Updated January 2024
International trade is the flow of goods and services across borders, all around the world. Trade is a major part of the global economy, and a big source of revenue for many countries.
To put things into perspective, in October 2023 Canada did $62.5 billion in exports and $64.5 billion in imports, according to OEC data.
What kinds of goods and services get imported and exported across the globe? Some of the biggest examples include electrical machinery, nuclear reactor parts, automobiles (and parts), gold, iron, and diamonds.
International trade is big business, with hundreds of participating countries, each with their own favourite trading partners and products.
But what's it like to work in this field? What kind of education do you need to get in the game, and what kinds of jobs exist in the realm of international trade?
In this post, we're looking at one possible training path—a diploma in international commerce—and the range of job options you'll have after graduation.
Should you study international trade? We'll look at it from five different angles to help you find out.
1. What exactly will you study in international trade training?
This is an obvious place to start. When you begin exploring the courses required for a diploma in international commerce, you'll get a clearer idea of the skills and knowledge you'll need for a career in this field.
A quality diploma program will include training in:
- The international trade environment: How the global trade system works, ethical issues, the role of e-commerce, challenges and advantages for businesses involved in importing/exporting, etc.
- International finance: How payments are processed in international trade, how to deal with risk, and the technology used to handle financial transactions
- How to do international market research: Discover where trade opportunities are, identify risks, analyze benefits, and stay ahead of competitors
- How to create an international marketing plan: How to promote products and services in foreign markets
- The laws of international trade: Including the ethical principles you'll need to follow when doing business overseas
- How to create an international business plan: To help a business take advantage of international trade opportunities
- Supply chain management: The producers, suppliers, distributors, and transportation networks that move goods and services around the globe, between trade partners
This program covers a lot of ground. Check out a complete course list for international trade training, with descriptions of what you'll be learning in each course.
2. How long does it take to earn a diploma in international commerce?
Wondering how much of a time investment you'll need to make to earn this diploma? It will take about 15 months to finish your courses AND complete an internship.
Don't choose an international trade program without an internship. This component is essential for putting your new skills into practice, connecting with a potential employer, and gaining some real work experience for your resume.
You can expect your internship to run for about six to eight weeks, full time.
3. What are your job options with a diploma in international commerce?
Before you enrol in a program, make sure you understand what you'll be qualified to do after training—and where you can find work.
The most common employers of international commerce graduates are import/export companies and customs agencies. You could also become an importer/exporter yourself and set up your own business.
Your very first job could be as a customs official, import/export clerk, or sales rep. Import/export clerks work for retail businesses, shipping companies, and industrial companies. They help coordinate the shipping and delivery process.
The import/export clerk is the person who handles custom clearance for shipments, prepares all the necessary documents, calculates tariffs and duties, and coordinates delivery with contacts overseas.
They track down missing or late orders, communicate with suppliers, and figure out which transport companies to use for each order. Import/export clerks make sure goods get from point A to point B, safely, legally, and on budget. They're a crucial team member.
Learn more about the role: What it's Like to Work as an Import/Export Clerk?
4. how strong is canada's import/export industry?
Every year, Canadian companies do billions of dollars worth of trade with countries all over the world. The OEC says that between October 2022 and October 2023, the value of Canada's exports grew by $508 million.
And what salary can you expect to make? According to PayScale, the median salary for import/export clerks in Canada is about $40,000. More experienced import/export clerks are making around $43,000.
We found many job postings for import/export coordinators across Canada that offered salaries between $40,000 and $55,000.
5. Is an International Commerce Program right for you?
If you're looking for a quicker alternative to a three or four-year university program, an international commerce diploma would be ideal.
The goal of a diploma program is to prepare you for entry-level international trade jobs straight after graduation. Once you've got your foot in the door, you continue learning on the job and climb into higher roles over time.
If the courses for the diploma sound interesting to you, and you can see yourself working at a customs agency or import/export company, it makes sense to take the next step and learn more about training.
We strongly suggest speaking with an admissions advisor to understand the application process (and entry requirements) for our international commerce program.
Chat live with an advisor right now. Or click below to explore the program in more detail. We're here to help!