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Customs Officials


Customs officials are federal workers who are employed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (an arm of the Department of Homeland Security) to prevent terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the United States; enforce laws governing immigration and imports and exports; and to combat smuggling and revenue fraud. Customs and Border Protection generates revenue for the government by assessing and collecting duties and excise taxes on imported merchandise. Amid a whirl of international travel and commercial activity, customs officials process travelers, baggage, cargo, and mail, as well as administer certain navigation laws. Stationed in the United States and overseas at airports, seaports, and all crossings, as well as at points along the Canadian and Mexican borders, customs officials examine, count, weigh, gauge, measure, and sample commercial and noncommercial cargoes entering and leaving the United States. It is their job to determine whether or not goods are admissible and, if so, how much tax, or duty, should be assessed on them. To prevent smuggling, fraud, and cargo theft, customs officials also check the individual baggage declarations of international travelers and oversee the unloading of all types of commercial shipments. In the fiscal year of 2018, CBP employed 23,477 officers, 19,555 border patrol agents, 935 air and marine agents, 937 trade personnel, and 2,430 agriculture specialists.

Salary Range

$25,000 to $100,000

Minimum Education Level

High School Diploma




About as Fast as the Average
Personality Traits




Career Ladder
CBP Manager

CBP Officer (Journeyman)

CBP Officer

CBP Officer Trainee

Related Professions