Best Compliance Management Degrees + Online MBA Masters vs Bachelors (2023)

By Henry Steele - October 25, 2017

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Compliance managers are professionals who maintain the legal, financial and ethical integrity of an organization intact via enforcement of policies and proper planning. A compliance manager is responsible for ensuring that all parts of the business or organization are in full compliance with various types of regulations, rules, and laws that pertain to that business and industry.

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Best Compliance Management Degrees + Online MBA Masters vs Bachelors (4)

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Compliance managers are in charge of staying up to date with the changing regulations and laws that affect the business world. Also, they are charged with preparing various legal, regulatory and/or financial reports for executives and upper-level management.

What Is Compliance Management?

Compliance management concerns the work to identify where potential issues lie with matters pertaining to legality and ethics in a company are occurring, and then fixing those issues in a responsible and efficient manner. Effective compliance management is working with higher levels of management to ensure that proper rules and strategies are in place to address legal, financial and ethical compliance issues before the company and staff themselves are in jeopardy of violating laws and regulations pertaining to that industry.

Compliance management also is needed to recognize when and if an ethical breach has occurred in the organization. After the breach has been realized, compliance managers need to use their knowledge of the situation to deal with the matter in a legal and responsible manner.

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Compliance managers often work in human resources, but others may work in the financial and accounting department. Compliance managers in the financial and accounting departments today are especially important, given the stronger regulatory and legal framework that governs the financial sector of the business world today.

Compliance Management Degree Opportunity

Compliance managers and officers are generally seeing an uptick in demand after the last financial crisis. In the financial and accounting sector, compliance managers are more in need as the US and state governments are increasing the enforcement of financial crimes. Many compliance managers are finding more opportunities on Wall Street and in various branches of the federal government.

But there also is a strong and growing need for compliance managers in areas such as healthcare, telecommunications and oil and gas. The regulatory framework in these various fields is growing more complex, and compliance professionals are needed to ensure that companies and organizations are in compliance with the law.

Compliance Management Degree Careers

There are many different careers where compliance management plays a very important role. For example, financial examiners are charged with ensuring compliance with financial laws and regulations. They are responsible for reviewing balance sheets, evaluating the risk level of loans, and assessing the management of banks and other lending institutions.

Job demand for financial examiners is expected to grow by a healthy 10% between 2016 and 2026, which is faster than average when compared to other professions. The rate of growth for financial examiners will vary a great deal by industry group. Financial examiners are in higher demand as more financial institutions need help with regulatory compliance.

As of 2016, there were 52,500 financial examiners in the US. The top employers in this field were in these areas:

  • Depository credit intermediation: 22%
  • Federal government: 14%
  • Securities, commodities and other financial investments: 11%
  • Management of companies: 11%
  • State government: 8%

Another industry where compliance management is of great and growing importance is in healthcare. Medical and health service managers are responsible for ensuring that their healthcare organization is in compliance with complex laws and regulations promulgated by the federal and state governments.

Employment for medical and health services managers will rise by a rapid 20% from 2016 to 2026, which is much faster than average. Employment in the compliance area will definitely grow quickly as there is more use of electronic health records or EHRs. Having an excellent understanding of EHRs will be needed to ensure that healthcare organizations are in compliance with complicated healthcare regulations governing electronic record maintenance and collection.

Compliance Management Degree Salaries

The Bureau of Labor Statistics or BLS reports that compliance managers and financial examiners earned a median salary of $79,200 in 2016, and the top 10% earned more than $148,000 per year. Financial examiners in different sectors also earned these varying salaries:

  • Federal government: $115,000
  • Securities, commodity contracts and other financial investments: $88,300
  • Management of companies and enterprises: $79,100
  • Depository credit intermediation: $72,700

BLS reports that the median salary for medical and health services managers is $96,500, with the top 10% earning in excess of $172,000 per year. Compliance professionals who work in the medical and healthcare field will have a salary that can differ somewhat based upon the exact type of facility:

  • Hospitals: $104,000
  • Government: $104,000
  • Outpatient care: $89,400
  • Doctors offices: $87,000

Compliance Management Degree Employers

Professionals with a background in financial compliance management and financial examining may find employment in many types of organizations. Some of the largest financial related companies in the US that are hiring include the following:

  • USAA
  • Quicken Loans
  • Navy Federal Credit Union
  • Edward Jones
  • Capital One Financial
  • Nationwide
  • Pinnacle Financial Partners
  • PrimeLending
  • Bankers Healthcare Group

Online Compliance Management Degrees

Arizona State University

The online Master of Legal Studies in Corporate and Health Care Compliance, offered through ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, prepares students to move up the ladder in their current career or to pursue new and exciting career opportunities.

