The Compliance Certifications Decoder!

Today as a public service to the compliance, audit, and internal control community, we address one of the eternal questions managers face as they build their risk and compliance teams or plot their own next career move.

What do all those certifications on someone’s LinkedIn profile actually mean?

Seriously — I’ve connected to some compliance professionals with more than two dozen capital letters after their name. The record that I’ve seen is eight credentials, totalling 30 letters, proudly listed by Murali Chandrasekhar, a cloud security and compliance whiz currently working at Google. And I’m sure his profile isn’t the craziest one out there.

To decode the madness, then, we’ve created a list of compliance, audit, and risk certifications: what each acronym means, and who issues it. You can see the list at the end of this post, and we’ve added them as a spreadsheet on the Resources part of this blog, too.

Sifting through my contacts, I found more than 50 certifications with some relevance to compliance, audit, and risk management. The list below is somewhat logically grouped, with the most important or most common certifications listed first, the more exotic ones further down.

certificationsHow credible are these distinctions? You tell me. For example, I sometimes see job postings for compliance officers that require or encourage the CCEP (certified ethics and compliance professional), issued by the Society of Corporate Compliance & Ethics. Other times, recruiters have told me that the only certifications that matter are the JD law degree and the CPA accounting license. (Those two are so common we did not include them here.)

There can be some confusion about duplicative acronyms, too. For example, we found CSOE twice — “certified Sarbanes-Oxley expert” and “cyber security operations engineer.” The second seemed too IT-focused to include here, but you’ll see the same acronym for both certifications if you search LinkedIn long enough.

And why do we list these incomprehensible jumbles of letters at all? Once upon a time, it was just to indicate how pretentious and self-important you were. Now automated recruiting software uses certification acronyms as search terms, so you have to include them to make your resume findable among the many millions out there online.

We will try to update this list from time to time, since many more relevant certifications exist. If you see that we’ve missed an acronym proudly displayed on your LinkedIn profile, drop me a line at [email protected] and let me know — or, of course, send me a note on LinkedIn.

Certifications Decoder

Certification What does it stand for? Who issues it?
CCEP Certified Compliance & Ethics Professional Society of Corporate Compliance & Ethics (SCCE)
CCEP-I Certified Compliance & Ethics Professional-International Society of Corporate Compliance & Ethics (SCCE)
CCSA Certified in Control Self-Assessment Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA)
LPEC Leadership Professional in Ethics & Compliance Ethics & Compliance Initiative (ECI)
GRCP GRC Professional Open Compliance and Ethics Group (OCEG)
CFSA Certified Financial Services Auditor Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA)
CGAP Certified Government Auditing Professional Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA)
CIA Certified Internal Auditor Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA)
CRMA Certified in Risk Management Assurance Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA)
QIAL Qualification in Internal Audit Leadership Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA)
CBCP Certifiied Business Continuity Professional Disaster Recovery Institute International
CrFA Certified Forensic Accountant Institute of Certified Forensic Accountants
FCPA Forensic Certified Public Accountant Forensic CPA Society
CCP Certified Compliance Professional Frankfurt School of Finance and Management
CICP Certified Internal Control Professional Internal Control Institute
CICS Certified Internal Control Specialist Internal Control Institute
CIPP Certified Information Privacy professional International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP)
CIPP-E Certified Information Privacy Professional-Europe International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP)
CIPP-US Certified Information Privacy Professional-US International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP)
AICA Associate Member of the International Compliance Association International Compliance Association (ICA)
CHC Certified in Healthcare Compliance Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA)
CHPC Certified in Healthcare Privacy Compliance Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA)
CHRC Certified in Healthcare Research Compliance Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA)
CCSFP Certified Common Security Framework Practitioner HITRUST Alliance
CGEIT Certified in Governance of Enterprise IT Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA)
CISM Certified Information Security Manager Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA)
CISA Certified Information Systems Auditor Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA)
CRISC Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA)
CSOE Certified Sarbanes-Oxley Expert Sarbanes-Oxley Association
CAMS Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS)
CFE Certified Fraud Examiner Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE)
CPC Certified Professional Coder American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC)
CPC-A Certified Professional Coder-Apprentice American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC)
CPCO Certified Professional Compliance Officer American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC)
CPMA Certified Professional Medical Auditor American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC)
CCT Certified Compliance Technician American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management
CRIP Certified Revenue Integrity Professional American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management
CPHRM Certified Professional in Healthcare American Hospital Association
CPHQ Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality National Association for Healthcare Quality
CHA Certified Healthcare Auditor American Institute of Healthcare Compliance
RHIT Registered Health Information Technician American Health Information Management Association
CCIE Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert Cisco Systems
CRCM Certified Regulatory Compliance Manager American Bankers Association
CERP Certified Enterprise Risk Professional American Bankers Association
IACCP Investment Adviser Certified Compliance Professional Investment Adviser Association
CISSP Certified Information Systems Security Professional International Information System Security Certificate Consortium
FITSP-A Federal IT Security Professional-Auditor Federal IT Security Institute (FITSI)
GISF GIAC Information Security Fundamentals Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC)
CIMP Certified Identity Management Professional Identity Management Institute
CISCGC Certified Islamic Specialist in Corporate Governance and Compliance General Council for Islamic Banks and Institution (CIBAFI)
CSSGB Certified Six Sigma Green Belt American Society for Quality
FCCA Fellowship of Chartered Certified accountants Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
CAIA Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Association (CAIA)
CRCP Certified Regulatory and Compliance Professional FINRA Institute at Georgetown
ITIL Information Technology Infrastructure Library Axelos
CFS Certified Fund Specialist Institute of Business & Finance
PMP Project Management Professional Project Management Institute
CSM Certified ScrumMaster Scrum Alliance


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