How Do I Become a Cargo Surveyor?

By qualifying and applying for a job with the government, military, or a private cargo inspection service, you can work as a cargo surveyor. A high school diploma is required for becoming a cargo surveyor, but completion of a two- or four-year college degree program is preferred. Applicants with a criminal justice background or education may be preferred for government cargo inspection jobs. Because cargo surveyor jobs in the military require you to join the military for a set period of time, they come with their own set of qualifications and training.

Surveying cargo for the government or military entails boarding boats, trains, and trucks to inspect the contents of shipments to ensure they comply with any regional regulations. Businesses hire private cargo surveying companies to inspect the contents of shipments to ensure that everything listed and paid for is included. Every day, large amounts of goods are shipped domestically and internationally via land and sea routes. Each piece of cargo has the potential to be inspected a surveyor for both accuracy and liability reasons. Companies that pay to ship goods from one location to another may never see the finished product before it is sold, so they rely on cargo surveying companies to provide shipping inspection services along the way.

To become a cargo surveyor, some jobs may require prior field experience. Look for an entry-level position with the government or a private company to start your cargo inspection career. Working for regional police departments, port authorities, transportation departments, and rail stations are common places to find government-based cargo inspection jobs. Because the job requires boarding ships and trucks to look for contraband and unauthorized shipments, a criminal justice background can help you stand out in the application process to become a government cargo surveyor.

Cargo surveyors are used the military to inspect ships and trucks in both domestic and international operations. Military surveyors look for illegal weapons, immigration, and general contents verification on boats and vehicles. You can join the military as a cargo surveyor adhering to traditional regional enlistment standards and qualifications, then requesting a specific position or job rating. Military experience is a good way to become a cargo surveyor because it gives you several years of hands-on experience performing the same tasks as a cargo surveyor.