It’s common for store shelves across Quebec to be lined with products from all over the globe.
Those products could be anything from coffee to car parts to computers. And they’re available to local shoppers thanks to the efforts of skilled import/export specialists.
Import/export specialists are experts in moving goods across international borders.
They use their knowledge of trade regulations, marketing techniques, and business strategy to sell domestic goods abroad and/or bring in products from foreign countries.
Interested in breaking into the industry? Wondering how a total beginner can become an importer/exporter in Quebec?
Here are 5 steps to get you started.
1. RESEARCH LOCAL IMPORT/EXPORT MARKET CONDITIONS
Your first step is to understand the local job market. Are there many import/export opportunities in Quebec?
The answer is a resounding yes. OEC data shows that from May 2020 to May 2021, the province’s imports and exports grew by 39% and 37% respectively.
Herzing instructor Karla Perez says the import/export industry is booming.
“Quebec is an excellent place to start an import/export career. The province is so multicultural, with people and products from all over the world.
The diversity makes it easier to introduce products from overseas. Also, there is good demand for entry-level import/export jobs.”
2. COMPLETE a recognized IMPORT/EXPORT TRAINING program
Anyone who wants to become an importer/exporter in Quebec should undergo some formal training in international trade.
It’s important to get a solid grounding in import/export laws, procedures, and logistics. You don’t want to risk breaking regulations and getting slapped with penalties.
You can learn the relevant skills through a university degree program in international commerce. But that’s a 4-year commitment.
If you’re looking to start your career as soon as possible, an import/export diploma is a good option.
Most programs can be completed in 2 years or even less. Herzing College offers an accelerated Import/Export diploma that takes just 14 months.
Quality import/export training covers international trade laws, ethics, marketing, and more.
Students learn how to:
☑️ Interpret and follow trade regulations
☑️ Identify opportunities and risks in international markets
☑️ Create a business plan for a company that trades across borders
☑️ Negotiate with producers, suppliers, and distributors
☑️ Prepare the documentation needed to import and export goods
☑️ Organize the efficient transportation of goods
☑️ Promote and sell products overseas
☑️ Handle international payments
3. GET REAL IMPORT/EXPORT EXPERIENCE THROUGH AN INTERNSHIP
For complete beginners, practical experience is key to getting hired.
A good import/export program will include a work placement so you can practice your skills and build your confidence in a real-world setting.
Karla says Herzing import/export students get hands-on experience with lots of different tasks during their internships.
“For example, they verify and coordinate freight delivery appointments from the warehouse to the customer.
They check the arrival of containers at ports, and verify dates of unloading and release of the containers (to avoid storage costs at the ports).
They coordinate with the warehouse and carriers to verify when containers will be delivered and then returned to the port. They get experience doing paperwork, working with a team, and applying regulations. It’s an excellent introduction to an import/export career.”
4. EXPLORE ENTRY-LEVEL IMPORT/EXPORT ROLES
After completing import/export training, you could pursue a number of different roles, such as customs official or sales rep.
Many beginners start out as import/export clerks for retailers, shipping companies, or manufacturing firms.
As an import/export clerk, you would be responsible for making sure shipments comply with all customs requirements and get to their destinations safely and cost-effectively.
That involves preparing shipping and customs documents, calculating duties and tariffs, tracking shipments, and coordinating deliveries.
It would also be your job to communicate with suppliers and follow up on late or missing orders.
Once you gain some industry experience, you’ll be better prepared to become an importer/exporter and set up your own business.
5. EARN IMPORT/EXPORT CERTIFICATION
Becoming certified by a globally respected trade organization is a good way to boost your credibility as an import/export specialist.
The Forum for International Trade Training (FITT) is a leading provider of import/export certification and training.
Its Certified International Trade Professional (CITP) designation is well regarded all around the world. Having your CITP gives potential clients more confidence in your global business expertise.
If you complete import/export training through a FITT-recognized training partner, you can challenge the FITT exams and start gaining the work experience required for CITP certification.
start your path to BECOME AN IMPORTER/EXPORTER
Solid training is the foundation of a successful import/export career. If you’re hoping to avoid spending 4 years in university, a diploma program may be the way to go.
Have a look at the Import/Export diploma program at Herzing College Montreal.
The program takes 14 or 24 months, depending on the pace you choose. A 2-month internship is included.
Our graduates qualify to take the FITT exams and work toward CITP certification.
Still have questions? An Admissions Advisor can walk you through the import/export program and help you determine if it’s right for you.
Click below to get complete program details and chat live with an Advisor. We’re here to help!