Importers find and ship items from other countries to sell in the United States. These items can be anything legal, including food, jewelry and clothes. Knowing the history, language and culture of the country from which they import can be very helpful. Making arrangements to ship the items can be complicated. Importers sometimes open their own stores to sell the imported items. Other times, the importer wholesales the items to other stores for sale.

Working Conditions

Importers work indoors and may travel to other countries to find items to sell.


Salaries range from a low starting point of $19,000 per year to $50,000 or higher for experienced importers who are good at their job.

Helpful Skills and Subjects to Study

Fluency in a foreign language is a big help for this career. Having knowledge of other cultures and customs and being well-traveled puts an individual a step ahead of other applicants. Classes to take are English, geography, foreign languages, history, social studies and economics.

Related Jobs

Exporters do very similar work as importers. Also, buyers, wholesale sales workers, manufacturers' sales representatives and customs agents.

Education & Training

A college degree is desirable for most jobs. Those with a master's will find better opportunities.

Job Outlook

There should be job opportunities for qualified persons. However, employment can vary along with world economic situations. Countries and industries will fluctuate.

Sources for Additional Information

American Association of Exporters and Importers
11 West 42nd Street
New York, NY 10036