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TSA Transportation Security Officer Job Description

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The transportation security officer provides security for passengers, aircraft and airports. The officer is an employee of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and is directly responsible for front-line passenger and baggage screening. Specific duties include examining baggage as it runs through X-ray machines and screening passengers with a hand-held wand, walk-through detectors and other electronic detectors, according to the Transportation Security Administration, or TSA.

Additional duties

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A TSA transportation security officer controls and monitors entry and exit points into secured airport locations, such as tarmacs, terminals, airside gates, baggage claim and other common areas.

Physical Requirements

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The TSA transportation security officer position requires strenuous physical exertion. He must be able to repeatedly lift and carry up to 70 pounds, continually stand between one to four hours and walk up to 2 miles a day. He must also have vision that is correctable to 20/30 or better in his best eye and 20/100 or better in his worst eye. The officer must have good hearing, either corrected or uncorrected. Average blood-pressure readings are not to exceed 140/90.

Communication Skills

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Interacting with the public throughout the shift is a major part of a transportation security officer's job. She must be able to remain courteous under stressful conditions, including dealing with troublesome passengers. She must also be able to explain security regulations to the public. She must be proficient in English, both written and spoken, though command of foreign languages can prove helpful.

Education and Training

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The TSA transportation security officer position requires a high school diploma, or a general educational development diploma or the equivalent. One year of experience in a security field or as an X-ray technician can be substituted for education. The officer, who must be a U.S. citizen or national, must past a variety of tests, including the TSA's Screener Assessment Battery (a series of tests that evaluates a proficiency in English and an aptitude to interpret X-ray images), color vision test, job-related medical interview, a drug-screening test and an interview. After training, he's required to pass all training exams and demonstrate continuous improvement while on the job.


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As a transportation security officer, she must be able to maintain her focus in a noisy, and sometimes confusing environment. She needs to respond quickly and appropriately in an emergency situation that arises at the airport.

Credit History

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An applicant's credit history is also reviewed before employment as a TSA transportation security officer. He won't be eligible for this position if his credit history shows he's defaulted on more than $7,500 in debt, owes federal or state taxes, or has any past-due child-support payments.


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Full federal benefits, including retirement savings programs, insurance and paid leaves, are available for this position.