How to Become a Customs Inspector

Learn how to become a customs inspector and gain work at the ports where ships come in from international destinations and international airports. The customs inspectors also work at posts abroad to inspect shipments bound for the United States. Customs inspectors train and gain qualifications to examine the contents of cargo vessels, commercial carriers and the personal effects of international travelers. Custom inspectors must be citizens of the United States.


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    Maintain a clear personal record in preparation for a background check. All candidates for the position of customs inspector must submit information for a background check including fingerprinting. Candidates for the job of customs inspector will also submit to drug screening examinations.
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    Earn a high school diploma with excellent grades. A high grade point average is not required, but the competition is intense so applicants with the best academic records will stand out from the others. A degree from a 4 year college will also add to your resume when compared with some of the other candidates. A degree in a field related to law enforcement will also be a plus.
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    Stay physically fit. Potential customs inspectors must be physically fit to qualify for entrance into the academy for training.
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    Seek employment in a field related to customs inspection or law enforcement. A good record of employment will show dependability and honesty. A recommendation from a supervisor in a law enforcement job will also enhance your resume for consideration as a customs inspector.
    • Learn how to become a customs inspector by doing similar work in a related field. Maintain a good record in a military career. A willingness to serve in the military and successfully complete a commitment to the work of the military career will be a great recommendation as a customs inspector. Service on a police force or as a security guard will also show fitness for work as a customs inspector.
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    Register for the competitive examination for entrance into the Customs Border Protection Academy and obtain a study guide to prepare for the entrance test. Carefully fill out the application and enter all of the required information. Incomplete applications may be ignored or returned and delay taking the exam. The study guide provides sample questions and an overview of the exam.
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    Take the examination after a thorough preparation. Applicants do not need a perfect score, but the highest scores will have preference for admission to the academic program.
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    Gain admission to the Academy and maintain a stellar record on all examinations and activities. Students do not need perfect grades on all tests, but performance will be a great recommendation for future assignments.


  • Take courses specifically related to Homeland Security. Courses are available at community colleges and online. These courses will provide insight into the work of customs inspectors so you will know if this type of work is suitable for your personality and temperament. Instructors for these courses will be experienced in the field and a great source of information on what to expect when working as a customs inspector.

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Categories: Occupations