To become a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screener in the United States (US), you must apply with the TSA, meet certain requirements, pass pre-employment testing, and be able to perform the necessary tasks needed to maintain employment. These include being 18 years of age at the time you apply and being a US citizen through birth or able to prove nationalization. You must be fluent in English and have a high school diploma, General Education Development (GED) equivalent, or one or more years of experience in a related security position. A full background check, including credit check, is also conducted of any applicant looking to become a TSA screener.
TSA screeners work in airports at security checkpoints and in baggage handling to ensure that no dangerous or contraband items pass onto an airplane. To become a TSA screener, you need to be able to handle stressful situations and offer excellent customer service to people who may be frustrated, tired, and angry at dealing with security procedures. Having a background in security techniques, especially those involving the use of X-ray equipment, and customer service can help you get a job as a TSA screener.
To begin the application process to become a TSA screener, you should either contact your local TSA office or visit the TSA website and apply for the position. You may need to provide proof of US citizenship, as well as other documentation such as a high school diploma or GED certificate. Certain physical requirements are also expected of you, such as the ability to repeatedly and regularly lift up to 70 pounds (over 31 kg), stand for up to four hours without a break, and walk up to two miles (over three km) during a single shift. Certain medical standards are also required, including visual and hearing ability, joint mobility, and having relatively low blood pressure.
Once you have applied, a thorough background and credit check will be performed. If you have defaulted on $7,500 or more in debt except in certain situations of bankruptcy, if you owe delinquent state or federal taxes, or are past due on child support, you may be ineligible to work as a TSA screener. Since a TSA screener may potentially be offered bribes to allow illegal or dangerous materials to pass through a security checkpoint, applicants must not appear to be a viable candidate for accepting such bribes. Therefore your finances must be in good standing, and you must pass a personal and criminal background check before receiving the proper security clearance needed to become a TSA screener.
If you pass all of these criteria, then you may be offered the opportunity to complete the necessary training to become a TSA screener. You will have to complete 56-72 hours of classroom or computer-based training, followed by 112-128 hours of on-the-job training in the field. It is also possible that you will have to travel for up to two weeks to complete this training. Once you are properly qualified, you will be expected to complete daily or weekly training and briefings regarding security issues, as well as pass random drug testing to maintain employment.