Customs brokers gather and prepare all of the documents needed by importers and exporters so that they are able to clear their goods through customs most often at domestic harbors or airports that deal with international trade. Not only do custom brokers prepare these documents which they may submit electronically but they also calculate the duties and taxes that will be collected. As such they act as middlemen between importers or exporters and the United States government.
In the United States customs brokers are not considered to be actual government employees but they must be licensed by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. To obtain such a license they are required to pass a background check and an examination. They must be fully knowledgeable as to the exact paperwork that is required and what tariffs will be collected so that there will not be any costly delays or seizure of merchandise.
Customs brokers may be employed by freighting companies shipping lines importers or exporters. Some have independent businesses that consult with these entities. According to the website Samplejobdescriptions.org customs workers in the United States must be citizens and be at least 21 years of age. They must have high school diplomas or the equivalent but some post-secondary education is desirable particularly coursework in foreign languages and business. In today's job market a bachelor's degree will open up more job opportunities.
The website Careers.stateuniversity.com reports that job prospects for customs brokers are good and the median annual salary is approximately $50000.