Hiring Process at the TSA, TSO, FAM and Canine Handlers

Hiring Process at the TSA

Embarking on your journey to obtain a career with the Transportation Security Administration will allow you to take part in a team of highly skilled individuals who are responsible for protecting the nation's transportation system through counter-terrorism tactics. There are currently almost 50,000 TSA employees working to secure airports checkpoints, rail cars, patrolling subways, and working with law enforcement to ensure all modes of transportation are safe and secure. Let's take a look at what it takes to land a TSA law enforcement career.

Over 2 million passengers are screened daily by highly trained TSA employees. A job with TSA allows you to have a reliable and fulfilling career ensuring the safety of those who travel. They also have job opportunities for veterans, students, and individuals with disabilities.

How Do You Apply for TSA Jobs?

You need to search for an open position on USAJOBS site. New openings for 2019 are being added daily so it is important to constantly check the site. You can easily filter for positions to help you easily find what you are looking for. You will be directed to apply for the position if you are a U.S citizen, at least 18 years of age, with a high school equivalency diploma. Once you start your application your TSA candidate dashboard will help you keep track of exactly where you are in the hiring process.

How Long Does the TSA Hiring Process Take?

The hiring process is quite lengthy and can take several months. Depending on the candidate the length of time needed to process the application can be different. Therefore, it is best to make sure you understand what you are getting yourself into and come prepared for each step of the way. Take a look at what the hiring process looks like for the following positions:

What Are the Salary Expectations for Airport Security Jobs?

The Transportation Security Administration uses an SV grading system, which is a discrete salary system with pay ranges. Airport security salaries typically begin at the D pay band, which is $28,293 to $42,439. In addition to this base salary for TSA airport positions, individuals can receive a locality pay, depending on where the job is located.

Take a look at the TSA Core Compensation Plan Pay Chart for 2021:

  • Pay Band A: $18,941 to $27,693
  • Pay Band B: $21,699 to $31,649
  • Pay Band C: $24,577 to $36,924
  • Pay Band D: $28,293 to $42,439
  • Pay Band TSO D: $29,708 to $42,439
  • Pay Band E: $32,489 to $48,791
  • Pay Band TSO E: $34,113 to $48,791
  • Pay Band F: $37,283 to $55,985
  • Pay Band G: $43,639 to $67,612
  • Pay Band H: $53,227 to $82,479
  • Pay Band I: $64,856 to $100,582
  • Pay Band J: $79,124 to $122,639
  • Pay Band K: $94,588 to $145,164
  • Pay Band L: $113,049 to $170,796
  • Pay Band M: $133,311 to $172,500
TSA Core Compensation Plan Pay Chart for 2021
© TSA Core Compensation Plan Pay Chart for 2021

There is a number of professional growth opportunities for those starting as a TSA agent including:

  • Scheduling Operations Officers
  • Aviation Regulatory Inspectors
  • Transportation Security Inspectors – Cargo
  • Transportation Security Managers
  • Supervisory Transportation Security Officers
  • Lead Transportation Security Officers
  • Intelligence Operations Specialist

What Are Some of the Requirements Needed to Submit an Application for Employment with the TSA?

Many education and experience requirements will vary according to the position and rank you are applying for. But, the minimum requirements include:

  • Must be a US citizen.
  • Must be 18 years old or older.
  • Must possess a high school diploma or GED.
  • Must be able to pass a drug screening and medical evaluation.
  • Pass a background investigation (credit check and a criminal check).

It very common for those seeking TSA jobs to hold a formal degree programs from accredited colleges and universities. Typical majors include: criminology, political science, and criminal justice.

What Is the Training Process like for a TSA Agent?

Before beginning a TSA agent position all candidates must go through an extensive training process. Expect to face about 120 hours of training – including both classroom and on the job training. As of 2016 a new consolidated training program was instituted. New hires will attend a TSA training program in the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynco, Georgia lasting nine days. It includes eight classes of 24 students and three instructors. The federal government covers the cost of training and it costs about $2,400 for each student including travel and lodging.

The TSA uses an Online Learning Center (OLC) as a centralized learning management system. The OLC supports continuous delivery of TSA learning and development programs. Within the OLC is the TSA Screener Training Program, which includes study in X-Ray operation, screening of individuals, searching property, searching checked baggage, and operating machinery which tests for explosives.

All TSA employees must complete a number of tests before they get their first assignment. On top of that, there is an annual certification process that includes written tests, image interpretation tests, and a third-party evaluations.

What Are Some of the Perks You Get When You Work for the TSA?

An amazing perk to working with the TSA is that there are more than 450 locations across the United States, including the main headquarters in Virginia.

  • Health Insurance
  • Dental Insurance
  • Flexible Spending Account (FSA) 
  • Vision Insurance 
  • Life Insurance
  • Pension Plan
  • 401K
  • Vacation/ Paid Time off
  • Sick Days

Learn more about the benefits of working for TSA with this Employee Benefits video.

Can I Transfer Positions from One Airport to Another?

A great thing about working with the TSA is that they make it easy to transfer positions to a different airport. This opens the door for you to have job flexibility and move to of there 400 different locations. Here is a list of the different locations you can work in:

  • Las Vegas
  • Atlanta
  • LAX
  • JFK
  • NYC
  • Orlando
  • Chicago
  • San Diego
  • Miami
  • NJ
  • Florida
  • Denver
  • DFW
  • Boston
  • Phoenix
  • Michigan
  • Sacramento

What Are the Education Requirements Once You Get Hired for the Job?

Ongoing certification is mandated by the government once a year. You must take continuous education proficiency requirements and pass related tests annually. This ensures that the job continues to be dynamic and promote learning of the latest security protocols.

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