Customs Port Director

Supervise customs workers and activities at a port.
picture of Customs Port Director

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$39,000 – $119,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Customs Port Directors do?

Every time a person, package, or entire shipment crosses into the United States—whether by air, land, or sea—it must be inspected. Customs Inspectors search for illegal substances and violations of the law. And the Customs Port Director directs these Officials and all other employees, as well as all activities that take place within his or her port of call.

This is a huge undertaking. Whether you work as a Customs Port Director in San Diego, Seattle, or Florida, there’s a constant influx of cargo and passengers flowing through the area. Each box, crate, or suitcase has the potential to contain a bomb or other terrorist device. If you’re the Customs Port Director, your crew carefully inspects these items using detectors, x-ray machines, and physical searches. Your goal is twofold: one is to process items and passengers as efficiently as possible, and the second is to confiscate any illegal items. These items range from non-native fruits to weapons to drugs. And as for the passengers, your job is to keep a sharp lookout for illegal immigrants.

As you can see, you’ve got your hands full. But you get a lot of help because you maintain a competent staff who are well-versed in procedures and customs laws. You all work for the federal government—the Department of Homeland Security, to be precise. Employees such as Import Specialists, Customs Brokerage Entry Writers, and Agriculture Specialists each play a key role in your success. So you communicate with them often, keep track of violations, understand budgetary factors, and process reports about the activities.

Should I be a Customs Port Director?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.

  • How to become a Customs Port Director

    Customs Port Directors 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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