How do I Become a Transportation Security Screener?

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  • Written By: Patrick Roland
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 07 November 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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In the United States, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has taken many steps toward making airplane travel safer. One of the most important jobs is that of transportation security screener. If you would like to become a transportation security screener, you must prepare for a career that demanding great attention to detail, communication skills and a talent for research. Fortunately, these skills can be acquired in a variety of settings.

There usually are no educational requirements beyond a high school diploma if you want to become a transportation security screener. One of the biggest requirements is passing a background check. Anyone with a questionable record probably will not be accepted for this job, because the department is seeking law abiding citizens. For many screener positions, at least a year of security work, law enforcement or even experience as an X-ray technician is helpful for building the skills necessary to be successful.


Training is a major part of the job as a transportation security screener. To be a screener for the TSA, you will have to undergo 40 hours of training in a classroom, where you will learn the proper techniques for screening and how to assess security situations. You also must receive on-the-job training for 60 hours, during which time you will screen passengers and bags for potential threats while you are under supervision. Finally, you will need to pass an examination certifying you to screen passengers in an airport. In countries other than the U.S., you can expect similar training, but the requirements will vary from country to country.

With all of this training and preparation, you will be prepared to uphold the duties needed to become a transportation security screener. One of the most important duties for a TSA officer is researching terror threats and understanding the latest techniques used by dangerous passengers. A screener also must be able to identify possible threats by looking at an X-rayed bag or searching a passenger. Being current on what items are allowed and disallowed on flights is essential to the position. Handling stress and communicating well also are important, because as a screener, you will be dealing with potentially dangerous situations on a daily basis.

You must have cool nerves and a great deal of training to work in airport security. If you want to become a transportation security screener, you need to have some background in safety or X-ray reading, but little more than that. Your training will be enough to help you succeed if you put in the effort to learn and maintain your education.



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