TSA Pay Scale

Learn about the TSA payment system, the different salaries and pay scales for various positions and levels.

Past and Present: The TSA SV Grading System

Unlike most federal agencies, the TSA does not use the General Schedule (GS) pay system to determine salary ranges, but rather an agency-specific pay system called the SV grading system. This pay scale system is roughly equivalent to the GS grades between 4 and 15. SV grades are identified by the letters A-M, and each has a minimum and maximum rate; employees can be hired for a rate higher than the minimum if they have experience relevant to the job. Rates also vary around the country and thus workers in different areas will earn different salaries (locality pay); the GS scale works in the same manner. For example, the base salary for a full-time D-grade job varies from $29,638 to $44,457. In Alaska, the locality pay is 29.67%, therefore D-grade salaries range from $38,432 to $57,647.

What Is the General Schedule (GS)?
The GS is the dominant pay scale for federal civilian employees, awarded to over 70% of them. It consists of 15 grades, from GS-1 to GS-15. Each grade is divided into 10 levels. The grade level assigned to a position determines the salary for a specific position.

How to become a TSA agent? Read on TSO Hiring Process and TSA CBT Test.

TSA Pay Band Ranges for 2021

The following table describes the different Pay Band Ranges (between A and M), with minimum and maximum wages.

Pay BandMinimumMaximum
TSO D$29,413$42,019
TSO E$33,776$48,308

Pay Bands Range by Job

The following table details the Pay Bands according to the different positions that exist within TSA.

TSA JobPay Band RangeMinimum Starting SalaryMaximum Salary
Transportation Security Officer (TSO)D – E$29,413$48,308
Transportation Security Manager (TSM)H – I$52,700$99,586
Clerical SupportC – E$24,334$48,308
Administrative SupportD – F$28,013$55,431
Technical SupportE – G$32,167$66,943
Para-ProfessionalF – H$36,914$81,662
ProfessionalF – L$36,914$169,105
TechnicalG – L$43,207$169,105
EngineeringG – L$43,207$169,105
Engineering Technical (0802)
Electronics Technical (0856)
Transportation Specialist (2101)
F – J$36,914$121,425
General Attorney (0905)G – L$43,207$169,105
Medical Officer (0602)G – M$43,207$170,793
Compliance Inspection And Support (1802)C – G$24,334$66,943
Coordination Center Officer (0086)F – G$36,914$66,943

Locality Pays for 2021

The following table describes the different Locality Pays. This system is independent of the different grading systems and corresponds to both SV and GS. The percentages describe the wage increases added to the wages in the Pay Band Ranges table according to locality.

Main areaCodePay adjustements
Albany, New YorkALB17.88%
Albuquerque, New MexicoALQ16.68%
Atlanta, GeorgiaATL22.16%
Austin, TexasAUS18.17%
Birmingham, AlabamaBH16.26%
Boston, MassachusettsBOS29.11%
Buffalo, New YorkBU20.2%
Burlington, VermontBN16.89%
Charlotte, North CarolinaCHA17.44%
Chicago, IllinoisCHI28.59%
Cincinnati, OhioCIN20.55%
Cleveland, OhioCLE20.82%
Colorado Springs, ColoradoCOS17.78%
Columbus, OhioCOL20.02%
Corpus Christi, TexasCC16.56%
Dallas, TexasDFW24.98%
Davenport, IowaDAV17.04%
Dayton, OhioDAY19.18%
Denver, ColoradoDEN27.13%
Des Moines, IowaDM15.95%
Detroit, MichiganDET27.32%
Harrisburg, PennsylvaniaHAB17.2%
Hartford, ConnecticutHAR29.49%
Houston, TexasHOU33.32%
Huntsville, AlabamaHNT19.85%
Indianapolis, IndianaIND16.92%
Kansas City, MissouriKC17.13%
Laredo, TexasLAR18.88%
Las Vegas, NevadaLAS17.68%
Los Angeles, CaliforniaLA32.41%
Miami, FloridaMFL23.51%
Milwaukee, WisconsinMIL20.96%
Minneapolis, MinnesotaMSP24.66%
New York City, New YorkNY33.98%
Omaha, NebraskaOM16.33%
Palm Bay, FloridaPAL16.73%
Philadelphia, PennsylvaniaPHL26.04%
Phoenix, ArizonaPX20.12%
Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaPIT19.4%
Portland, OregonPOR23.74%
Raleigh, North CarolinaRA20.49%
Richmond, VirginiaRCH19.95%
Sacramento, CaliforniaSAC26.37%
San Antonio, TexasSO16.77%
San Diego, CaliforniaSD29.77%
San Francisco, CaliforniaSF41.44%
Seattle, WashingtonSEA27.02%
Saint Louis, MissouriSTL17.65%
Alaska, AlaskaAK29.67%
Hawaii, HawaiiHI19.56%
Tucson, ArizonaTUC17.19%
Virginia Beach, VirginiaVB16.51%
Washington DC, District of ColumbiaDCB30.48%
Rest of United StatesRUS15.95%

In the Future: Headed Towards a Switch to the GS Grading System?

As explained above, the SV payment system is unique to the TSA and has been in place since its foundation in 2001. However, this system is very controversial. Many people see inequities in the salaries of TSA employees compared to other federal employee positions working under the GS (General Schedule) grading system. According to the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), TSA employees do not currently have the same rights, wages, and benefits as other federal employees. In addition, despite their critical role in national security, TSOs are among the lowest paid federal employees with the fewest workplace rights. As a result, there is now legislation underway to provide TSA employees with Title 5 labor rights and protections, which would place the employees on the GS Pay Scale and put them on par with the rest of the federal workforce. This proposal has been in the legislative pipeline since June 2021, but there are still many steps to take before it becomes a reality.

TSA Career strongly supports this cause, which would allow TSOs and other TSA employees to receive fair rights and wages.