Career Advice on How to Become A Customs Inspector

General Career Information

Customs inspectors inspect all sorts of physical property as it moves across borders.  This can range from inspecting bags to cargo or even vessels and airplanes.  One easy way of visualizing what a custom inspector does is to imagine anything that can move across a border, and then imagine the customs inspector potentially taking a look at it.  If you are in the middle of career planning and are interested in what people take with them on trips and out of the country, then its going to be tough for you to find a more interesting job than this one.

Career Facts:

While customs inspectors clearly inspect people, material and cargo as a key part of their job, the duties of a customs inspector are pretty vast.  Customs inspectors are expected to perform a variety of tasks.  Inspecting of cargo, bags and transportation vehicles occupy a great deal of their time.  The job has a secondary layer that centers around what steps they must take when laws have been violated.  They are expected to work closely with law enforcement are might even be needed to testify in court.  Some of their other duties may be less obvious, such as collecting duties and taxes on goods and keeping records.


Career Opportunities and Job Outlook- Average:

Those looking to be customs inspectors will be well served if they are bilingual and have college degrees.  Additionally, those who have law enforcement or military experience are also going to have an edge when apply for work as a customs inspector.  The more experience that applicants have either in the military or in law enforcement, the better their chances for eventual employment will be.
Job Outlook is Fair

A Day in The Life:

Much of a customs inspector’s day will be spent examining cargo, bags and vehicles as they move across borders.  When some infraction of the law takes place, they will work closely with law enforcement and receive the training necessary to do so.  On one level, the job may seem straightforward, but there are many layers of complexity that add up to make this a job that can be a difficult one.  There is a good deal of information to deal with and keep track of on a regular basis.

Average Salary:

The average salary for a customs inspector is about $49,000, with the top ten percent of customs inspectors earning about $75,000 per year.  The bottom ten percent of customs inspectors earns, on average, about $29,000 per year.



Career Training and Qualifications:

What else is necessary before beginning a job search?  A college degree is not required to work as a custom inspector.  However, work experience such as law enforcement and military can play a significant role in the hiring process.  However, all custom inspectors are required to have a high school diploma.  Once an applicant is hired, extensive additional training is necessary due to the complexities of the job.
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