TSA Frequently Asked Questions

On this page you can find answers to the most frequently asked questions about the TSA, the recruitment process, and other questions of all types.

Is There a Maximum Age for a TSO Agent?

The minimum age to apply for a job at the TSA is 18 years old. There is no maximum age to apply as long as you meet the acceptance criteria, detailed on the following page.

What Is the Fee to Take the TSA Test?

There is no fee to take the TSA CBT Test. You can find all the details and information about this test on the following page.

How Can I Pass the TSA CBT Test?

It is very important to practice in order to pass the TSA CBT Test on the first try. Find free English and X-ray test examples and complete preparation packs on the following page.

What Is on the TSA CBT Test?

The CBT test has two categories: a writing assessment and an X-ray image test. It lasts about two and a half hours and consists of roughly 160 questions. You can find free English and X-ray sample tests, as well as complete preparation packs, on the following page.

What Is the TSA CBT Test's Level of Difficulty?

The TSA CBT Test is divided into two categories: the first category is the Writing Skills Assessment & English Test, which is fairly basic (high school level) and includes vocabulary, reading comprehension and written communication questions. The second part is much more complicated and requires examining X-ray images in order to identify weapons and other dangerous objects that can be hidden in luggage. It is essential to practice beforehand in order to pass this test, which you can do with our complete preparation packs and free examples.

How Many Questions Are on the TSA CBT Test?

There are a total of 160 questions on the TSA Computer Based Test – 60 English language comprehension questions and approximately 100 X-ray image interpretation questions. Find all the information about the CBT Test on the following page.

What Happens if You Fail the TSA CBT Test?

If you do not pass the TSA Computer Based Test, then your recruitment process ends, and you won't be able to reapply for another six months. To avoid this inconvenience, practice with the help of our free examples and complete preparation packs.

What Is the Starting Pay For a TSA Agent?

You can find the answer to this question on the following page.

How Much Does a TSA Agent Make per Hour?

You can find the answer to this question on the following page. You can also find everything you need to know about the TSA Pay Bands on the following page.

Do TSA Agents Fly for Free? Do They Get Flight Benefits?

Despite their work in an airport, TSOs do not profit from the flights and do not fly for free. The benefits of a TSO can be found here.

Do TSA Agents Carry Guns?

TSA officers are not equipped with firearms, batons, mace, stun guns, or any other type of weapon. TSA officers are also not equipped with handcuffs. They are not authorized to use force in the performance of their duties.

Does the TSA Provide Uniforms?

Officers initially receive a standard package of TSA uniforms. These packages currently consist of 3 pairs of pants, 3 short sleeve shirts, 3 long sleeve shirts, 2 ties, 1 vest, 1 team jacket, 2 pairs of suspenders, 1 belt, 3 pairs of socks, and 1 identification badge.

How Do I Prepare for a TSA Interview?

You can find all our tips to prepare for the Standardized Interview during the Airport Assessment on the following page.

How Long Is the TSA Hiring Process?

The TSA recruitment process varies greatly in length, depending on airports and availability. It can take anywhere from about two months to a year or more. TSA has recruited over 6,000 airport security screening officers since the beginning of 2021. For more information on the TSA's recruitment process, please visit the following page.

Is Working as a TSO Considered a Federal Position?

Yes, the TSA is a federal agency under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). For more information on the TSA, please visit the following page.

Is TSA Training Paid?

Training is fully paid for by the TSA, as are transportation costs to the TSA Academy in Georgia. For more information on the TSA training program, visit the following page.

Where Does the TSA Training Take Place?

The TSA Academy (TSA-A) is located at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) campus in Glynco, GA. In 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, most classes were taken online or in OJT format at the new TSOs' local airport. For more information on the TSA training program, visit the following page.

How Do I Prepare for the TSA Computer Based Test?

The best way to prepare for the TSA Computer Based Test is to practice the different types of questions in advance, especially the X-ray image object recognition questions. You can do so with the help of our complete practice packs.

What Should I Wear to the TSA CBT Test?

You should dress in a respectful and orderly manner when arriving to take the CBT test. It is most important to come to the Airport Assessment dressed appropriately, as this is when the interview takes place. In this case it is advisable to come in formal attire in order to provide the best possible impression, although the most important factor is your answers to the interview questions. For more information on the CBT Test, click here, and for more information on the Airport Assessment, click here.

