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

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Featured Schools

Georgetown University

  • Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate
  • Master of Professional Studies in Sports Industry Management
  • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management

What is your highest level of education completed?

Kaplan University

  • Master : Business Admin
  • BSBA - Supply Chain Management and Logistics
  • Associate: Business Admin.

Which subject are you interested in?

Herzing University

  • MBA
  • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration
  • Associate of Science - Business Management

What is your highest level of education?

American University

  • Master of Science in Agile Project Management
  • Master of Science in Measurement and Evaluation

What is your highest level of education?

George Mason University

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

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?

Johns Hopkins University

  • Master of Science in Government Analytics

What is your highest level of education?

Baker College Online

  • Business Administration - DBA (Doctorate)
  • General Business (MBA)
  • Supply Chain Management - Bachelor
  • Business Administration - Associate

What is your highest level of education?