Export Manager: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Export managers require a little amount of formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and necessary skills to see if this is the right career for you.

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Essential Information

Degree Level High school diploma or equivalent; college degree often preferred
Degree Field(s) Business or related field
Licensure/Certification Voluntary certification available
Experience Industry experience can sometimes be substituted for education
Key Skills Excellent management, organizational, and customer service skills; knowledge of export laws and regulations
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 5% growth
Median Annual Salary (2016) $55,240 (for sales managers)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, PayScale.com

Export managers serve as intermediaries between foreign buyers and domestic sellers. Unlike export traders, who buy the products before selling directly to foreign buyers, export managers find buyers internationally for domestic product manufacturers.


As middlemen, export managers plan and coordinate the international shipment of goods. During the course of the day, they may negotiate with a variety of people, such as shippers, agents and vendors, and are expected to have excellent customer service skills in dealing with customers. Export managers are also often responsible for personnel management, which often includes the hiring, training and supervision of staff.

In their accounting function, export managers may keep track of invoices and prepare reports to expedite the billing process. They may also have to ensure that shipments are in compliance with the laws and regulations governing the export industry.

Salary and Employment Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't have an entry specific to export managers in its employment outlook reports; however, its reports list the related occupation of sales manager. Sales managers were expected to see 5% growth in employment between 2014 and 2024. PayScale.com noted that the median salary for export sales managers was $55,240, as of January 2016.


While there are no specific requirements for entry into this field, most employers require that candidates have at least a high school education, and many prefer a college degree. However, experience in the industry may often substitute for the lack of a degree. You'll also need to have excellent customer service skills and knowledge of export laws and regulations.

The ability to communicate in a foreign language relevant to a company's targeted markets may be helpful but is not always necessary in this career. Important elements for success in this field is an understanding of international trade and market demands.

Certification Options

Although it is not required, professional certification may be beneficial for those seeking to solidify industry knowledge and increase career opportunities. The International Import-Export Institute (IIEI) offers international trade certifications for those in the industry. Preparation for certifications such as the Certified Exporter (CE), Certified International Trade Professional (CITP), Certified U.S. Export Compliance Officer (CUSECO) and other titles are available through online courses (www.iiei.dunlap-stone.edu).

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