Customs Import Specialist

Make sure import laws are followed.
picture of Customs Import Specialist

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$39,000 – $119,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Customs Import Specialists do?

A pair of pants is made in India and sized to fit an American woman. Poof! It appears in a department store, ready for sale.

A Customs Import Specialist’s work takes place within that poof. It’s not magic, though; it’s making sure the imports are shipped here legally.

Shipments that come into this country bring large amounts of paperwork with them, detailing where the items were made, who’s shipping them, and who’s buying them. As a Customs Import Specialist, you review that paperwork in your office, and determine how much the buyer and seller should pay in taxes for the shipments.

Sometimes, you drive down to the warehouse or shipping dock and inspect shipments yourself. While you might appreciate the opportunity to leave your office, climbing shipping containers can be dusty, dirty work, and you leave your designer clothes at home on those days.

If you spot a shipment that contains banned materials, or discover that an importer is breaking the law in some other way, you impound the shipment. Law enforcement steps in to press charges as soon as you notify them, and you write a report about what you’ve found. If the person appears in court, you testify. Wearing designer clothes is perfectly appropriate on these days.

While you might enjoy dressing up and appearing in court as an expert, you won’t appreciate the extra paperwork that these cases require. Educating people so they won’t break the law is more effective, and so most Customs Import Specialists choose to advise importers on how to do their jobs legally.


Should I be a Customs Import Specialist?

You should have an associate's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.

  • Also known as: Import Specialist

    How to Become a
    Customs Import Specialist

    We recommend at least an Associate's degree. Check out these schools offering Customs Import Specialist-related education!
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