This flexible, 100% online program from an AACSB-accredited business school allows you to study the same curriculum taught by the same world-renowned faculty as the on-campus program.

  • ASU is ranked#2 for Best Online Graduate Business ProgramsbyU.S. News & World Report
  • ASU is ranked the#1 university for innovation in the countrybyU.S. News & World Report, ahead of both MIT and Stanford

Businesses and companies involving insurance, banking, and health care have to adhere to numerous laws and regulations to stay within compliance of said laws and regulations. To ensure that these businesses and companies are remaining within compliance, they are developing compliance departments that assure the organization is meeting the requirements of the laws and regulations.

Best Compliance Management Degrees + Online MBA Masters vs Bachelors (7)

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Online Master’s Degree

  • Master of Legal Studies in Corporate and Health Care Compliance

For more information about this corporate and health care compliance degree program visit the school direct.

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Business professionals who want to earn an advanced degree in this field often choose to earn a master’s degree online. This allows you to earn your degree largely on your own time and schedule. Also, you can usually complete most or all of the degree from the comfort of your own home.

A good choice for an online master’s is the Online Executive Master of Science in Financial Crime and Compliance Management at Utica College.

This online degree is tailored for professionals with experience in the economic crime discipline. It will equip you with the financial fraud and compliance skills that you need to become a fraud investigator, financial examiner, loss prevention manager, auditor, accountant or compliance manager.

This executive master’s program at Utica College combines management, technology and analysis with the understanding and knowledge of economic crimes from an international perspective. This degree program will teach you how to detect a financial crime; how to perform a professional fraud analysis; how to investigate fraud crimes; and how to assess and respond to economic threats.

The curriculum includes these courses:

  • Financial Investigations
  • Fraud Management
  • Information and Communication Security
  • Networks and Internet Security
  • Advanced Fraud Analysis
  • Financial Crime and Compliance Management Overview

Compliance Management Bachelor’s Degree

To become employed in compliance management in the financial sector, you can earn a bachelor’s degree in fields such as finance, economics or accounting. If you are looking for a career in compliance management in healthcare, you may choose to earn your bachelor’s in healthcare management or a related field.

Compliance Management Master’s Degree

To move up the career ladder more quickly, earning a master’s degree in compliance management or regulatory compliance is a popular move. Some of the typical courses covered in these programs are regulatory compliance, banking law, compliance failures, consumer compliance, financial records, funding financial institutions, international banking, torts and contracts.

Compliance Management Degree Admission Requirements

All universities have their own admission requirements, and some master’s programs may be especially rigorous. For the aforementioned master’s program at Utica College, these are the requirements:

  • Official bachelor’s transcripts
  • Personal statement
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Employee support letter
  • 0 GPA
  • No standardized test scores required (GMAT, GRE)

Compliance Management Degree Financial Assistance

Earning a master’s degree in compliance management or a related field is a substantial financial and time commitment. For people who are getting a degree while they are working and supporting a family, how to pay for it is a major consideration. There is a growing need for compliance management professionals in the US today, so there are a number of good grants and scholarships available to help you to finance your studies. The opportunities listed below can be used at most universities, but there are also scholarships that are specific to many universities. It is recommended to consult with your university’s financial aid office to determine if there are grant and scholarships that can help you:

  • Sharps Compliance Scholarship Program: This is a $1500 scholarship for students who are studying various types of healthcare compliance programs.
  • Association of Insurance Compliance Scholarship: This organization offers three $1500 scholarships each year for students in risk management, compliance, statistics, business, economics and actuarial science.
  • Accounting and Financial Women’s Alliance Scholarship: This is an undergraduate scholarship that is offered to women who are studying finance or accounting.
  • American Society of Women Accountants: This is a $2000 scholarship that is offered to women who are studying accounting or a related field.
  • Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship: This is a $10,000 scholarship that is given to students who are earning either a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in finance or a related field, who want to become Certified Fraud Examiners.

Compliance Management Degree Certifications

Professionals who are interested in compliance management and related fields may want to consider earning these certifications:

  • Certified Compliance and Ethics Professional (CCEP)
  • Certified Risk and Compliance Management Professional (CRCMP)
  • Certified Forensic Accountant (CRFAC)
  • Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE)
  • Certified Regulatory Compliance Manager (CRCM)

Compliance Management Degree Associations

Consider these associations for growing your career in compliance management and related fields:

  • Regulatory Compliance Association
  • International Association of Risk and Compliance Professionals
  • International Compliance Professionals Association
  • Risk Management Society
  • Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics
  • Health Care Compliance Association

The compliance management field is growing at a rapid pace, as there is greater focus on regulatory and legal compliance in the financial and healthcare sectors in particular. With a degree in this growing area, you will be able to find plenty of good work opportunities for years to come.


