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How to Apply for TSA Jobs

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TSA Agents Keep Americans Safe and Earn Good Wages

As you might imagine, applying for any government job requires a rigorous screening process, and seeking a job at the Transportation Security Administration is no different. The TSA was originally part of the Department of Transportation and then moved to the Department of Homeland Security after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2011. Once you make the cut, there are a wide variety of jobs available at the TSA, all of which pay a decent wage.

How to Apply for TSA Jobs

The process of applying to the TSA involves an in-depth investigation of your past. You initially look for jobs at the TSA Jobs website. From there, you will be redirected to the USA Jobs site to start the written application process online.

If there is a need for new hires at an airport near you, you can apply for a position. Create a USA Jobs account, follow the instructions online to fill out your application, and then submit it.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Job With the TSA?

This is dependent on job openings in your area. If there is an opening at an airport nearby, you will send in the application and follow the additional steps to become a TSA agent. If there isn’t an opening, you may still be considered and contacted when an opening arises. According to the TSA, the entire process from filling out the application until you start work for the TSA can take up to several months to complete.

Requirements to Apply for TSA Jobs

The TSA outlines the requirements to apply for TSA jobs in its Self-Assessment for Applicants for the Transportation Security Administration document. You must be at least 18 years old for any job with the TSA and 21 years old to apply for a job as an air marshal.

The following items disqualify you as a candidate:

  • Combined delinquent debt of $7,500 or more
  • Unpaid state or federal tax liens in any amount
  • Delinquent child support in any amount
  • Unpaid court judgments in any amount
  • Delinquent student loans in any amount
  • Criminal offenses in the previous 10 years of many types

What Do You Have to Do to Become a TSA Agent?

After finishing the application for a specific open position on the USA Jobs website, you must complete other specific tasks to become an agent. Applicants must have the necessary education or experience in the job posting. Usually the stipulation is that you be a U.S. citizen or U.S. national and be at least 18 years old when you apply. Some jobs require that you have a bachelor’s degree, associate degree or simply a high school diploma.

If you meet those basic requirements, you'll then complete several other steps:

  • Fill out a consent form and pass a background investigation
  • Pass a medical examination for the specific position
  • Take and pass a drug test
  • Pass an image interpretation test
  • Get hired as a TSA agent
  • Receive on-the-job training

Where Is TSA Job Training?

All TSA new hires travel to the TSA Academy at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center located in Glynco, Georgia, for on-the-job training. In the past, this training was given at the airport in which you would work. This training program makes certain that all new TSA agents and screeners receive the same specific training.

TSA screeners go through 120 hours of training to prepare them to do their jobs correctly. TSA agents must also pass an annual written exam and image interpretations to maintain their certification.

Depending on the position, a new hire travels at least two weeks on full-time duty to attend the training program, although some positions can require up to six weeks of full-time duty. Trainees are paid during the training program and reimbursed for travel expenses. After the training period is complete, new agents return to their designated airports and fill the job openings. One great benefit of becoming a TSA agent is that you can work part-time at this profession and still have time to spend with your family and children.

How Much Does a TSA Agent Make an Hour?

According to PayScale, TSA agents earn hourly wages that vary depending on the position and duties of the job. Transportation security officers earn an average hourly wage of $15.98, while security officers and security screeners make an average of $15.60 and $14.81 per hour, respectively.

As with most professions, wages increase as you gain experience and receive promotions. A security supervisor can make up to $23.56 per hour on average, and a security manager can make $33.43 per hour on average.