Transportation Security Screener Career

Job Description: Conduct screening of passengers, baggage, or cargo to ensure compliance with Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regulations. May operate basic security equipment such as x-ray machines and hand wands at screening checkpoints.


Is Transportation Security Screener the right career path for you?
Take the MyMajors Quiz and find out if it fits one of your top recommended majors!

Transportation Security Screener Career

What Transportation Security Screeners do:

  • Contact leads or supervisors to discuss objects of concern that are not on prohibited object lists.
  • Notify supervisors or other appropriate personnel when security breaches occur.
  • Test baggage for any explosive materials, using equipment such as explosive detection machines or chemical swab systems.
  • Challenge suspicious people, requesting their badges and asking what their business is in a particular areas.
  • Provide directions and respond to passenger inquiries.
  • Search carry-on or checked baggage by hand when it is suspected to contain prohibited items such as weapons.
  • Check passengers' tickets to ensure that they are valid, and to determine whether passengers have designations that require special handling, such as providing photo identification.
  • Confiscate dangerous items and hazardous materials found in opened bags and turn them over to airlines for disposal.
  • Inform passengers of how to mail prohibited items to themselves, or confiscate these items.
  • Inspect checked baggage for signs of tampering.
  • Record information about any baggage that sets off alarms in monitoring equipment.
  • Ask passengers to remove shoes and divest themselves of metal objects prior to walking through metal detectors.
  • Follow those who breach security until police or other security personnel arrive to apprehend them.
  • Inform other screeners when baggage should not be opened because it might contain explosives.
  • Inspect carry-on items, using x-ray viewing equipment, to determine whether items contain objects that warrant further investigation.
  • Patrol work areas to detect any suspicious items.
  • Perform pat-down or hand-held wand searches of passengers who have triggered machine alarms, who are unable to pass through metal detectors, or who have been randomly identified for such searches.
  • Send checked baggage through automated screening machines, and set bags aside for searching or rescreening as indicated by equipment.
  • Close entry areas following security breaches or reopen areas after receiving notification that the airport is secure.
  • Watch for potentially dangerous persons whose pictures are posted at checkpoints.
  • Contact police directly in cases of urgent security issues, using phones or two-way radios.
  • Decide whether baggage that triggers alarms should be searched or should be allowed to pass through.
  • Monitor passenger flow through screening checkpoints to ensure order and efficiency.
  • Direct passengers to areas where they can pick up their baggage after screening is complete.
  • View images of checked bags and cargo, using remote screening equipment, and alert baggage screeners or handlers to any possible problems.
  • Locate suspicious bags pictured in printouts sent from remote monitoring areas, and set these bags aside for inspection.

What work activities are most important?

Importance Activities

Getting Information - Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events - Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

Performing for or Working Directly with the Public - Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates - Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

Performing General Physical Activities - Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.

Handling and Moving Objects - Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.

Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards - Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.

Making Decisions and Solving Problems - Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge - Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

Training and Teaching Others - Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.

Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings - Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material - Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.

Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships - Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

Coaching and Developing Others - Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.

Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates - Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.

Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others - Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.

Controlling Machines and Processes - Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).

Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others - Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.

Developing and Building Teams - Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.

Documenting/Recording Information - Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others - Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.

Interacting With Computers - Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

Repairing and Maintaining Electronic Equipment - Servicing, repairing, calibrating, regulating, fine-tuning, or testing machines, devices, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of electrical or electronic (not mechanical) principles.

Assisting and Caring for Others - Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.

Communicating with Persons Outside Organization - Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.

Analyzing Data or Information - Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People - Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.

Processing Information - Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information - Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.

Scheduling Work and Activities - Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.

Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work - Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

Provide Consultation and Advice to Others - Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.

Staffing Organizational Units - Recruiting, interviewing, selecting, hiring, and promoting employees in an organization.

Monitoring and Controlling Resources - Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.

Developing Objectives and Strategies - Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.

Holland Code Chart for a Transportation Security Screener