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Career and Education Opportunities for Customs Inspectors in Salem, Oregon

There are many career and education opportunities for customs inspectors in the Salem, Oregon area. About 640 people are currently employed as customs inspectors in Oregon. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 8% to about 690 people employed. This is not quite as good as 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 $31 per hour or $65,500 per year on average in Oregon and about $29 per hour or $60,910 annually on average in the U.S. as a whole. Earnings for customs inspectors are better than earnings in the general category of Police and Security in Oregon and better than general Police and Security category earnings nationally. Customs inspectors work in a variety of jobs, including: immigration and customs enforcement special agent , inspector, and special agent.

The Salem area is home to seventeen schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Salem where you can get a degree as a customs inspector. The most common level of education 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.


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 Salem 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.
  • 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.


Pioneer Pacific College - Wilsonville, OR

Pioneer Pacific College, 27501 SW Parkway Ave, Wilsonville, OR 97070-9296. Pioneer Pacific College is a small college located in Wilsonville, Oregon. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 1,123 students. Pioneer Pacific College has an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated sixty-six students in 2008.

Clackamas Community College - Oregon City, OR

Clackamas Community College, 19600 Molalla Ave, Oregon City, OR 97045-8980. Clackamas Community College is a medium sized college located in Oregon City, Oregon. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 6,701 students. Clackamas Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated zero and seven students respectively in 2008.


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.


Salem, Oregon
Salem, Oregon photo by Aboutmovies

Salem is located in Marion County, Oregon. It has a population of over 153,435, which has grown by 12.1% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Salem, 97, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Salem are valued at $215,800 on average, which is above the state average. In 2008, two hundred sixty-nine new homes were constructed in Salem, down from five hundred forty-three the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Salem are health care, public administration, and educational services. For men, it is construction, public administration, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 22 minutes. More than 24.1% of Salem residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 8.8%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Salem is 10.2%, which is less than Oregon's average of 10.6%.

The percentage of Salem residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.6%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Salem is home to the Oregon Women's Correctional Center and the Oregon State Penitentiary as well as Waldo Park and Olinger Pool Park. Visitors to Salem can choose from Red Lion Hotel-Salem Reservations, Shilo Inn Salem and Econo Lodge Salem for temporary stays in the area.