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Trading standards officer TSO

Trading standards officers protect consumers and businesses by promoting a safe and fair trading environment. 

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £19,000 to £90,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 37 per week

1. Entry requirements

You'll usually work for a local authority.

You'll need 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) or equivalent, but some authorities may ask for 2 A levels.

You'll then study for professional qualifications while working.

If you have a degree in consumer protection, you can apply for a job as a graduate trainee trading standards officer.

You can become a TSO with any degree subject, but degrees in consumer protection or law can exempt you from some professional examinations.

Experience of legal, retail or advice work would be helpful.

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute has a list of approved course providers.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • excellent communication skills
  • analysis and investigation skills
  • tact, diplomacy and assertiveness
  • IT and maths skills 

3. What you'll do

As a trading standards officer, you’ll cover a range of issues, including:

  • consumer safety
  • animal welfare
  • fake goods
  • product labelling
  • weights and measures
  • under-age sales

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.

4. Salary

Starter: £19,000 to £23,000

Experienced: £24,000 to £50,000

Highly Experienced: £90,000 (senior management private sector)

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll work around 37 hours a week. You may need to work some evenings and weekends to visit pubs, clubs shops or markets.

You’ll have an office base, but will spend a lot of time travelling around the local area, visiting traders and attending court. You may need a driving licence and use of a car.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could become a senior TSO or manager.

You could also move into private consultancy work.

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Last updated: 18 August 2017

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