For a transportation security officer, the main job duties include inspecting baggage, cargo, equipment, and passengers before they get on an aircraft, train, or bus. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has a branch called the Transportation Security Administration that must follow guidelines and regulations to keep passengers safe while they are traveling throughout the country as well as to international destinations. Rail and bus stations and airports have security checkpoints where transportation security officers work to screen and search for prohibited items. Those who work in this industry must be willing to work night and weekend hours and should have a close eye for detail while communicating respectfully to passengers. Those who want to advance their careers can work as transportation supervisors.
Typically a high school diploma or equivalent is sufficient education to qualify for a transportation security officer or security screener position. In some cases, a candidate with experience in the security industry might also qualify without that educational background. In this role, extensive on-the-job training is provided to ensure the safety of all those traveling on the method of transportation. This training will often include learning to use x-ray screening equipment, understanding what to look for when assessing security risks, and how to accommodate passengers with additional needs.
Transportation Security Officer Job Market
The projected job growth for transportation security officers is positive. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of job openings should increase by 6 percent in the next decade. As security threats continue to rise, the Department of Homeland Security will rely more heavily on these officers to eliminate potentially dangerous situations.
Transportation Security Officer Job Salary Information
The median salary for a transportation security officer is $37,090 per year. As of May, 2013, there were nearly 44,500 people employed in this position, and the highest numbers of staff members are in Miami, Chicago, and Los Angeles.