Customs and Border Protection Officers

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Also known as:
Border Guard, Border Patrol Officer, Constable, Cop, Deputy Sheriff, Highway Patrol Officer, Motorcycle Police, Mounted Police, Park Police, Patrol Officer

ABOUT CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION OFFICER CAREERS
Video transcript

Whether working with a dog to sniff out contraband brought back from an overseas vacation... or checking out the cargo hold of an ocean-going freighter, immigration and customs inspectors help to protect the public from criminal activity and dangerous germs and pests. Whenever the country's borders are crossed, immigration and customs inspectors enforce laws about the people and goods that are allowed in... or out of... the United States. These inspectors work for the U.S. Customs Service, a division of the federal government. Their job is to inspect cargo on boats, trains, and planes, that enter or leave the country, and to investigate the baggage and personal items carried by people traveling over national borders. They also review travelers' passports and immigration applications to determine eligibility for entering, or residing in the United States. Customs inspectors carry the authority of law. In their efforts to enforce regulations, they search for illegal substances such as drugs, and can seize prohibited or smuggled articles, and apprehend, search, and arrest people who violate U.S. laws. To become a customs inspector, you must be a U.S. citizen, pass a drug screening test, and pass a civil service examination. Most people in the field have an associate's degree, or vocational school training. Knowledge of a foreign language may improve your chances of being hired.

SNAPSHOT
Investigate and inspect persons, common carriers, goods, and merchandise, arriving in or departing from the United States or between states to detect violations of immigration and customs laws and regulations.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
HIGH
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
HIGH
Competition for this position
MED
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
HIGH
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
Daily tasks

Testify regarding decisions at immigration appeals or in federal court.

Collect samples of merchandise for examination, appraisal, or testing.

Locate and seize contraband, undeclared merchandise, and vehicles, aircraft, or boats that contain such merchandise.

Detain persons found to be in violation of customs or immigration laws and arrange for legal action, such as deportation.

Institute civil and criminal prosecutions and cooperate with other law enforcement agencies in the investigation and prosecution of those in violation of immigration or customs laws.

Determine duty and taxes to be paid on goods.

Record and report job-related activities, findings, transactions, violations, discrepancies, and decisions.

Interpret and explain laws and regulations to travelers, prospective immigrants, shippers, and manufacturers.

Inspect cargo, baggage, and personal articles entering or leaving U.S. for compliance with revenue laws and U.S. customs regulations.

Examine immigration applications, visas, and passports and interview persons to determine eligibility for admission, residence, and travel in the U.S.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Performing for or Working Directly with the Public Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
Law and Government Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
Public Safety and Security Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Psychology Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
Clerical Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Geography Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
TOP SKILLS
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.