Studies & Degrees in Customs

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Pursuing a career in customs means monitoring the flow of people and products in and out of your country of origin. Any individual can pursue a course of study in customs through online courses, college courses, college programs, or through a government-funded training program. Qualifications for working in customs vary according to country and government regulations, and employees will typically wok hand-in-hand with border patrols and law enforcement. Customs workers are often required to register and license with their national government in order to work.
Careers in customs include customs officers, brokers, specialists and agents. Brokers and specialists monitor the flow of imports and exports from their country, or research trade impact and trends. They can either work independently, with a company or with the governmental branch associated with customs. Officers and agents typically work with border patrols, law enforcement or government agencies but are also employed by international companies. They regulate the flow of people in and out of the country while enforcing customs laws.
Skills, Qualifications, and Prerequisites for Studies in Customs
Most countries will require any future customs worker to be a citizen of that country and possess some form of identification. Other qualifications depend on the type of job you pursue in customs.
  • An officer or agent will likely undergo a background check before entering a specialized, government-funded training program. It is also preferred that candidates for these jobs possess previous federal service or a four-year college degree.
  • A customs broker or specialist is different. This type of work will sometimes require the individual to not be a government employee. Most countries allow any individual to apply for a customs brokers license regardless of their level of experience. However, since customs work often goes hand-in-hand with transportation, law and international studies, a background or degree in these related fields is a plus. A customs specialist, such as an agriculture specialist, will usually need a four-year degree or higher in their specific field.
Much of customs work will require finding and citing specific regulations or legal codes, so the most successful employee will have the ability to research quickly and effectively. Customs workers are also preferred to be ethical and responsible in accordance with their employer’s policies and procedures. Officers and agents will need to maintain decisive, respectful attitudes along with leadership and communication skills.
Skills and Qualifications Acquired from Studies in Customs
A course of study as a customs broker will prepare you to understand and regulate various international customs procedures and technical aspects, including:
  • Import and export procedures, including documentation, declarations, accounting and the release of goods.
  • Tariffs
  • Trade logistics
  • Domestic and international permits, regulations and laws
  • Types of transport and their regulations
  • Clearance and quarantine procedures
  • Classifications of products and commodities
  • Border clearance
  • Technology and computer literacy
A customs officer or agent will acquire this knowledge along with law enforcement techniques and security policies. Universities and colleges will often award certifications to graduating students valid in individual work and customs companies, though not necessarily useful for government jobs. Individuals may also be required to pass certain government exams, such as the Custom Brokers License Examination in the United States.

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