What Do Transportation Security Screeners Do?
Transportation security screeners are tasked with keeping travelers and airline passengers safe and secure. These positions are mainly with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and are responsible for screening passengers, baggage, and other cargo to determine compliance with government security measures. They operate security equipment such as X-ray machines and hand wands at security checkpoints. A large number of positions for security screeners exist in all parts of the country. There is an annual growth rate of 6% expected for this career, which means that roughly 1,470 job openings may be available every year. That number may increase over the coming years in times of national security concerns.
Transportation Security Screeners Skills and Abilities
Working as a transportation security screener will involve detailed knowledge of government laws and regulations as well as familiarity with public safety and national security policies. This job requires constant contact with the general public, so people skills are a must. You need to have the ability to concentrate and pay attention; as you perform repetitive screenings, you have to stay alert and vigilant. Expect to use and monitor security equipment for screening passengers, cargo, and baggage.Other necessary skills are:
- Critical thinking.
- Social acuity, observation, and selective consideration abilities.
- Speaking and listening skills.
- Problem sensitivity.
- Inductive and deductive reasoning.
Transportation Security Screeners Duties
Working as a security screener will require that you inspect carry-on items with the use of x-ray equipment. You may need to inspect baggage manually if any suspicious content is noted. You will also be responsible for screening passengers, including inspecting tickets and viewing identification. Sometimes those screenings may include physical inspection and pat-downs. If a security breach occurs, you must be able to determine the course of action, such as securing the area, detaining individuals of interest, notifying supervisors, and communicating with other law enforcement professionals. A screener also records information and maintains logs for any suspicious activity. You may have to seize hazardous materials or other contraband. Working with the general public means you will need to be able to answer other questions or give directions which may not be related to your security duties.
Transportation Security Screeners Tools and Technology
Transportation security screeners use different types of equipment to monitor and observe passengers and their belongings. X-ray radiography equipment is used for initial screenings. Two-way radios are employed for communication between agents or supervisors. Other tools include chemical test strips, metal detectors, and weapons or explosives detectors. Screeners also rely on computer software to record and track information. Some programs may include database, electronic mail, internet browser, and spreadsheet software. Training may be conducted through computer simulation software.
Education and Training for Transportation Security Screeners
Typically, screeners need to have a high school diploma or its equivalent. A significant number of people working in this field have had some college coursework beyond high school. On-the-job training for a short period of time is usually all that is required to work as a transportation security screener.
Transportation Security Screeners Salary
The range for wages is small, most likely because it is based on government pay grade scales rather than geographic region or years of experience. The median salary for a transportation security screener is $38,100. The lowest 10% can make $32,800, while the top 10% earn $46,500.
Transportation Security Screeners Jobs by Geography
Screening positions are more likely to be found in populated areas and major transportation hubs, although almost every transportation terminal would have the need for these jobs. California, Florida, and Texas have the most job openings for security screeners. The states with the highest median salaries are Alaska, Connecticut, and New Jersey. Wages do not vary much from state to state since they are based on a federal pay scale.