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Security Officers Needed at Many Airports

Homeland Security continues to recruit Transportation Security Officers for work in airports, but now increasing attention is being paid to security for surface transportation as well.

TSO positions average salary between $31,203 and $44,576.

With the announcement of the expansion of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to new airports in addition to the existing ones the TSA continues to hire in large numbers. While many Transportation Security Officers (TSO’s) also known as Screeners enjoy high job satisfaction, some find the work difficult. Long hours, frequent medium to heavy lifting and health-related concerns from the use of equipment contribute to job fatigue in some workers. The Agency recruits continually to maintain its ranks.

Work Schedules
Work schedules can be demanding. The current vacancy announcement for Screeners says the following about schedules: “Full-time work consists of shift-work on any day from Sunday through Saturday, which may include irregular hours, nights, holidays, overtime, extended shifts and weekend shifts, changing shifts, and split shifts.”

Part-time / Full-time
Many Screener positions are filled by part-time workers.

Health Issues
Some Screeners maintain that exposure to the X-ray machines they use can pose a health risk. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) management, on the other hand, reports that the latest testing of the machines shows that the risks fall within a safe range. This continues to be an area of controversy.

Union Representation
Earlier the TSA and the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) reached agreement on a contract for TSO workers. The Union reported: “This contract is focused on the issues important to officers across the nation’s airports and will provide for increased uniformity, transparency and fair treatment. This agreement will also strengthen officers’ ability to carry out TSA’s vital mission of protecting the American people by fostering a family-friendly workplace where the employees have greater job satisfaction and feel supported in performing their important security work.”

Salary and Benefits
Salaries for Security Screeners vary by location but are generally in the range of $31,203 to $ 44,576 and can sometimes go as high as $86,630. Part time work is paid at the same hourly rate as full time work. Locality pay adjustments apply in many locations in some cases boosting the salary by up to 25%. In addition the Screeners will be Federal workers and will receive most Federal benefits. These include access to Federal health care and retirement systems. However, they will not be eligible for Federal holidays.

Current Openings
At any given time job candidates can apply for a position at an airport with an opening or they may check the listings regularly and wait for an opening to occur at a facility near them. A list of current opening appears on this site .

Job Description
The TSA describes the job of Screener as follows: “Implements security-screening procedures that are central to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) objectives and that will serve to protect the traveling public by preventing any deadly or dangerous objects from being transported onto an aircraft. Assists in conducting screening of passengers, baggage and cargo. May be required to conduct screening at any airport that provides commercial services to the public. Assists in monitoring the flow of passengers through the screening checkpoint to facilitate the orderly and efficient processing of passengers. Maintains close communication with supervisors regarding any issues that might reveal a weakness or vulnerable area of security screening that is discovered in the course of screening duties. Participates in information briefings concerning security-sensitive or classified information."

Key Skills
• Ability to learn the theories, dynamics, and factors underlying the aviation screening process to enable authoritative and independent handling of screening functions.
• Ability to learn to operate basic security equipment such as X-ray machines and hand wands at screening checkpoints
• Ability to work with persons of diverse backgrounds
• Ability to communicate non-technical information effectively to others

Originally workers were required to be high school graduates. However, the high school diploma requirement has since been lifted in order to expedite recruitment. Now applicants can qualify with one year of security work, or work with an X-ray machine. To qualify applicants must also:

• Be a U.S. Citizen.
• Have adequate joint mobility, dexterity and range of motion, strength, and stability to repeatedly lift and carry up to 70 pounds; and
• Be able to read, speak, and write English.

Any applicant tentatively selected for this position will be subject to a pre-employment or pre-appointment drug screening. Persons occupying these positions will be subject to random drug and/or alcohol testing. They must pass the Screener Assessment Battery. This is a series of tests that evaluate for English proficiency, aptitude for X-ray interpretation and for dealing in a positive way with the public.

Stringent Background Check
Job candidates for the Screener position will be required to undergo a stringent background investigation. Consequently candidates should not expect to begin work for many months after they apply. Candidates will not be eligible if they:

• Defaulted on $7,500 or more in debt (excluding certain circumstances of bankruptcy), or
• Owe any delinquent Federal or State taxes, or
• Owe any past due child support payments.

Women may have an advantage in some locations due to the need for female screeners who can perform gender based pat downs.

No Age Restriction
Although almost all Federal law enforcement positions are restricted by age requiring that applicants be no older than 37 at the time of appointment. This age restriction does not apply to the Screener workforce because Screeners are not required to carry firearms.

How To Apply
Interested job candidates can apply on-line or by mail. The on-line application is preferred.
To receive a mail-in package contact TSA:
By phone: 1-877-872-7990
By email: Helpdesk@tsa-hraccess.com

Candidates should review the Job Announcements applications on-line and click on the Job Title to display the Job Announcement itself and then click “Apply On-Line” at the bottom of the page. Candidates can learn more about application procedures on-line .

Other TSA Positions
The TSA also regularly posts announcements for the following positions.

Criminal Investigator- (SV-1811) $108,104 to $167,567. Duties described in a recent opening include: “Leading high level special projects, policy studies, initiatives and change efforts of a special and sensitive nature; analyzing and interpreting policies, procedures, and precedents, and developing a range of alternatives for consideration of the AA/DAA that address highly complex issues.”

IT Specialist- (SV-2210) $74,123 to $140,164. Duties described in a recent opening include: “Monitoring contractors and other service providers including local IT Specialists and area Customer Service Managers to support the implementation of projects.”

How to Apply
Candidates interested in other security positions at TSA can begin by scanning the jobs listed on this website. Candidates can also visit the TSA career page .