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.
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 Bands Range by Job
The following table details the Pay Bands according to the different positions that exist within TSA.
|TSA Job||Pay Band Range||Minimum Starting Salary||Maximum Salary|
|Transportation Security Officer (TSO)||D – E||$29,413||$48,308|
|Transportation Security Manager (TSM)||H – I||$52,700||$99,586|
|Clerical Support||C – E||$24,334||$48,308|
|Administrative Support||D – F||$28,013||$55,431|
|Technical Support||E – G||$32,167||$66,943|
|Para-Professional||F – H||$36,914||$81,662|
|Professional||F – L||$36,914||$169,105|
|Technical||G – L||$43,207||$169,105|
|Engineering||G – 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 area||Code||Pay adjustements|
|Albany, New York||ALB||17.88%|
|Albuquerque, New Mexico||ALQ||16.68%|
|Buffalo, New York||BU||20.2%|
|Charlotte, North Carolina||CHA||17.44%|
|Colorado Springs, Colorado||COS||17.78%|
|Corpus Christi, Texas||CC||16.56%|
|Des Moines, Iowa||DM||15.95%|
|Kansas City, Missouri||KC||17.13%|
|Las Vegas, Nevada||LAS||17.68%|
|Los Angeles, California||LA||32.41%|
|New York City, New York||NY||33.98%|
|Palm Bay, Florida||PAL||16.73%|
|Raleigh, North Carolina||RA||20.49%|
|San Antonio, Texas||SO||16.77%|
|San Diego, California||SD||29.77%|
|San Francisco, California||SF||41.44%|
|Saint Louis, Missouri||STL||17.65%|
|Virginia Beach, Virginia||VB||16.51%|
|Washington DC, District of Columbia||DCB||30.48%|
|Rest of United States||RUS||15.95%|
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.