Transportation Security Officer

Keep trains, planes, and highways safe from suspicious activities.
picture of Transportation Security Officer

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$31,000 – $45,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Transportation Security Officers do?

Protecting the innocent is top priority for a Transportation Security Officer. Transportation Security Officers are in charge of watching for potential threats from passengers traveling by plane, train, boat, and many other forms of transportation. Though most Transportation Security Officers work for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), businesses may also need your services.

Terrorists and criminals don’t wear signs stating their dangerous intentions, so how do you spot them? Modern technology is your partner in the fight against crime. X-ray scanners and metal detectors sound the alarm to warn that suspicious items may be present.

Your other sidekick in the battle for safe transportation is your own two eyes. By monitoring a bank of security cameras or performing sweeps of the lobby, you can watch for suspicious activity or prohibited items. While it’s obvious that guns should not be brought onto the plane, other items like candles or bottles of liquid don’t appear dangerous. Passengers who haven’t thoroughly read the list of banned items may try to cart one of these onto the plane with them.

Finally, you need a good attitude to carry out your duties. Telling passengers they’ll need to undergo pat-downs or leave prohibited items behind doesn’t always lead to happy customers. To keep everything flowing smoothly, you must be firm without making the passenger think you don’t care about their feelings. It’s a tricky line to walk, but a crucial one for protecting others.

Should I be a Transportation Security Officer?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Helpful: You always keep an eye out for what other people need.
  • Team Player: You're able to listen, communicate, and work with tons of different people.
  • Flexible: You're open to change and think variety is the spice of life.

  • Also known as: Screening Representative, TSA Officer, TSO

    How to Become a
    Transportation Security Officer

    Most Transportation Security Officers have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:9haaaa&chl=no+college+%2889%25%29|certificate+%2811%25%29||||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,89,89
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