- Make sure businesses are following legal regulations in the way they trade
- Can involve undercover investigative work and managing conflict situations
- Progress into senior management roles or become a consultant
As a trading standards officer (TSO), you'll usually work for a local authority or council. Your role is to make sure organisations are operating legally and your work might cover a range of issues including consumer safety, animal welfare, fake goods, product labelling, weights and measures, or under-age sales.
- 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
- Keeping records
You'll be office-based, but may spend a lot of your time travelling around the local area, visiting traders and attending court. You may also need to work some evenings and weekends to visit pubs, clubs shops or markets. You may need a driving licence and use of a car.
Trading standards officers need excellent communication skills, analysis and investigation skills, tact, diplomacy and assertiveness, IT and maths skills.
You can apply for work as a trainee trading standards officer with a local authority, and you'll then study towards professional qualifications on the job, and work your way up to trading standards officer.
To get a place you'll usually need around GCSEs including maths and some authorities may also want you to have 2 A levels, or equivalent qualifications.
You can also apply to become a trading standards officer after getting a degree in any subject - but if you get a degree in law or consumer protection you won't need to do some of the professional examinations.
Some local authorities may sponsor you to do a consumer protection degree. This means that you'll get work experience while you study and it could also lead to a job after you graduate.
You'll then study for professional qualifications while working.
With experience, you could become a senior TSO or manager. You could also move into private consultancy work.