Schools with Import-Export Degrees and Programs: How to Choose

Businesses that import and export must plan, finance and arrange the transportation of goods while abiding by international regulations and fee structures. Professionals who want to expand their knowledge and those looking to engage in international trade can find colleges and universities across the U.S. that offer import-export programs at various levels.

How to Select an Import-Export Program

The import-export business is part of international trade. Students who focus on this area of business study the global economy and cross-cultural communication. Those interested in the effect that imports and exports have on local and national economies can pursue an associate, bachelor's or master's degree in international business through a 2-year or 4-year school. Specialized training in importing and exporting is available through a few certificate programs.

Summary of Considerations

  • Level of award
  • Practical experience
  • Certification preparation
  • Curriculum

Level of Award

Students who are new to the field of international business will benefit from an undergraduate degree in business administration augmented with international relations courses and study-abroad opportunities. Alternatively, a student can obtain a degree in international relations and take business courses. Working professionals can enroll in a certificate program specifically to learn about the import-export business. Those wanting to advance their careers can enroll in a master's degree program.

Practical Experience

Some certificate and degree programs offer a practicum or internship, which can be very useful in gaining real-world experience. Students may also benefit from schools that have study-abroad programs, which can provide networking opportunities as well as cultural awareness.

Certification Preparation

Aspiring import-export specialists may wish to seek programs that include certification training in the curriculum. For example, some schools structure programs to prepare graduates to take the National Association of Small Business International Trade Educators' Global Business Professional credentialing exam.


Because the import-export business deals mainly with international trade, students would do well to seek programs that focus on cultural diversity and strengthening communication skills.

Import-Export Program Overviews

Certificate Programs

Certificate programs are aimed at working professionals seeking additional, specialized training. Some require students to be enrolled in a degree program simultaneously. A review of prerequisites is recommended prior to application. Certificate programs usually consist of about 12-15 credit hours. Some programs require a practicum. Coursework includes:

  • Introduction to international trade
  • Global logistics management
  • Principles of importing and exporting
  • Global supply chain management

Associate Degree Programs

Though there is no import-export associate degree, many business administration and international trade degree programs offer specialization in import-export procedures along with coursework in business and cultural studies. Associate degree programs can also help working professionals update their knowledge of import-export regulations. Coursework can include:

  • Import/export strategies
  • Finance
  • Economics
  • International legal environment
  • World cultures

Bachelor's Degree Programs

Business administration degree programs may appeal to students interested in the wider business world. Many of these programs offer electives and concentrations in the import-export field. Those interested specifically in trading can pursue a degree in international studies. Depending upon the program, coursework can include:

  • Global studies
  • Modern languages
  • Accounting
  • International law
  • International marketing

Master's Degree Programs

Applicable master's degree programs include those in international business administration and international policy management. Some graduates of master's degree programs become employed at the managerial level, while others take on entrepreneurial pursuits. Some programs offer courses on weekends or online. Programs can typically be completed within two years by full-time students. Coursework can include:

  • World politics
  • Strategic negotiation
  • Global trade policy
  • Foundations of global business
  • Cross-cultural negotiations

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