Well now, it’s time for another major announcement. And sorry, but this one is coming a couple months late.
As you know, I’ve been feeling trapped and confused in a retail banking job for a long time. Without going into details, I’ve been looking to escape the sales/customer service environment–and resulting low pay–that you get when you work in a bank.
Well, unfortunately I’m still there. But I’ve indicated here that I’ve wanted to move soon into a Compliance/AML role.
And so, as of this very late 2017………..
I am now a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist!
I Am CAMS
A Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS) is someone who passed the exam given by–and is a member in good standing with–the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS).
ACAMS is the most trusted name in the AML world. The CAMS designation is the designation to get. Getting the CAMS and having your local ACAMS chapter behind you can be a powerful tool to breaking into the AML field.
They have monthly networking events, webinars, and other education events. I’ve already been to one event and met some influencers in the field. I now have some contacts who are keeping their eyes and ears open for me.
If this blog wasn’t anonymous, I would try to use it to help other job seekers, speakers, and educators, as well as to partner up and enhance each other’s brands. Maybe I can, but I’d have to figure out how to do it in secret.
Anyhoo, I’ve now established my AML chops. I passed a very difficult exam, earned a very prestigious certification, and now am looking to find a very well paying job in the field.
The average midpoint starting salary in this field is about $79,000. The difference between median salaries of CAMS and non-CAMS employees is about $25,000 ($80,000 for CAMS vs $65,000 for non-CAMS). And even ACAMS’ own salary calculator indicates that an entry level position in this field can pay an average of $43,000/year to someone who doesn’t have CAMS.
That second article I linked to in the previous paragraph also mentioned job satisfaction among certified AML professionals. Between a possible score of 0 (indicating that you work at Hampton DeVille from Comedy Central’s Corporate) to 100 (indicating that you work in Heaven), the industry scored a 97 in overall job satisfaction. And there are myriads of reasons that the importance of job satisfaction in today’s workforce must be taken into account by employers and employees alike. It’s just as important as your salary.
I bet the retail banking industry doesn’t have such a high score, especially considering that I’ve never met a branch employee that didn’t tolerate their job at best.
Of course, I’m still in retail banking. I’m still getting rejected from job applications, I’m still getting no’s after interviews, and I still have no job prospects right now. And this was an expensive certification to get. Almost $2,000 just to take the exam, plus fees to renew your certification and membership every 1-3 years.
One could say it’s a risk to take with your money. One could call it a risk.
I would call in an investment.
Investing in stocks and bonds aren’t the only way to invest your money. Investing in yourself through education and certification can have just as powerful of a return on your investment as any rental property or P2P lending.
It’s an investment to help me break into an industry where maybe I can make a difference. Probably not, but better than a lifetime of issuing debit cards and refunding fees.
Whatever The Future Holds, Said Future Will Come
Whatever that means.
Oh right. I can’t predict the future. I don’t know how long I’ll be in my miserable retail banking job. I don’t know how much money my next job will pay me, what my work and stress levels will be like, what my commute will be like, or if I’ll even be any good.
But I know that staying where I am now will keep me stressed, miserable, and underpaid. And I don’t feel like I have any chance of moving forward professionally, even if I were given a promotion to Branch Supervisor or Assistant Manager.
After a couple years in entry level positions, I don’t really feel like customer service helps you grow as a person.
But becoming a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist helped me grow as a person. Helped me become more knowledgeable and insightful. I now know way more about the movement of money, criminal tactics, and how to stop these criminals. It even helped me form insights into other issues that are similar or connected to this field.
Becoming a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist is also something that will help me grow professionally. It will help me grow by increasing my chances to enter a field dedicated to stopping criminals, by giving me a leg up in salary negotiations, and by helping me network and form new connections with other like-minded individuals in my field.
I’ve earned my CAMS designation, the premier designation in the AML field. The next step? An AML career.
Readers–What do YOU think!? Will the CAMS designation help me break into the AML field? Or did I waste my time and money? Should I even go into AML, or am I suffering from “the grass is always on the other side” and am missing the value of a retail banking career? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!