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Transportation Security Officer – Positions Now Available

The Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Agency employs more than 50,000 transportation security officers (TSOs) at 440 airports nationwide. TSOs provide security and protect travelers across all transportation sectors. Their duties extend to securing high-profile events, important figures and/or anything that includes or impacts this nation’s transportation systems.

Currently, over 442 job vacancy announcements are posted online, many for multiple positions at airports across the county. The starting salary is $35,152 ($16.90 / hour). Salary is adjusted per locality pay area. Many locations are offering sign on bonuses of $1,000 or more and starting salary can be negotiated under certain conditions.  

Applicants must have a high school diploma, General Educational Development (GED), High School Equivalency Test (HiSET), or Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC) credential OR at least one year of full-time work experience in the security industry, aviation screening, or as an X-ray technician.  English language proficiency is also required.

TSO Duties

Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) provide security and protection of air travelers, airports and perform the following duties:

  • Operating various screening equipment and technology to identify dangerous objects in baggage, cargo and on passengers, and preventing those objects from being transported onto aircraft.
  • Performing searches and screening, which may include physical interaction with passengers (e.g., pat-downs, search of property, etc.), conducting bag searches and lifting/carrying bags, bins, and property weighing up to 50lbs.
  • Controlling terminal entry and exit points.
  • Interacting with the public, giving directions and responding to inquiries.
  • Maintaining focus and awareness while working in a stressful environment which includes noise from alarms, machinery and people, crowd distractions, time pressure, and disruptive and angry passengers, in order to preserve the professional ability to identify and locate potentially life threatening or mass destruction devices, and to make effective decisions in both crisis and routine situations.
  • Engaging in continuous development of critical thinking skills, necessary to mitigate actual and potential security threats, by identifying, evaluating, and applying appropriate situational options and approaches.  This may include application of risk-based security screening protocols that vary based on program requirements.
  • Retaining and implementing knowledge of all applicable Standard Operating Procedures, demonstrating responsible and dependable behavior, and is open to change and adapts to new information or unexpected obstacles. write necessary correspondence and narrative reports of contacts.

The following link will take you to the GS 1802 Occupational Description that includes links to the current job announcements on USAJOBS.

TSOs are encountered at transportations hubs nationwide. Explore the opportunities and visit www.federaljobs.net regularly for new recruiting initiatives.

About The Author

Dennis V. Damp is a retired federal manager, business owner, career counselor and veteran. Damp’s The Book of U.S. Government Jobs was awarded “Best Career” title by the Benjamin Franklin Awards Committee. Damp is the author of 28 books, a recognized employment expert, and a retired federal manager with 35 years of service. He worked for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and held numerous supervisory and management positions and was responsible for recruiting, rating and interviewing applicants, outreach and hiring. His last government position was technical operations manager at the Pittsburgh International Airport’s air traffic control tower.