, commodity contracts and other financial investment industries earn an average of $91,800.1
Federal Government Compliance Officer Salary
Often, compliance officers work for the federal government, auditing corporations or drafting and enforcing updated industry standards and regulations. The federal government is the largest employer of compliance officers, employing 58,720 at an average annual salary of $82,960, according to the most recent BLS reports.1
Local Government Compliance Officer Salary
Compliance officers may also work for local governments. The BLS reports state and local governments are the second and third largest employers of compliance officers, respectively.1
At the state government level, compliance officers can expect an average salary of $57,810, the BLS reports. At the local level, the average annual salary is $60,710.1
Compliance Officer Salary by Work Experience
Work experience can be an important factor in the salary of compliance officers. As they gain experience and skills, compliance officers can earn higher salaries and advanced positions, often leadership roles.
However, it’s difficult to define the exact correlation between an experience and salary because of additional factors such as industry type and location.
Compliance officers earning the bottom 10% of salary make $38,920, while the highest-paid 10% earn $109,950, according to the BLS.1This could mean those who work in more prestigious positions earn more, but it may indicate an entry level position in a large metropolitan area pays more.
Compliance Officer Salary by Location
Depending on location, a compliance officer can have an average salary as low as $64,000 or as high as $94,000, according to the BLS.1 Below you will find more information on cities and states where compliance officers earn the highest pay, as reported by the BLS1.
Best Paying States for Compliance Officers
The average salary for compliance officers can vary widely from state to state. Larger or generally more metropolitan states may have a larger demand for compliance officers. In turn, you may expect a higher mean salary in those states. Here are states where compliance officers have the highest average pay, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics—Occupational Employment and Wages for Compliance Officers.
|State||Compliance Officer Salary|
|District of Columbia||$94,110|
Best Paying Cities for Compliance Officers
Salaries for compliance officers also vary by city or metropolitan areas. In the table below you will find metropolitan areas with the highest salaries based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics—Occupational Employment and Wages for Compliance Officers.
|Metropolitan Area||Compliance Officer Salary|
|San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA||$93,740|
|San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA||$92,960|
|Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA||$90,430|
|California-Lexington Park, MD||$86,350|
In addition to the cities in the above table, other cities or metropolitan areas where compliance officers are paid well include:
- New York City: $82,432
- Los Angeles: $82,720
- Trenton, NJ: $79,940
Like any career, whether becoming a compliance officer is a good career is going to depend on your goals and your interests. Compliance officers routinely perform audits and conduct inspections to ensure laws and regulations are followed by their organizations.
Their job duties require a comprehensive understanding of the law. They must be analytical, thorough, and often conduct extensive research. If you enjoy the challenge of understanding and interpreting laws, policies and regulations, a career as a compliance officer may be right for you.
The salary range for compliance officers will vary considerably depending on their location, the industry, their experience, and their position within the organization.
As explained in the above section, Compliance Officer Salary by Work Experience, an annual salary range can be from less than $38,920 to more than $109,950.
1 Salary, job outlook information and other statistics were retrieved from the Bureau of Labor Statistics—Occupational Employment and Wages for Compliance Officers. Return to footnote reference
Information on this page was last retrieved in June 2020.