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Career and Education Opportunities for Customs Inspectors in Tucson, Arizona

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for customs inspectors in the Tucson, Arizona area. About 4,410 people are currently employed as customs inspectors in Arizona. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 25% to about 5,490 people employed. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for customs inspectors are expected to grow by about 16.6%. In general, customs inspectors investigate and inspect persons, common carriers, and merchandise, arriving in or departing from the United States or between states to detect violations of immigration and customs laws and regulations.

A person working as a customs inspector can expect to earn about $25 hourly or $53,510 per year on average in Arizona and about $29 per hour or $60,910 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Incomes for customs inspectors are better than in the overall category of Police and Security in Arizona, and better than the overall Police and Security category nationally. Customs inspectors work in a variety of jobs, including: customs special agent, agriculture specialist, and patrol inspector.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Tucson where you can study to be a customs inspector, among twenty-one schools of higher education total in the Tucson area. The most common level of education for customs inspectors is a Bachelor's degree. You can expect to spend about four years training to become a customs inspector if you already have a high school diploma.


In general, customs inspectors investigate and inspect persons, common carriers, and merchandise, arriving in or departing from the United States or between states to detect violations of immigration and customs laws and regulations.

Customs inspectors interpret and explain laws and rules to travelers and manufacturers. They also record and report job-related efforts and decisions. Equally important, customs inspectors have to detain persons found to be in violation of customs or immigration laws and manage legal action. They are often called upon to examine immigration applications and passports and interview persons to establish eligibility for admission and travel in the U.S. They are expected to examine cargo and personal articles entering or leaving U.S. for adherence to revenue laws and U.S. customs rules. Finally, customs inspectors 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.

Every day, customs inspectors are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. They need to evaluate problems as they arise.

It is important for customs inspectors to decide on duty and taxes to be paid on goods. They are often called upon to collect samples of products for examination or testing. They also testify regarding decisions at immigration appeals or in federal court. Somewhat less frequently, customs inspectors are also expected to investigate applications for duty refunds and petition for remission or mitigation of penalties when warranted.

And finally, they sometimes have to examine cargo and personal articles entering or leaving U.S. for adherence to revenue laws and U.S. customs rules.

Like many other jobs, customs inspectors must have exceptional integrity and have strong self control in the face of challenging situations.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Tucson include:

  • Bailiff. Maintain order in courts of law.
  • Chief of Police. Supervise and coordinate activities of members of police force.
  • Correctional Officer. Guard inmates in penal or rehabilitative institution in accordance with established regulations and procedures. May guard prisoners in transit between jail, courtroom, or other point. Includes deputy sheriffs and police who spend the majority of their time guarding prisoners in correctional institutions.
  • Criminal Investigator. Investigate alleged or suspected criminal violations of Federal, state, or local laws to determine if evidence is sufficient to recommend prosecution.
  • Crossing Guard. Guide or control vehicular or pedestrian traffic at such places as streets, schools, or construction sites.
  • Fire Code Inspector. Inspect buildings and equipment to detect fire hazards and enforce state and local regulations.
  • Forest Fire Lookout. Enforce fire regulations and inspect for forest fire hazards. Report forest fires and weather conditions.
  • Police Officer. Conduct investigations to prevent crimes or solve criminal cases.
  • Police Records Officer. Collect evidence at crime scenes, classify and identify fingerprints, and photograph evidence for use in criminal and civil cases.
  • Policeman. Patrol assigned areas to enforce laws and ordinances, regulate traffic, and arrest violators.
  • Private Investigator. Detect occurrences of unlawful acts or infractions of rules in private establishment, or seek, examine, and compile information for client.
  • Security Guard. Guard, patrol, or monitor premises to prevent theft, violence, or infractions of rules.
  • Sheriff. Enforce law and order in rural or unincorporated districts or serve legal processes of courts. May patrol courthouse, guard court or grand jury, or escort defendants.
  • Transportation Security Officer. Inspect baggage or cargo and screen passengers to detect and prevent potentially dangerous objects from being transported into secure areas or onto aircraft.


Pima Community College - Tucson, AZ

Pima Community College, 401 North Bonita Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85709-5000. Pima Community College is a large college located in Tucson, Arizona. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 30,529 students. Pima Community College has less than one year, one to two year, and associate's degree programs in Criminal Justice/Police Science.


Certified Medical Investigator: The spectrum of professions involved in forensic investigation has broadened dramatically over the past 20 years.

For more information, see the American College of Forensic Examiners website.

Certified Corrections Manager - Security Threat Groups: Individuals who head a Security Threat Group (STG) program in an adult or juvenile corrections facility, contribute to the development of agency policies/procedures pertaining to STGs, and are involved in the implementation of these policies/procedures.

For more information, see the American Correctional Association website.

Certified Fraud Examiner: The ACFE established and administers the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) designation.

For more information, see the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners website.

Computer Forensics: The primary goals we have for our certification programs are to both assist law enforcement and organizations requiring highly skilled investigators in the identification of highly skilled individuals, and to promote the training and education efforts within the computer investigation, computer forensic and computer security industries.

For more information, see the Cyber Enforcement Resources Incorporated website.

Certified Cyber-Crime Expert: High-profile cases of corporate malfeasance and increased attention paid to cybercrime and cyberterrorism have elevated electronic evidence discovery to an indispensable component of any organization's security plan.

For more information, see the E-Business Process Solutions website.


Tucson, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona photo by Howcheng

Tucson is situated in Pima County, Arizona. It has a population of over 541,811, which has grown by 11.3% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Tucson, 88, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Tucson are priced at $179,100 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, five hundred sixty-five new homes were built in Tucson, down from 1,131 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Tucson are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 22 minutes. More than 22.9% of Tucson residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Tucson is 9.2%, which is less than Arizona's average of 9.3%.

The percentage of Tucson residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 44.9%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the LDS (Mormon) Church.

Tucson is home to the Arizona Correctional Training Facility and the Silverbell Golf Course as well as Vista del Pueblo Park and Verde Meadows Park. Shopping centers in the area include Gaslight Square Shopping Center, Grant Park Shopping Center and Grant Plaza South Shopping Center. Visitors to Tucson can choose from LA Quinta, Casa Tierra Adobe B & B Inn and Best Western Executive Inn for temporary stays in the area.