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Career and Education Opportunities for Customs Inspectors in St. Louis, Missouri

If you want to be a customs inspector, the St. Louis, Missouri area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 1,700 working customs inspectors in Missouri; this should grow 16% to about 1,960 working customs inspectors in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for customs inspectors, which sees this job pool growing by about 16.6% over the next eight years. 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 earn approximately $22 hourly or $46,650 per year on average in Missouri. Nationally they average about $29 per hour or $60,910 annually. Earnings for customs inspectors are better than earnings in the general category of Police and Security in Missouri and better than general Police and Security category earnings nationally. People working as customs inspectors can fill a number of jobs, such as: agriculture specialist, customs opener-verifier-packer, and immigration inspector.

The St. Louis area is home to seventy-one schools of higher education, including seven within twenty-five miles of St. Louis 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, it will take about four years to learn to be 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 St. Louis 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

Saint Louis Community College-Meramec - Kirkwood, MO

Saint Louis Community College-Meramec, 11333 Big Bend Blvd, Kirkwood, MO 63122. Saint Louis Community College-Meramec is a large college located in Kirkwood, Missouri. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,217 students. Saint Louis Community College-Meramec has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated one and twenty-two students respectively in 2008.

Lewis and Clark Community College - Godfrey, IL

Lewis and Clark Community College, 5800 Godfrey Rd, Godfrey, IL 62035. Lewis and Clark Community College is a medium sized college located in Godfrey, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,016 students. Lewis and Clark Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated nineteen and twenty-two students respectively in 2008.

Saint Louis Community College-Forest Park - Saint Louis, MO

Saint Louis Community College-Forest Park, 5600 Oakland Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63110. Saint Louis Community College-Forest Park is a medium sized college located in Saint Louis, Missouri. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,164 students. Saint Louis Community College-Forest Park has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated two and fourteen students respectively in 2008.

Southwestern Illinois College - Belleville, IL

Southwestern Illinois College, 2500 Carlyle Ave, Belleville, IL 62221-5899. Southwestern Illinois College is a large college located in Belleville, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,308 students. Southwestern Illinois College has a less than one year program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated thirty-six students in 2008.

St Charles Community College - Cottleville, MO

St Charles Community College, 4601 Mid Rivers Mall Dr, Cottleville, MO 63376-0975. St Charles Community College is a medium sized college located in Cottleville, Missouri. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,334 students. St Charles Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated one and two students respectively in 2008.

Saint Louis Community College-Florissant Valley - Saint Louis, MO

Saint Louis Community College-Florissant Valley, 3400 Pershall Rd, Saint Louis, MO 63135. Saint Louis Community College-Florissant Valley is a medium sized college located in Saint Louis, Missouri. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 6,515 students. Saint Louis Community College-Florissant Valley has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated one and twenty-nine students respectively in 2008.

Jefferson College - Hillsboro, MO

Jefferson College, 1000 Viking Dr, Hillsboro, MO 63050-2440. Jefferson College is a medium sized college located in Hillsboro, Missouri. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,983 students. Jefferson College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated zero and twenty-six 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: St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis, Missouri photo by Dschwen

St. Louis is located in St. Louis City County, Missouri. It has a population of over 354,361, which has grown by 1.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in St. Louis, 83, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in St. Louis are priced at $111,600 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, one hundred fifty-seven new homes were built in St. Louis, down from two hundred sixty-one the previous year.

The top three industries for women in St. Louis are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is accommodation and food services, construction, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 25 minutes. More than 19.1% of St. Louis residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in St. Louis is 10.9%, which is greater than Missouri's average of 8.9%.

Nativity of Our Lord Church, Church of the Good Shepard and Church of the Holy Communion are among the churches located in St. Louis.

St. Louis is home to the Terminal Railroad Association Building and the Memorial Home as well as Washington Park and Willmore Park. Shopping malls in the area include Hampton Village Shopping Center and Loughborough Shopping Center.