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About the MCS Certification Course

The Master Customs Specialist (MCS) Certification designates its holders as possessing advanced knowledge and skills in U.S. Customs and its partner government agencies. A highly prized and recognized accomplishment, the course leading to certification provides the practitioner with a depth of expertise beyond the day-to-day operational demands of Customs brokers and import operations. It instills the expertise to advise clients on strategic considerations and risk management. It also provides a deeper understanding of the impact and great implications of day-to-date decisions and enhances the holder's ability to exercise responsible supervision.

The MCS certification program covers advanced import topics, real-word application, strategic considerations, and risk implications for Customs brokers and their customers.


The course is broken down into 8 major parts:

  • Classification
  • Compliance
  • Mitigation Guidelines
  • Valuation
  • Admissibility Requirements
  • Transportation
  • Management


  • $950 for members
  • $1,450 fro non-members

NEI Professional Membership

If you are employed by an NCBFAA member company, you will receive the member pricing for this course. If you are not employed by an NCBFAA member company, you may still sign up for our individual Professional Membership in order to receive member pricing on our educational offerings.

Ready to Enroll?

Before submitting an application, please review the MCS prerequisites.

If you are a Current or Returning Student 

You must have an NCBFAA Login ID and password to use NEI's online resources. Have you forgotten or need help setting up your password? Please click, here. 

If you are a NEW Student 

Please review our "Registration" page for more details by clicking, here.

Video instructions are on our Logistics-EI Tutorials page.

Master Customs Specialist (MCS) Prerequisites

The Master Customs Specialist Certification to be offered through the NCBFAA Educational Institute (NEI) will provide members of the community with advanced training and the opportunity to become certified with a master's-level designation in the practice of Import Regulations. This program is intended to recognize individuals with a heightened level of expertise beyond a journeyman level in the disciplines required for practical import operations. If compared to an academic degree, it would be analogous to the penultimate achievement of a master's level of proficiency. The MCS will be highly visible throughout the industry and will provide the model for the vertical and lateral extension of the existing body of NEI certification programs.

Please note the following prerequisites are guidelines for enrollment only, and not required. It is our belief that potential students are best able to gauge their fitness for this certification program.

The NEI's Certified Customs Specialist (CCS) designation is not a prerequisite for the MCS Course.

 CCS DesigneeImport Industry Experience (Non-CCS)
Work ExperienceCurrently working in trade industrySeasoned Import Professional Min. 6 years' experience
Career MilestonesResume/CV demonstrating industry experience Resume/CV demonstrating industry involvement
Formal Education4-year degree or 4-year equivalent industry experience4-year degree or 6-years equivalent industry experience
Employer Support Optional letter of support from employer/managerOptional letter of support from employer/manager


To be Awarded the MCS Designation, Learners Must:

  • Review all modules & pass all module quizzes
  • Complete and pass a comprehensive final exam
  • Submit a scholarly essay and receive a passing grade from NEI experts 

Academic Performance:

  • 80% on all module quizzes
  • 80% on Final Exam


Satisfactory production of college-level writing in the form of a persuasive essay.

Scholarly Essay

The final step in earning your MCS designation is the scholarly essay.

Completion of a Persuasive Essay on an NEI-Approved Topic

  • Must propose an argument surrounding your topic
  • Clarify and support your argument through relevant facts and research
  • Demonstrate sufficient knowledge on the subject

Average Essay to be 1500-3000 Words

  • Minimum of 1500 words
  • User APA Guidelines for both in-text and end of essay citations

Graded Pass or Fail

  • Graded by an NEI-selected expert/group of experts
  • Learners may resubmit their essay per expert feedback if a failing grade is received