U.S. Customs Salary

U.S. Customs and Border Protection offers a wide range of pay grades and salaries for its many career tracks.  The primary careers of Agriculture Specialist, Contract Specialist, Import Specialist and CBP Officer offer pay ratings from the minimum GS-5 up to the top tier of GS-15.  The federal government’s General Schedule system is as follows:

General Schedule Grade
Salary Range
Salary Range
General Schedule 5
General Schedule 6
General Schedule 7
General Schedule 8
General Schedule 9
General Schedule 10

Each of these GS pay grades are broken down into ten steps, with a corresponding increase in salary for each successive step. At its slowest, the GS system promotes employees up to Steps 2, 3, 4 every 12 months, while it promotes up to Steps 5, 6 and 7 every 24 months.  Steps 8, 9 and 10 receive promotions every 36 months.  This modest promotion regimen may be accelerated by a Quality Step Increase, which may be awarded at any point and usually reflects exceptional performance.

Leap Pay for U.S. Customs Jobs

The GS pay system also details only the base salary.  This annual salary may be increased to reflect the higher cost of living associated with a geographical location. Additionally, some positions which require active duty in the field may also receive a 25 percent salary bonus due to Law Enforcement Availability Pay (LEAP). As federal employees, CBP personnel also enjoy a highly desirable benefits program that includes health insurance, life insurance, Thrift Savings Plans, and full retirement.

U.S. Customs Salary by Job

Due to the slow rate many U.S. CBP professionals may experience career advancement, it is often worthwhile to gain significant academic and professional credentials before applying for a CBP job.  This may include gaining an advanced degree, achieving a significant rank in the military, or obtaining experience in a similar job at the state or local level.

Agriculture Specialists have the option of joining U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the GS-5, GS-7 or GS-9 level.  This is a highly technical profession which offers a higher pay grade for the level of educational background.  These specialists may complete their careers at the GS-12 pay level if they perform well throughout their career.

CPB Contract Specialists typically must possess an advanced degree or extensive professional experience at the management level.  They are able to enter the agency at the GS-9 or GS-11 pay level.  Contract Specialists have the option of advancing to the GS-13 level.

Import Specialists are among the CBP’s most elite technical and legal experts and may enter the agency at the GS-12 pay level.  There is also the option of advancing to higher levels if they assume management or executive duties.

CBP Officers may enter the agency at the GS-5 or GS-7 level depending on the educational and professional experience of the employee.  These law enforcement officers may end their careers at the GS-11 level or higher if they obtain a supervisor or executive position.

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