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Is a Masters in compliance worth it? ›

Yes, a master's degree in compliance is worth it for many students. Laws and regulations change rapidly, and organizations can face serious criminal, financial, and social consequences if they don't comply. The demand for knowledgeable compliance professionals will likely remain high.

What degree is best for compliance? ›

Common majors for aspiring compliance officers include accounting, business, economics, finance, legal studies, management, and manufacturing.

Is A Master's degree better than a bachelor's degree? ›

Is It Better To Get a Bachelor's Degree or a Master's Degree? Both a bachelor's degree and a master's degree can offer rewarding learning and career opportunities. However, you may consider it advantageous to earn a master's degree if it aligns with your personal goals and is required in your career field.

Is a Master's degree in business management worth it? ›

An MBA is only worth the expense, time, and effort when the graduate plans to work in a business-related field, in management, or as a company founder. An MBA may not be useful for those working in other industries unless they are in management or leadership roles. Not all MBA degrees are created equal.

Is an MBA Good for compliance? ›

Since a compliance officer's pay can range so drastically, holding an advanced degree like an MBA may be helpful in negotiating a higher salary.

Can you make a lot of money in compliance? ›

Compliance Officers made a median salary of $71,650 in 2021.

What are the highest paying compliance jobs? ›

High Paying Compliance Specialist Jobs
  • Senior Compliance Analyst. Salary range: $78,000-$112,500 per year. ...
  • IT Compliance Analyst. ...
  • Regulatory and Compliance Technician. ...
  • Compliance Quality Performance Analyst. ...
  • Compliance Analyst. ...
  • Compliance Associate. ...
  • Compliance Testing Analyst. ...
  • Compliance Examiner.

Is a career in compliance in demand? ›

Job security for top compliance professionals

The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that employment of financial examiners is projected to grow 18% by 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Is compliance a tough job? ›

Compliance may well be more stressful than many other occupations. It may be more stressful than the average job. Compliance officers may experience mental health issues at higher rates, report higher instances of depression, anxiety or burnout and enjoy less professional fulfillment than others.

Which is harder to get a Masters or bachelors? ›

In general, master's degree programs are more difficult than undergraduate programs. That's because they build on existing concepts and skills.

Is Masters much harder than bachelors? ›

"There is no denying that a postgraduate course is harder than an undergraduate course. You will have to put in a lot more work than what you have previously. If you expect and prepare to put in a lot of work, you will find it easier when it comes to doing it, which will then be reflected in your results."

Do Masters get paid more than bachelors? ›

Master's degree

The earnings increase from the bachelor's level to the master's level is approximately 20%. Specifically, the median income for master's degree holders is $77,844 per year, and the unemployment rate is 2%.

Is it better to get a Masters degree or MBA? ›

While the MBA is suited to students from any academic or professional background who want greater career flexibility, management roles, or business ownership, Masters programmes are the better option for students who want highly specialised knowledge in a specific area.

Who earns more MBA or Masters? ›

Higher pay scale

The average income for an individual with an MBA program is much higher than a person with an MS program. You can expect to earn a lot when you have an MBA degree.

Is an MBA harder than a Masters? ›

Is an MBA harder than a master's? The difficulty of a program depends entirely on the institution. Both an MBA and master's in business are graduate-level programs, and meet the same rigorous academic standards.

Should I get an MBA as a CPA? ›

We think that an MBA can absolutely be worth it for accountants. Despite being a business-focused degree, an MBA can be built to specialize in the area of accounting, making it easier to incorporate your career goals into an MBA program.

Does an MBA satisfy CPA requirements? ›

An MBA can help students who wish to take the CPA exam meet the educational requirements with a broad approach that encompasses many aspects of business. This is often a desirable route to CPA licensure because of the many benefits of a comprehensive MBA degree.

Do employers care about MBA accreditation? ›

Do Employers Care About MBA Accreditation? Yes. Employers often consider MBA accreditation because it guarantees the quality of your degree and measures the potential impact you may bring to their organization. Earning an unaccredited degree may not qualify you for the roles you want.

Is compliance in high demand? ›

Is now a good time to look for a new compliance job? The high level of demand that exists in the sector will no doubt encourage some compliance professionals to consider new roles.

How much does a compliance MD make? ›

The average salary for a Compliance Director is £128,314 in London, UK.

Is working in compliance stressful? ›

Compliance officers often deal with a high degree of stress. Worries include keeping up with new laws and regulations, preventing compliance and ethics violations, and remediating compliance and ethics violations.

