The U.S. National Transportation Security Agency, most commonly referred to as the TSA, was founded following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The attacks revealed existing weaknesses in airport security procedures, which were regulated by private security contractors hired by each airline or airports. The agency was established on November 19, 2001, as part of the Department of Transportation but was transferred two years later to the Department of Homeland Security.
General policies are developed by the TSA to protect the various transportation systems in the United States, including highways, railways, buses, ports, and airports, together with other federal agencies. However, its main responsibility is airport security and hijacking prevention. The TSA is in charge of passenger and baggage inspection at more than 450 U.S. airports, among other tasks.
Today the TSA employs nearly 50,000 security guards, inspectors, Federal Air Marshals, and managers. Each of them takes part in the protection of American transportation systems. More than 450 offices are scattered throughout the country, at airports and the agency's headquarters. These jobs belong to three departments:
- Federal Air Marshal Service and law enforcement department
- Airport security department
- Management, administrative and specialist department
The TSA offers job opportunities for:
The TSA provides job opportunities for Veterans and soldiers about to be released from active military service. Members of the military may accept a civilian position if they have completed active service and are on transition leave, pending release from active service. The non-competitive TSA Veteran Appointment Authority applies to TSA management, administrative and specialist positions and is similar to the Veterans' Recruitment Appointment (VRA). Eligibility requirements include disabled veterans, veterans who were on active duty in the armed forces during a war declared by Congress, veterans who retired from active service within 3 years, and more. The Appointment Authority does not apply to:
- Transportation Security Executive Service
- Transportation Security Officer
- Federal Air Marshal
Persons With Disabilities
People with disabilities can apply for a TSA position through a non-competitive hiring process; an expedited process that eliminates competitive rating and ranking. In order to be considered non-competitive, candidates must provide specific disability documents provided by a licensed health professional. Security jobs have strict physical and medical requirements. As a result, the most relevant positions for people with disabilities are usually in management and administrative positions. Applicants applying for vacancies with specific physical qualification requirements, such as Transportation Security Officer and Federal Air Marshal positions, must meet the physical qualification requirements outlined in job postings.
Internships at the TSA are offered to students as opportunities to combine their university studies with federal work. Students acquire skills that prepare them to become the next generation of leaders in the federal workforce. TSA student jobs may relate to public policy and administration, civil rights, business and financial management, information technology, human resources, communications, engineering, Federal Air Marshal, and others. TSA internships include paid and unpaid opportunities and may take place in the Washington metropolitan area or at one of the airports or offices scattered throughout the U.S.
If you are a student and would like to learn about the current internship opportunities, please search the USAJOBS website and your school's website. If you have any questions, please email TSA Student Programs.
Who Can Apply for Positions at the TSA?
You must be a U.S. citizen in order to apply for a job at the TSA. Applicants must also meet all the eligibility requirements listed for the position for which they are applying, including age, health status, training, and certification, as well as other prior qualifications that may be required, depending on the position.
What Salary Can a TSO Expect?
Depending on the airport and its location, the average salary of a new TSO ranges from $16/h to $20/h, or about $39,000 per year. Depending on seniority, the average salary increases and varies between $23/h and $29/h, or about $57,000 per year.
Find out more about the salaries of the various jobs available at TSA on the next page.
In order to work at the TSA, candidates must pass a test named the TSA CBT Test (Transportation Security Administration Computer-Based Test). This test includes:
- X-Ray Interpretation Test
- English test
If you would like to apply for a job at the TSA and have questions, contact their offices using one of the following methods:
- Tel: 877-TSA-7990 (877-872-7990)
- Fax: 877-TSA-7993 (877-872-7993)
- Hearing impaired: dial 711 for the Federal Relay.
- Email: HelpDesk@mailserver-hraccess.tsa.dhs.gov or HC-ServeU@tsa.dhs.gov
- Address: TSA HR Service Center 6363 Walker Lane Suite 400 Alexandria, VA 22310
- TSA Headquarters: 601 12th Street South, Arlington, Virginia 22202, US
- Access times: Monday to sale from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Closed weekends.
We advise you to register the tsa.gov and dhs.gov domains with your email address's whitelist, in order to avoid missing an email delivered to the spam folder.
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