How To Become A Transportation Security Officer

If you want a career that would allow you to keep those who are traveling by plane safe, working as a transportation security officer (TSO) for the Transportation Security Administration of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is something you may want to consider. In this profession, your main task would be to implement security screening procedures so that plane passengers are protected. This includes checking pieces of luggage and cargo for dangerous objects and preventing these from getting loaded into the plane. You will also be assisting in the screening of passengers and seeing to it that they are processed in an orderly manner before they board their plane.

Your duties as a transportation security officer could typically include checking tickets and other documents of each passenger to ensure that they are legitimate travelers. You will usually use a handheld metal detector to check each passenger for possession of items that should not be brought in the flight. You could also be assigned to operate the x-ray machine where your task will be to scrutinize the bags and other items that are run through it to make sure that there are no contrabands or dangerous things brought to the flight. If you spot anything suspicious, you would need to verify your findings by doing a manual search of the luggage.

To succeed as a transportation security officer, you need to be keenly observant to how a person moves and speaks. Your assessment of a passenger usually begins even before he hands in his tickets and bags to you. In assessing him, you will look for visual signs that he will do something dangerous to fellow passengers. You also need to be in the best of shape since the job could require you to stay on your feet for long hours at a time without break. You also need to have the ability to stay calm and be able to think on your feet in the event of dangerous situations involving an aggressive passenger.

Why Become A Transportation Security Officer

A job as a transportation security officer is ideal for those who find fulfillment in a career that protects the safety of the general public. It is a highly satisfying profession for those who enjoy being with people on a daily basis. Moreover, transportation security officers work for the federal government which means that one can expect numerous benefits and job stability.

Transportation Security Officer Work Environment

Transportation security officers work for the Transportation Security Administration of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. They can be assigned in any airport that serves the general public. Many transportation security officers are found in Florida, California, Texas, New York and Illinois.

Transportation Security Officer Salary

The Occupational Employment and Wages report of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that transportation security officers receive a mean annual wage of $37,400. It should be noted that the Transportation Security Administration does not follow the GS schedule of pay that is being observed by other federal agencies. Rather, they follow their own “SV” grading system composed of pay bands that have their own minimum and maximum ranges.

Transportation Security Officer Career Outlook

As the United States continues to beef up airport security in response to various threats, good job opportunities are expected to be in store for aspiring transportation security officers. The Transportation Security Administration has over 450 work locations around the nation.

Transportation Security Officer Degree

The educational requirement for any applicant to be considered in the hiring process of the Transportation Security Administration as a transportation security officer is simply a high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) credential. However, having a college degree is always looked upon as an advantage in any work environment. Since transportation security officers are categorized under protective service occupations, degrees in criminal justice and related fields are good preparations for this career.

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