What 3 fields have the highest paid salaries? ›

Here are the highest paying jobs of 2023:
  • Anesthesiologist: $208,000.
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon: $208,000.
  • Obstetrician and Gynecologist: $208,000.
  • Surgeon: $208,000.
  • Orthodontist: $208,000.
  • Physician: $208,000.
  • Psychiatrist: $208,000.

What is the #1 highest paid position? ›

Highest-Paying Careers
RankOccupationTypical Education
1Obstetricians and GynecologistsDoctoral or professional degree
1Ophthalmologists, Except PediatricDoctoral or professional degree
1Oral and Maxillofacial SurgeonsDoctoral or professional degree
8 more rows

What is the career path for compliance? ›

Compliance jobs are often in financial services, healthcare, and telecommunications. Compliance officers often need knowledge of ethical practices in their industries. Degrees in engineering, law, and chemistry, as well as economics, finance, and management, are often part of an education in compliance.

Does compliance fall under HR? ›

Compliance is among the critical functions of any HR department. You are tasked with making sure that hiring practices, workplace rules, treatment of employees, and a variety of other factors all comply with the relevant laws.

Do you need a degree to work in compliance? ›

Typically, a bachelor's degree is the bare minimum education a compliance officer must have. There is no specific compliance officer degree. In many cases, people looking to pursue a compliance officer career will earn a bachelor's degree in criminal justice, finance or business.

What are the two levels of compliance? ›

There are two main types of compliance that denote where the framework is coming from: corporate and regulatory. Both corporate and regulatory compliance consist of a framework of rules, regulations and practices to follow.

Why do compliance Programs Fail? ›

Compliance programs can also fail when denied adequate human and financial resources. It's crucial to make sure that your organization spends enough time and money on your compliance efforts. Likewise, ineffective use of technological resources can lead to failure in compliance programs.

What are the biggest challenges in compliance? ›

Biggest challenges faced by compliance in 2023
  • Climate change & ESG.
  • Cost of living & vulnerable customer management.
  • Employment & corporate culture.
  • Third-party risk.
  • Employee mental health & wellbeing.
  • Cybercrime.
  • Sanctions check.
  • Employee-first culture.
Jan 11, 2023

How do you ace a compliance interview? ›

Interview tips for today's compliance job market
  1. Do your legwork up front. Always do the research ahead of time so you know exactly who will be interviewing you. ...
  2. Dress the part. ...
  3. Talk like a compliance pro. ...
  4. Have answers for these common compliance interview questions.

Do masters degrees matter anymore? ›

Having a master's degree may be very good for your job prospects. In fact, there are some jobs that outright require them. If you're looking for work as a statistician, political scientist, biomedical engineer, or speech-language pathologist, a master's degree is often expected.

Does Bachelor GPA matter for Masters? ›

Does GPA Matter for Grad School? Yes, your undergraduate GPA is taken into account when you apply to graduate programs. Most colleges like to see at least a 2.5 or a 3.0 from master's program applicants. Some programs set their minimums at 3.3 or higher.

What is the hardest master's degree? ›

What are the hardest degree subjects? The hardest degree subjects are Aerospace Engineering, Law, Chartered Accountancy, Architecture, Chemistry, Medicine, Pharmacy, Psychology, Statistics, Nursing, Physics, Astrophysics, Biomedical Engineering, Astronomy, and Dentistry.

What is the easiest masters degree to get? ›

Following is the list of easiest masters degrees that one can choose to specialize in.
  • Masters of Fine Arts (MFA)
  • Masters of Arts (MA)
  • Masters in Mass Communication.
  • Masters of Psychology.
  • Masters of Finance.
  • Masters of Human Resource Management (MHRM)
  • Masters of Business Administration (MBA)
  • Masters of Science (MSc)

Is it better to have 2 degrees or a Masters? ›

If you're looking to branch out into a new subject area, a second Masters degree may be a better choice. If your goal is to acquire new skills for the purpose of widening your career options, a second Masters degree would, again, be the better option.

Why are masters cheaper than bachelors? ›

Financial aid benefits graduate students, making it less expensive than undergraduate school. Graduate students can get help with tuition from their employers, the government can decide to work for the college as teaching assistants, or even get grants for the specific field they're interested in studying.

Which Master degree is most valuable in USA? ›

What Are the Highest Paying Masters Degrees?
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA)
  • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
  • Master of Science in Information Technology.
  • Master of Science in Engineering Management.
  • Master of Science in Marketing.
  • Master of Science in Petroleum Engineering.
  • Master of Science in Finance.
Dec 18, 2022

What is the starting salary after MBA? ›

An MBA professional in India can earn a starting salary of Rs. 10-12 lakhs per year. The average starting salary for an MBA graduate in India is Rs. 9 lakhs per year.

