Fraud Examination: Salary and Career Facts

Explore the career requirements for fraud examiners. Get the facts about educational requirements, key duties, career outlook and salary to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Auditing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a Fraud Examiner Do?

Fraud examiners or investigators may work as either accountants or examiners for insurance corporations, accounting firms or other businesses. They evaluate the financial records or organizations to search for evidence of fraud or mismanagement. If they are working internally for a single organization, they will report instances of fraud to the company's leader, and they may offer advice on possible ways to deal with the problem. However, if they are working for an external oversight body, fraud examiners may inform the authorities if they encounter evidence of fraud.

The table below provides important information about becoming a fraud examiner.

Insurance Examiners and Investigators Forensic Accountants
Degree Required Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Business administration Accounting, fraud investigation, forensic accounting
Key Skills Detailed investigation of potentially fraudulent cases Detailed investigation of potentially fraudulent cases
Licensure Required Licensure required by some states; Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) credential available Licensure required by some states; Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) and Certified Public Accountant (CPA) credentials available
Job Growth (2014-2024) 3% for all claims adjusters, examiners and investigators* 11% for all accountants and auditors*
Average Salary (2015) $64,300 for all claims adjusters, examiners and investigators* $75,280 for accountants and auditors*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What Is Fraud Examination?

Fraud examiners, also known as fraud investigators or forensic accountants, may work for insurance companies, business or accounting firms. While your specific duties will often depend upon where you work, you will be directly involved with some aspect of the investigative process. You can also work in fraud examination as an accountant or private detective.

What Education Will I Need?

You may consider a program that will cover insurance, business, fraud investigation, accounting and other related areas, such as the Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting Fraud Investigation. Some employers also require on-the-job training.

If you have a background in accounting or a business-related field, you can also pursue a certificate program in fraud examination to supplement your training. Although not required by all employers, you can also apply your education to pursuing the voluntary Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) credential.

What Are The Licensure and Certification Requirements?

If you work in fraud examination as an accountant or private investigator, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that you may need to meet additional qualifications (www.bls.gov). This can mean completing a bachelor's degree program and passing a written examination to become a Certified Public Accountant. The BLS notes that licensing requirements for investigators vary by state, but can include having an educational and professional background in justice, political science or criminal law.

What Salary Can I Expect to Earn?

In 2015, the BLS reported that claims adjusters, examiners and investigators earned an annual average salary of $64,300, and the greatest number employed in this area worked for insurance carriers. BLS also reported that job growth for claims adjusters, examiners and investigators was anticipated to be about 3% between 2014 and 2024, which is slower than average. However, those working for insurance carriers were anticipated to see the most job opportunities.

Additionally, some of those working in fraud examination are accountants and auditors. In 2015, the BLS reported that accountants and auditors earned an average annual income of $75,280. Between 2014 and 2024, accountants and auditors were expected to see about average growth of around 11%.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Instead of working as a fraud examiner, you could get a job as a different kind of accountant. For example, you could find a position as a management accountant, where you would work internally within a business or organization. Your job would be to assess the organization's financial status and prepare reports with recommendations regarding investments, budgeting and performance improvements. A bachelor's degree is the minimum educational requirement for this position. Alternatively, you could become and information technology auditor. In this specialized position, you would be responsible for controlling a company's computer systems to make sure that financial data is secure and reliable. An information technology auditor also needs to have a bachelor's degree, as well as expertise in both finance and computer science.

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