Airport security is in charge of protecting the safety of travelers to and from the airport as well as securing the airport grounds. From parking garage patrol to airport security officers, these dedicated professionals monitor all aspects of public safety including theft prevention and security monitoring.
Security professionals are vigilant and well-trained in handling delicate situations, particularly after the events of 9/11. Daily tasks may include:
Conducting screenings of passengers, baggage, or cargo
Operating security machines such as x-rays, metal detectors, or hand wands
Monitoring surveillance equipment
Patrolling airport grounds
Airport Security Job Education Requirements
While a college degree is not necessary, a background in law enforcement or military can be an indicator of success in this position. Employers are looking for dedication, reliability, and a keen eye. Past careers in those fields are good preparation. Surveillance knowledge and familiarity with technology are also critical to success in airport security.
Vigilance is important in this role, but this security post is also a public-facing one. Airport security officers are expected to use tact and diplomacy in the course of performing their jobs. Providing good customer service, while ensuring the safety of those flying, is of the utmost importance. Many airport employers look for candidates who have had a background in dealing with the public and providing information.
Airport security personnel will often receive ongoing training to maintain proficiency and deal with any expected threats. This training varies widely from airport to airport.
Airport Security Job Market
There are currently 45,790 people working as transportation security screeners, alone. There are 13,000 airports (5,000 of which are used by the public and only 650 are served by airlines) and 4,000 heliports. All of them need some form of security.
Despite a slowdown in commercial air travel, demographic (an aging population) and income trends predict that air travel will increase over the next decade. This is good news for those looking to make a career in airport security.
Airport Security Job Salary Information
The average salary for airport security officers is $37,400. Security workers are generally paid hourly and expected to work evenings, weekends, and/or holidays as airports are open every day, year-round. Florida employs the largest number of airport security (5,150), while Hawaii employs the largest number as a percentage of its workforce (2.31 per 1,000 jobs). Alaska's security officers are the highest paid (on average $41,930). Connecticut ($41,100), New Hampshire ($39,420) and California ($39,050) are also among the highest paid in the nation, on average.