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How to Advance Your Compliance Career

compliance careerCompanies and businesses across every industry are contending with multiple factors that affect their compliance and the need for risk management. New privacy regulations that have global reach and unprecedented ransomware and cyber attacks are part of the cause. The considerable portion of the population working remotely for nearly two years due to the pandemic is also a factor. Compliance and risk management are at the forefront of organizations’ plans and procedures, putting your compliance career in high demand.

Organizations are looking for trained experts to not only manage compliance and assess risks, they are also looking for ways to improve their existing compliance programs. The Seattle U Master of Legal Studies in Compliance and Risk Management online program prepares students to lead compliance efforts in any organization, regardless of the industry. The program will provide you with the legal knowledge and analytical skills that are required to understand how laws and regulations impact organizations.

Industries in Need of Compliance Assistance and Legal Knowledge

Any company that conducts business needs to follow a code of ethics. Compliance concerns exist in every industry, but as laws and regulations shift, it is important to apply compliance with a conscience.

Depending on your professional goals and interests, you can optionally choose to focus on one of the following concentrations in our program:

Healthcare Compliance

The proper handling of patient data and patient privacy are important issues in the healthcare industry. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to govern how patient data is collected, stored, and shared. It requires the compliance of all healthcare professionals, hospitals, and facilities. 

The healthcare industry must also protect itself against fraud, data theft, and medical equipment being hacked, and deal with the challenges brought on by COVID-19. The industry needs people with expertise to create internal corporate policies that comply with government regulations.

The MLS in Compliance and Risk Management has several concentrations to fit your professional goals and interests. The healthcare compliance concentration prepares you to assist healthcare administration in maintaining compliance with laws and changing regulations.

In addition to fundamental courses such as Legal Analysis, Research, and Writing, and Introduction to the American Legal System, elective courses specifically focus on healthcare.

  • Healthcare Law explores the impact of fundamental federal regulations on healthcare professionals and organizations. 
  • The Healthcare Industry Compliance course teaches compliance with governmental regulations and internal corporate policies practiced by hospitals and managed care organizations. 
  • Healthcare Transactions Compliance examines the impacts of the pharmaceutical industry, explores promotional regulatory oversight, and digs into applicable laws regulating compliance.

Depending on your work background, you would be prepared to take on a variety of compliance careers in the healthcare industry, including:

  • Compliance Officer
  • Compliance Manager
  • Patient Privacy
  • Protection Specialist 
  • Compliance Auditor 
  • HIPAA compliance specialist
  • Privacy analyst
  • Ethics and compliance officer

Corporate Compliance

Corporate compliance ensures that a company adheres to every law, regulation, and ethical practice that pertains to its organization and industry. This compliance relates to both the company’s internal policies and local, state or federal laws. The purpose of these compliance rules is to help the company avoid fines or lawsuits. It is the company’s responsibility to make sure that its employees are fully aware of and follow the rules and regulations it sets.

Risks to a corporation come from internal and external sources. Quality control, employee behavior, corruption, and financial reporting are just a few examples. Corporations must comply with laws that pertain to internal and external risks, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the whistle-blower provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act, and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). 

Many companies need compliance procedures that adhere to industry-specific regulations. For instance, food safety, energy, manufacturing, and environmental protection are varied industries, but they all have compliance policies and procedures to follow. Each of these areas has specific laws that regulate its processes and functions. Corporate compliance responsibility not only prevents fines or lawsuits but also helps assure clients and customers that the company is ethical and can be trusted.

Learn more about how our online Master of Legal Studies with a concentration in corporate compliance prepares you for leadership roles in this growing and increasingly important field. Students will take courses including Foundations of Regulatory Compliance and Risk Management and Auditing. The elective courses take a closer look at industry-specific topics.

  • The Business Law Fundamentals course explores the regulations and processes that impact organizational corporate compliance. 
  • Corporate Compliance and Ethics helps you apply compliance with a conscience and hone your ethical judgment.
  • The Financial Privacy and Cybersecurity course looks into some of the most pressing compliance issues modern businesses face.  

The knowledge you gain will be invaluable in any industry or compliance position.  

A Corporate Compliance Officer can help identify compliance issues for specific companies or industries. Chief Corporate Compliance Officers look at a company’s compliance both internally and externally. They oversee a team of experts that encourage a culture of compliance within the company and guide a company to improve its performance, reduce the probability of lawsuits, and maintain its positive reputation.

