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Career and Education Opportunities for Customs Inspectors in Elgin, Illinois

Customs inspector career and educational opportunities abound in Elgin, Illinois. Currently, 3,950 people work as customs inspectors in Illinois. This is expected to grow by 17% to about 4,630 people by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for customs inspectors are expected to grow by about 16.6%. Customs inspectors generally 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.

Income for customs inspectors is about $35 hourly or $72,960 annually on average in Illinois. Nationally, their income is about $29 per hour or $60,910 yearly. Customs inspectors earn more than people working in the category of Police and Security generally in Illinois and more than people in the Police and Security category nationally. Customs inspectors work in a variety of jobs, including: customs officer, import specialist, and customs opener-verifier-packer.

The Elgin area is home to sixty-one schools of higher education, including seven within twenty-five miles of Elgin where you can get a degree as a customs inspector. Given that the most common education level 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.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Customs Inspector

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 Elgin 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.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Customs Inspector Training

College of DuPage - Glen Ellyn, IL

College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn, IL 60137-6599. College of DuPage is a large college located in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 25,668 students. College of DuPage has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated twelve and forty-two students respectively in 2008.

College of Lake County - Grayslake, IL

College of Lake County, 19351 W Washington St., Grayslake, IL 60030-1198. College of Lake County is a large college located in Grayslake, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 16,359 students. College of Lake County has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated three and seventeen students respectively in 2008.

Elgin Community College - Elgin, IL

Elgin Community College, 1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin, IL 60123-7193. Elgin Community College is a medium sized college located in Elgin, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 9,821 students. Elgin Community College has an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated twelve students in 2008.

Harper College - Palatine, IL

Harper College, 1200 W Algonquin Rd, Palatine, IL 60067-7398. Harper College is a large college located in Palatine, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,250 students. Harper College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated four and twenty-one students respectively in 2008.

Oakton Community College - Des Plaines, IL

Oakton Community College, 1600 E Golf Rd., Des Plaines, IL 60016-1268. Oakton Community College is a large college located in Des Plaines, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,552 students. Oakton Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated five and sixteen students respectively in 2008.

McHenry County College - Crystal Lake, IL

McHenry County College, 8900 US Hwy 14, Crystal Lake, IL 60012-2761. McHenry County College is a medium sized college located in Crystal Lake, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,374 students. McHenry County College has an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated eight students in 2008.

Waubonsee Community College - Sugar Grove, IL

Waubonsee Community College, Rte 47 at Waubonsee Drive, Sugar Grove, IL 60554-0901. Waubonsee Community College is a medium sized college located in Sugar Grove, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 9,218 students. Waubonsee Community College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated one and twenty students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

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.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Elgin, Illinois

Elgin, Illinois
Elgin, Illinois photo by James Jordan

Elgin is located in Kane County, Illinois. It has a population of over 106,330, which has grown by 12.5% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Elgin, 104, is above the national average. New single-family homes in Elgin cost $156,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred thirty-two new homes were constructed in Elgin, down from seven hundred fifty-six the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Elgin are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, metal and metal products, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average travel time to work is about 26 minutes. More than 20.5% of Elgin residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.0%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Elgin is 12.4%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Elgin residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 56.0%, is more than both the national and state average. Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Seventh Day Adventist Church and Saint Thomas More Roman Catholic Church are some of the churches located in Elgin. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Lutheran Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Elgin is home to the Fox Bluff Corporate Center and the Elgin Fire Station Number 2 as well as Wing Park and College Park. Shopping malls in the area include Wing Park Manor Shopping Center, Tyler Creek Plaza Shopping Center and Town and Country Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Elgin can choose from Elgin-Days Inn, Colonial Lodge Motel and Crowne Plaza for temporary stays in the area.