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Job Description of a Customs Representative

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Image by, courtesy of Jesse Edwards

Being a customs representative can mean different things. Customs screener, border protection, and in some cases, an airline screener. The job outlook is good for those interested in becoming a customs agent, due to increasing interest in travel security.

Applying for the Job

Customs representatives are hired by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, as well as private companies contracted by the government. To be a future customs representative or agent, apply directly with U.S. Customs and Border Protection or check local newspapers and state employment agencies for openings in your area.

General Duties

Customs agents uphold and enforce laws governing border crossings and the allowable items brought across those borders. They may inspect goods and items on persons to determine if they are taxable, illegal or unfit to cross borders for other reasons. Increasing focus is placed on preventing terrorism.

Requirements and Education

Border and customs jobs require that you are at least 21, are a United States citizen, and have a high school diploma. In addition, many customs representatives possess a four-year degree and may have experience in customs or training in antiques, illegal items, or laws regarding transporting specialized items.


Additional training that may be needed could include: learning a foreign language (depending on where you are assigned), increasing knowledge in other countries' regulations and rules regarding items crossing borders, and advanced communication skills.


A survey in 2004 conducted by determined that the average median salary for a customs representative is approximately $49,000 per year. This amount can vary based on experience and knowlege in the profession.


Charline King is a corporate travel coordinator for a health care facility. She has more than 10 years of experience in marketing, event planning, travel coordination, and public relations. She currently publishes on eHow, and writes five blogs. King attend Minnesota State University Moorhead and has a degree in mass communications.