Import/Export Careers: Job Description & Salary Information

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What are the pros and cons of an import/export career? See career fields, job outlook and salary information to see if an import/export career is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of Import/Export Careers

Importing and exporting goods and services encompasses tasks in supply chain management, trade compliance and marketing operations. Consider the pros and cons of an Import/Export career to decide if it's right for you.

Compliance Officer Logistician Marketing Manager
Career Overview Oversees trade regulatory compliance Coordinates organizational supply chain Develops strategies to increase sales
Education Requirements Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree/master's degree
Program Length 4 years 4 years 4-6 years
Professional Experience Three or more years Three or more years Two or more years
Certification Requirements Professional certification (optional) Professional certification (optional) N/A
Job Outlook (2012-2022)* Below-average 3-7% growth, 55,300 additional jobs Above-average 22% growth, 27,600 additional jobs Average 13% growth, 22,900 additional jobs
Mean Salary (2014)* Roughly $68,000 Roughly $77,000 Roughly $137,000

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Compliance Officer

Compliance officers investigate and audit organizational trade involving pre-determined trade compliance regulations and laws, including domestic and foreign trade agreements. Many compliance officers are employed by local, state or federal government agencies, such as the Bureau of Industry and Security, a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Because the consequences of noncompliance with international trade regulations can be severe, including the loss of rights to do business and imprisonment, all companies need to ensure awareness of and compliance with all legal aspects of their import and export activity. While smaller companies may consult outside services, larger companies are more likely to have legal departments dedicated to compliance with tax and accounting as well as export-control regulations.

Requirements

Compliance officers are expected to be well-versed in trade regulations, along with other aspects of importing and exporting goods and services. Many positions require a bachelor's degree in areas such as law or business administration. Some government-employed compliance officers are licensed customs and border patrol agents. Additionally, government agencies and businesses that employ compliance officers often prefer candidates with professional certification.

Here are some real job postings for compliance officers from January 2013:

  • A large data networking company in Texas sought an import/export compliance senior consultant to manage classification and licensing of products and shipments. Requirements included a combination of education and experience, involving either 10 years of experience, 6-8 years of experience and a bachelor's degree, or 4-6 years of experience with an advanced degree.
  • A consumer goods company in Colorado sought a vice president of import/export trade compliance to oversee and review trade compliance. The successful candidate would possess a bachelor's degree; however, an advanced degree, knowledge of foreign trade regulations and experience with various import and export processes were preferred.
  • A U.S. military defense contractor in Maryland was looking for an import/export compliance analyst to provide guidance in all areas of export compliance. Requirements included a bachelor's degree in a field such as international business or law and at least three years of experience in import/export license preparation.

Standing Out

Compliance officers with specialized education in trade compliance may have the best opportunities. Certificate programs in trade compliance offer coursework covering regulations and trade compliance ethics. You also might choose to pursue professional certification through an organization such as the International Import-Export Institute (IIEI), which issues the U.S. Export Compliance Officer credential.

Logistician

Logistics specialists analyze and coordinate supply chains for organizations and businesses. They direct the allocation of materials, supplies and products, overseeing purchasing, shipping, warehousing and delivery. They also present reports on performance data, striving to find cost-effective solutions to production, shipping and delivery of products.

Requirements

These professionals generally obtain a bachelor's degree in a field such as supply chain management, finance or industrial engineering. Prospective import/export logisticians should complete coursework in areas such as international logistics, global finance and strategic global management.

Here are some real job postings for logisticians from January 2013:

  • A Texas engineering consultant sought an import/export logistics specialist who would be responsible for negotiating shipping contracts, scheduling and costs. Requirements included a bachelor's degree with 3-5 years of relative experience.
  • A California import/export company was looking for a logistics operations professional to handle freight forwarding. Requirements included 4-5 years of related experience.
  • An automated retail solutions company sought an import/export specialist to report to the director of logistics and be responsible for inbound and outbound shipping. Requirements included a bachelor's degree in international trade, supply chain, logistics, business or a related field with 3-5 years of operational logistics experience.

Standing Out

Prospective logistics professionals can seek specialized degree programs or certificate programs that offer education in areas such as international logistics and global accounting. Professional certification is offered through organizations such as the International Society of Logistics, which issues three levels of certification, beginning with the Certified Professional Logistician (CPL) and Certified Master Logistician (CML) credentials and leading to the Demonstrated Logistician (DL) credential.

Marketing Manager

Marketing managers play an invaluable role for importing and exporting organizations, developing and establishing overseas markets for goods and services. These professionals identify markets and develop competitive pricing strategies. They utilize forecasting computer applications and work with various aspects of messaging and communications, including public relations and advertising.