In addition to this role, the online MLS program prepares you for several others:

  • Compliance Specialist 
  • Compliance Analyst 
  • Compliance Manager
  • Director of Corporate Compliance

Financial Compliance

Financial compliance is particularly important because of the myriad financial laws and regulations currently in place. Finance industry regulations cover more than just banks – they also include insurance companies, credit unions, lenders, and other financial-based businesses.

Compliance regulations involve state, federal, and international laws that may be relevant to a financial business. The laws cover a range of financial issues, from identity theft prevention (Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act) to anti-money laundering (Bank Secrecy Act). Depending on your business, it may be necessary to comply with these laws, international laws (Payment Services Directive), or industry-specific laws (Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act).

There are many opportunities for unethical behavior within the financial industry. Attempting to manipulate market price is one example. Failing to disclose the level of risk a client is taking in investments in another. The financial industry is closely regulated by federal laws, and companies and businesses need to be well-versed in those laws and regulations to ensure compliance.  

Along with Financial Privacy and Cybersecurity, several elective courses were created specifically for the financial industry.

  • Financial Fraud will help you understand how and why fraud is conducted and techniques for fraud detection and prevention.
  • Foundations of Privacy Law covers privacy laws for government organizations, non-government organizations, and individuals.

A compliance career in the financial industry usually begins with research into regulations, recent changes, and application to your business. The MLS in Compliance and Risk Management gives you a distinct advantage by helping you develop expertise with these regulations and providing an understanding of how to research and keep up with regulations. You will also gain the skills to create company policies that comply with your industry’s regulations and laws.

  • Compliance Officer, Investment Risk
  • Chief Compliance Officer 
  • Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Analyst II – Detections
  • Compliance Specialist 
  • Compliance Sr. Manager – Fair Lending
  • Compliance Analyst 

Data & Cybersecurity Compliance

In today’s world of connectivity, data is collected and stored almost exclusively online.  Each of the major compliance industries regularly interacts with data and cybersecurity laws.

A company’s internal data and cybersecurity compliance helps to reduce risks from outside sources. Data breaches, ransomware, viruses, malware, and phishing are just some of the cybersecurity threats companies face today and companies that fail to have proper compliance policies and procedures in place risk the exposure of their client’s data. But they may also face substantial fines for non-compliance.

Maintaining high levels of cybersecurity protection and compliance earns trust from clients and customers. They feel safe when they know that they can trust an organization or business with their information. Whether it’s health records or credit card information, data and cybersecurity compliance is vital to companies’ long-term viability. Careers in cybersecurity are in high demand and there aren’t enough trained cybersecurity professionals to meet that demand. Compliance specialists are also in need. The MLS concentration in data and cybersecurity compliance allows you to work at the intersection of both areas, with the added bonus of a legal background.  

  • The Foundations of Privacy Law course examines the laws and policies that protect personal privacy and explores how they change as new technologies emerge.
  • Data Breach and Response teaches ways to minimize the likelihood of breaches and how to guide your organization when such difficulties occur.
  • Investigate the intersection of financial privacy and cybersecurity through the applicable laws, regulations, policies, and legal concepts that impact them in the Financial Privacy and Cybersecurity course. 

The job opportunities are varied, and the possibilities for career advancement are numerous. These are some of the positions the MLS degree could help you move into, depending on your previous or current work experience.

  • Chief Information Security Officer
  • Data Protection Officer
  • Cybersecurity Program Analyst 
  • Cybersecurity Program Manager
  • Data Compliance Manager
  • Chief Compliance Officer 

How the MSL in Compliance and Risk Management Can Advance Your Compliance Career

Depending on professional goals and interests, students in the fully online program can optionally choose to focus on financial compliancehealthcare compliancecorporate compliance, or data & cybersecurity compliance. The MLS program provides opportunities to solve problems through a legal lens and gain foundational knowledge of the law, but without a JD. It prepares graduates to lead compliance efforts in any organization, regardless of industry. Students graduate with a commanding knowledge of the law, legal analysis, and the frameworks used to identify, assess, and respond to risk. The program’s values-based approach moves beyond a narrow sense of compliance and helps establish a sense of equity, justice, and inclusion.

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