Customs Inspector

Keep banned items from entering the country.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$39,000 – $119,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Customs Inspectors do?

Protecting a nation is a huge and multifaceted job. One important responsibility of that job is monitoring the products and persons moving in and out of the country. While this task is handled at many levels, Customs Inspectors are at the front lines in the effort to stop dangerous items at the border.

Your position as a Customs Inspector involves a degree of danger. While your goal is to move everyone along without incident, there’s always the chance of encountering a drug smuggler, terrorist, disgruntled immigrant, or other dangerous situation.

Most days, though, your gun stays in its holster and you use your keen sense of observation as your weapon. You verify identities, watch for fake documents, ask questions, and review claim forms. You also look for taxable items, drugs, and illicit produce. In addition, you use your decision-making skills to determine which vehicles, suitcases, or shipments deserve a more thorough inspection.

As a Customs Inspector, you might work at a border crossing, an airport, or a shipping marina. This job requires attention to detail, good communication skills, and extensive knowledge of import/export laws. Your teamwork skills also come in handy as you share responsibilities with Customs Patrol Officers, Customs Port Directors, and other Customs specialists.

While most of those you serve appreciate your efforts, you also encounter impatient, grouchy, and irritable people. They may not appreciate it, but you protect them, too.

Should I be a Customs Inspector?

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

  • Also known as: Drug Inspector, Evidence Custodian, Patrol Inspector

    How to become a Customs Inspector

    Customs Inspectors often have a Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:fpl9aa&chl=no+college+%2821%25%29|certificate+%2828%25%29|associate%27s+%288%25%29|bachelor%27s+%2842%25%29||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,21,42
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