Requirements

A bachelor's degree in marketing is required for most marketing positions. Progressive professional experience in areas such as sales, advertising, public relations and purchasing is also required for management positions. Certain jobs require a master's degree, such as a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with an emphasis in international trade or marketing.

Here are some real job postings for marketing managers from January 2013:

  • An agricultural equipment manufacturer in Iowa sought a product marketing manager to be responsible for developing and executing strategies in the U.S. and Canada to generate sales growth. Requirements included two years of marketing and supervision experience with strong agricultural knowledge.
  • A Milwaukee alcoholic beverage company was looking for a domestic import/export management planning analyst to promote sales through forecasting and demand analysis for breweries, distributors and import partners, as well as sales and marketing personnel. Requirements included a bachelor's degree or MBA plus five years of experience in supply chain, forecasting, manufacturing or production planning.
  • An international freight company in New Jersey sought a freight forwarder to manage and organize all aspects of transporting goods, including operations, customer service, sales and marketing. The successful candidate would possess 3-5 years of experience in freight forwarding.

Standing Out

Prospective professionals with digital marketing experience could have the best opportunities in a highly digitalized field. For import/export professionals, specialized degree programs or certificate programs in import/export management with coursework in global marketing could help prospective marketing managers stand out from the competition.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. George Mason University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration
      • Master of Business Administration: Business Analytics Specialization
    Certificate
      • Business Analytics Certificate
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Saint John's University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration: Interdisciplinary Business
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Keiser University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration - Management (Spanish)
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Arts - Business Administration with a concentration in Transportation and Logistics
      • B.A. - Business Admin: Management
      • Business Administration, BA - Management
    Associate's
      • Associate of Arts - Accounting
    Certificate
      • Grad Business Certificate - Management and Leadership
  • Online Programs Available
    4. University of Delaware

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration
      • Master of Business Administration - Custom/General
      • Master of Business Administration - Multiple Concentrations
      • Master of Business Administration - Strategic Leadership
  • Online Programs Available
    5. American InterContinental University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Admin: Management
      • Master of Business Admin: Operations Management
      • Master of Business Admin: Project Management
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Business Admin: Management
      • Bachelor of Business Administration - Generalist
      • Bachelor of Business Admin: Operations Management
      • Bachelor of Business Admin: Project Management
    Associate's
      • Associate of Arts in Business Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Colorado Technical University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Management (DM) - General Concentration (Executive Format)
      • Doctor of Management - Project Management
      • Doctorate: Management - Organizational Development and Change
    Master's
      • MBA: Logistics and Supply Chain Management
      • Master of Business Admin
      • Master: Management
      • Master of Business Admin - Entrepreneurship
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor: Business Admin - Logistics/Supply Chain Management
      • BS - Business Administration - Management
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      • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Organizational Behavior
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    Associate's
      • Associate of Science in Business Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    7. The University of Scranton

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA - Operations Management
      • Master of Business Administration
      • Dual MBA-MHA
    Certificate
      • Supply Chain Management Certificate
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS - Management
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      • Master of Project Management
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Business Management
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      • Undergraduate Specialization - Small Business and Entrepreneurship
    Certificate
      • Undergraduate Certificate - Project Management
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA
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      • MBA Dual Concentration: HR & Project Mgmt.
      • MBA Dual Concentration: BS Mgmt. & HR
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Project Management and Public Safety Leadership
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Accounting and Project Management
    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration
    Associate's
      • Associate of Science - Business Management
      • Associate of Science - Business Studies
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Seton Hall University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration

Featured Schools

George Mason University

  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Business Administration: Business Analytics Specialization
  • Business Analytics Certificate

What is your highest level of education?

Saint John's University

  • Master of Business Administration: Interdisciplinary Business

What is your highest level of education?

Keiser University

  • Master of Business Administration - Management (Spanish)
  • Bachelor of Arts - Business Administration with a concentration in Transportation and Logistics
  • Associate of Arts - Accounting
  • Grad Business Certificate - Management and Leadership

What is your highest level of education?

University of Delaware

  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Business Administration - Custom/General
  • Master of Business Administration - Multiple Concentrations

What is your highest level of education completed?

American InterContinental University

  • Master of Business Admin: Management
  • Bachelor of Business Admin: Management
  • Associate of Arts in Business Administration

Are you a US citizen?

Colorado Technical University

  • Doctor of Management (DM) - General Concentration (Executive Format)
  • MBA: Logistics and Supply Chain Management
  • Bachelor: Business Admin - Logistics/Supply Chain Management
  • Associate of Science in Business Administration

Are you a US citizen?

The University of Scranton

  • MBA - Operations Management
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Supply Chain Management Certificate

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado State University Global

  • MS - Management
  • BS - Business Management
  • Undergraduate Certificate - Project Management

What is your highest level of education?