What Is the Passing Score for the TSA Test?

Information about the results of the TSA CBT Test is not shared publicly. However, results are calculated based on the number of correct answers, so it is important to answer all questions as best as possible. You will receive a message within minutes of taking the test confirming whether you have passed (or failed) the test. For more information about the CBT Test, free examples, and complete preparation packs, please visit the following page.

Do TSA Agents Get Good Benefits?

TSA agents receive many benefits because they are federal employees. You can find all necessary details on the following page.

Do TSA Agents Get a Pension?

Find all information about TSA's retirement and pension programs on the following page.

How Do I Become a TSA Agent at the Airport?

In order to become a TSA agent, the first step is the online application. Click here to learn about all the steps and get recommendations on how to successfully pass the recruitment process.

Does the TSA Do Credit Checks?

The Credit Check is the fourth step of the recruitment process. Find all the details about the Credit Check on the following page.

Where Is TSA Training?

Most of the TSO training takes place at the TSA Academy in Glynco, Georgia. The second part takes place at the local airport where the candidate has been hired. For more information on the TSO training program, visit the following page.

What Shifts Do TSO Work?

Each airport may have slightly different shifts. As a general rule, a full-time TSO works 40 hours a week, and a part-time TSO works approximately 25 hours per week (5 hours per day over 5 days).

What Is the Difference Between a TSO and the TSA?

TSA is the Transportation Security Administration; it is the federal agency in charge of airport and aircraft security. A TSO is a Transportation Security Officer; this is the position of airport security screening officers. TSOs are agents of the TSA. For more information on the TSA, go to the following page. For more information on TSOs, please visit this page.

What Does a TSO Officer Do?

The role of a TSO is to protect passengers, airports, and aircraft, as well as to thwart attempted attacks on board aircraft or in airports. TSOs are responsible for baggage screening (carry-on and checked baggage), passenger screening, and airport security crisis management, and more. For more information on the roles of TSOs, go to the following page.

What Type of Questions Are on the TSA CBT Test?

The type of questions used in the first part of the CBT Test, the English test, are multiple choice questions. The second part, which is the X-ray test, has double choice questions – you have to choose either answer 1 (you have identified the presence of a dangerous object in the X-ray image) or answer 2 (the image does not contain dangerous objects). For free examples of the different parts of the CBT exam, go to the next page.

How Hard Is It to Become a TSA Agent?

Becoming a TSA agent does not have to be complicated if you meet the acceptance criteria. However, you will need to be very patient as the recruitment process can be quite lengthy. Find out more about the recruitment process here.

Will TSA Hire You if You Have Bad Credit?

If you have cumulative debts in excess of $7,500 included in the criteria detailed on the next page, then you may be disqualified for recruitment by TSA.

What Are the Requirements to Be a TSA Agent?

Find all the criteria and qualifications needed to become a TSA agent on the following page.

I Am Trying to Fill In the SF 86 Form, but I Do Not Have a Registration Code. Where Can I Find It?

The SF 86 form can be completed after taking the Airport Assessment. If you have not received a registration code, please contact TSA HR via email.

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic My Last Appointment for the Airport Assessment Was Cancelled Last Year. How Can I Reschedule It?

If you have not yet been contacted since your appointment was cancelled, contact TSA HR via email.

Is It a Requirement to Take the COVID-19 Vaccine in Order to Work at the TSA?

Since the vaccines are available (early 2021), TSA strongly recommends that all employees get vaccinated, especially due to the fact that over 8,500 TSOs have been infected in August 2021 alone, with 18 deaths. For more information, contact TSA via the contact information shown on the following page.


  • AC – Area Coordinator
  • CBT – Computer Based Test
  • EOD – Enter on Duty
  • e-QIP – OPM Electronic Questionnaire for Investigations Processing
  • OPM – Office of Personnel Management
  • SOP – Standard Operating Procedure
  • SSN – Social Security Number
  • TSA – Transportation Security Administration
  • TSO – Transportation Security Officer
  • TA – Test Administrator
  • OJT - On-the-job training