Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

How to Become a Customs Officer

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is an agency organized under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The CBP is responsible for safeguarding the border and inspecting individuals and cargo moving in and out of the country. Several different career positions exist within the agency. Border Patrol Agents are tasked with monitoring large border areas for illegal activity. Air and Marine Interdiction Agents stop illegal activity using aircraft and boats. Customs and Border Patrol Officers are perhaps the most visible personnel within CBP. These officers work at major air- and seaports to screen passengers and luggage.

Register for the Customs and Border Protection written test at the agency's human resources website. Fill in the requested personal information. A valid social security number is required to verify U.S. citizenship.

Print the admission notice for the written test. This paper includes important information, including the scheduled date of the test and an admission ticket. Review the location of the test, which is offered in various locations throughout the country.

Prepare for the written test. Download the candidate study guide from the Customs and Border Protection career website and review it carefully. Understand that the five-hour test is very in-depth and competitive. Study extensively before the test date.

Attend the written test on the assigned day. Bring a government issued photo identification card and the printed admission notice. Check your e-mail account during the next four to six weeks and monitor for an official Notice of Results (NOR) from the test.

Check your physical mailing address for a letter detailing the Video Based Test (VBT). This letter will list an assigned date for an interactive recorded test and a Structured Interview (SI), which last between 30 and 45 minutes each. Attend the assigned location on the testing day and respond to the scenarios and questions in a professional manner.

Schedule convenient dates for the required drug test, medical examination, fitness test and background investigation. Complete these required examinations as soon as possible. Contact the nearest Customs and Border Patrol testing center to make arrangements for each test.

Accept an employment offer if it is given. Relocate to one of the cities with a Customers and Border Protection agency office if required. If an employment offer is not given, candidates remain in the pipeline for future openings.