Compliance Officers and Inspectors
Education & Training
To work as a compliance officer or inspector, you typically need to:
- have a high school diploma or GED;
- have a bachelor's degree; and
- complete moderate-term on-the-job training.
Education after high school
The required education for a compliance officer or inspector varies, depending on your area of interest.
You need a bachelor's degree or higher for many environmental compliance jobs. Your major should be in biology, chemistry, physical science, or sanitation.
Government inspectors often need at least a bachelor's degree. Areas that may be helpful include public administration and sociology.
A high school diploma and related work experience can qualify you for some jobs, such as driver's license examiner and pressure vessel inspector.
Work experience in related occupations can qualify you for some specialties. However, most of these jobs have very specific educational requirements that cannot be offset by work experience.
Employers provide formal and informal training in areas such as safety, interviewing techniques, and inspection procedures. As you progress through training, you receive assignments that are more complicated. The length of training varies by area of expertise. In general, you will receive up to one year of on-the-job training.
Some branches of the military train people to become environmental health and safety specialists or officers. For specialists, training lasts from 11 to 19 weeks, depending on your specialty. Additional training occurs on the job. Initial training is not offered for officers. They need at least a bachelor's degree to enter the military occupation. Most training is on the job.
Fields of Study (What to study to prepare for this career)
Click on any of the Fields of Study listed below to find out more about preparing for this career.
- Agricultural Production Operations
- Aviation Maintenance Technology
- Biological Sciences, General
- Environmental Health
- Fire Protection Technology
- Health Services Administration
- Occupational Safety and Health
- Physical Sciences, General
- Plant Science
- Public and Community Health
Level of Education
The table below lists the level of education attained by a subset of workers in this occupation. The workers surveyed were between age 25 and 44.
|Education level attained||Percentage of workers in this occupation*|
|Less than high school diploma||1|
|High school diploma or equivalent||12|
|Some college, no degree||20|
|Doctoral (Ph.D.) or professional degree||4|
* National data for compliance officers (SOC 13-1041).
Helpful High School Courses
In high school, take classes that prepare you for college. A college preparatory curriculum may be different from your state's graduation requirements.
You should also consider taking some advanced courses in high school. This includes Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses if they are available in your school. If you do well in these courses, you may receive college credit for them. Advanced courses can also strengthen your college application.
Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this occupation include:
- Business Law
- Computer Applications
- Consumer Law
- Driver Education
The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.
You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.
Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career.
Source: Minnesota Department of Education.