Trading standards officers (TSOs) protect consumers and businesses by promoting a safe and fair trading environment.
Salary Range: £19,000 to £90,000
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- working towards this role
- applying directly
You can become a trading standards officer with any degree subject.
If you get a degree in law or consumer protection you won’t need to do some of the professional examinations. Find out more from the Chartered Trading Standards Institute.
Some local authorities may sponsor you for the consumer protection degree. This means that you’ll get work experience whilst you study. It could also lead to a job after you graduate.
You’ll usually need:
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and science
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
You could start as an enforcement officer with a local authority and apply to join a trading standards training programme. Your employer would support you through training to qualify.
You can apply for work as a trainee trading standards officer with a local authority. You’ll then study towards professional qualifications on the job, and work your way up to trading standards officer.
You’ll usually need 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including maths. Some authorities may also want you to have 2 A levels, or equivalent qualifications.
You’ll find it useful to have experience of legal, retail or advice work.
You can find out more about working and training in trading standards through the Chartered Trading Standards Institute.
Skills and knowledge
- persistence and determination
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- analytical thinking skills
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- knowledge of English language
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- excellent verbal communication skills
- thinking and reasoning skills
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to:
- pass background checks
Your day-to-day duties could include:
- visiting local traders and businesses for routine checks or investigating complaints
- taking samples of goods for testing
- checking that weighing scales and measures are accurate, like beer and spirit measures in pubs and clubs
- making sure labelling is correct and advertising is not misleading
- finding unsafe electrical goods and toys
- advising consumers and businesses about the law
- investigating suspected offences through undercover or surveillance work
- preparing evidence and going to court in prosecution cases
- giving talks, writing reports and keeping records.
You could work in an office, at a client’s business or in a court.
Your working environment may be at height, outdoors some of the time, cramped, dirty and noisy.
You may need to wear protective clothing.
With experience, you could become a senior TSO or manager.
You could also move into private consultancy work.