Trading Standards Officer

Job Description:

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

Job Category:
Retail & Consumer

What you will do:

As a trading standards officer, you could:

  • do routine checks or look into complaints on local traders and businesses, sometimes through undercover or surveillance work
  • take samples for testing and find unsafe electrical items
  • make sure labels are correct and not misleading
  • check the accuracy of drink measures and weighing scales
  • prepare evidence and go to court in prosecution cases
  • advise people about the law, give talks, write reports and keep records


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of English language
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • analytical thinking skills
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • persistence and determination
  • tact, diplomacy and assertiveness
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail (organisational skills)
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure (leadership skills)
  • excellent verbal communication skills
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Trading Standards Officer, you don’t need specific subjects, but a strong educational foundation, relevant skills, and knowledge areas are essential. Trading Standards Officers are responsible for enforcing consumer protection laws and regulations. Here are some subjects and other qualifications that can help you prepare for a career in this field:

  1. English: Strong written and verbal communication skills are crucial for Trading Standards Officers, as you’ll be drafting reports, communicating with the public, and investigating consumer complaints.
  2. Mathematics: An understanding of mathematics is important for analysing data, calculating measurements, and conducting financial investigations.
  3. Science: Knowledge of scientific principles can be valuable, especially if you’re involved in investigating product safety, health, and environmental issues.
  4. Business Studies: Understanding business concepts, marketing practices, and consumer rights within a commercial context is essential for this role.
  5. Law or Legal Studies (if available): Many Trading Standards Officers have a legal background or education. Understanding consumer protection laws and regulations is a key aspect of this job.
  6. ICT (Information and Communication Technology): Proficiency in using computer software for data analysis and documentation is important.
  7. Social Studies: Subjects like Sociology or Economics can provide insights into consumer behaviour, market dynamics, and societal issues related to consumer protection.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly


You can become a trading standards officer with a degree in any subject.

If you get a degree in law or consumer protection, you will not need to do some of the professional examinations.

Some local authorities might sponsor you to do a degree in consumer protection. This means that you’ll get work experience whilst you study. It could also lead to a job after you graduate.


You could do a Trading Standards Professional Higher Apprenticeship.


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 to qualify through training.

Direct Application

You could apply for a trainee trading standards officer role with a local authority. You could then study towards professional qualifications on the job, and work your way up to trading standards officer.

Career tips

You’ll find it useful to have experience of legal, retail or advice work.

Some local councils might offer work experience or internships in trading standards in departments like environmental health.

Working Hours and Environment:

A typical week consists of 37-40 hours of work. You could be required to work evenings/weekends attending events or appointments.

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.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience, you could become a senior trading standards officer or manager.

You could also move into private consultancy work.