Should I get my masters right after my bachelors? ›

There are many benefits to pursuing graduate school immediately following college. As we said, the sooner you begin, the sooner you'll finish. Graduate school is a long haul, and an early start can help reduce the effect of prolonged study on your personal life.

Is MBA more important than bachelors? ›

For those interested in becoming business professionals, a degree in business is a necessity. While a baccalaureate is a minimum requirement for many jobs, those who are motivated to work their way up to more senior level positions and increase their earning potential should consider earning an MBA.

Which MBA has highest salary in US? ›

Top MBA Programs with the Highest Graduate Salaries
SchoolCountryAvg. salary (3 months post-grad, US$)
Harvard Business SchoolUnited States$148,750
The University of Chicago Booth School of BusinessUnited States$145,000
Simon Business SchoolUnited States$142,000
12 more rows

Is an MBA a real master's degree? ›

Technically, any Master's in the field of business administration is an MBA. After all, the acronym stands for Master in Business Administration.

Which master's degree is most in demand? ›

The 10 Most In-Demand Master's Degrees for Employers
  • Accounting. Master's degrees in accounting prepare students to work as accountants. ...
  • Computer Science. ...
  • Dietetics and Nutrition. ...
  • Human Resources. ...
  • Library Science. ...
  • Mechanical Engineering. ...
  • Mathematics and Statistics. ...
  • Nursing.

Which branch of MBA is highly paid? ›

Three of the most paid MBA specialisations include- MBA in Business Analytics, MBA in Finance and MBA in Entrepreneurship. The salaries for each of these disciplines broadly lie in the range of 70,000 USD to 90,000 USD or 60,00,000 INR to 90,00,000 INR per annum.

What type of MBA makes the most money? ›

An MBA concentration helps students focus their degree and prepare for specialized career paths. The highest-paying MBA concentrations include consulting, finance, and technology.

What is the hardest part of an MBA? ›

The hardest part of an MBA program – Prioritizing
  1. Time management. Learn to use different tools to organize your time. ...
  2. Business course preparation. The International MBA curriculum is meant to challenge you to learn new skills and expertise. ...
  3. Career connections.
Dec 8, 2017

Is an MBA a lot of math? ›

Although most of your MBA math courses will not require a great deal of mathematical calculations, it is important to understand that you will have to work with numbers and apply mathematical principles such as averages, percentages and ratios throughout your online MBA program.

How many hours a week is a full-time MBA? ›

Full-time MBA Program

While full-time MBA programs may mean that you could have a day of classes that only runs three hours, this program isn't meant to accommodate a busy work schedule. Most full-time programs will have students devoting 40 hours per week to their studies.

Is Masters better than CPA? ›

Getting a CPA License is a Must in Certain Industries

For most industries, getting a master's degree is not a must. However, you need a CPA license to move beyond the manager level in any reputable CPA firm. A CPA license also becomes almost necessary once you move to senior finance positions in big companies.

Should I pursue a career in compliance? ›

Compliance is an occupation with a lot of career advancement potential. It often covers interesting work with an important objective to protect the organization from within. Salary levels are also attractive compared to Operations, Risk and administrative Legal positions.

Is compliance manager a stressful job? ›

Compliance officers often deal with a high degree of stress. Worries include keeping up with new laws and regulations, preventing compliance and ethics violations, and remediating compliance and ethics violations.

Which pays more CPA or MBA? ›

CPA vs MBA: Salary

The average starting salary for an MBA graduate is $73,417. Starting salaries often range between $40,000 and $98,500 depending on the state that you work in. For an entry-level CPA, the average starting salary is $60,697.

Who earns more CPA or MBA? ›

Salary expectations

The mean salary for a Public Accountant in India ranges between INR 3.61 LPA and INR 10 LPA. The average base salary for a graduate in MBA Finance in India is INR 7.62 LPA.

Which is harder MBA or CPA? ›

CPA vs MBA: Salaries

Becoming a CPA takes longer is much more involved. You must have completed 150 undergraduate credit hours and some states requirement that you must also have a given number of hours worked under the direct supervision of a CPA.

What is the salary of head of compliance? ›

The average salary for a Head of Compliance is £100,631 in London, UK.

What kind of people work in compliance? ›

Compliance jobs are often in financial services, healthcare, and telecommunications. Compliance officers often need knowledge of ethical practices in their industries. Degrees in engineering, law, and chemistry, as well as economics, finance, and management, are often part of an education in compliance.


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