Air travel safety is an ongoing concern, especially since the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York on 11 September 2001 and other breaches of security or attempted bombing incidents. Events such as these have resulted in increased security in airports around the world. Increased airport security means there is an ongoing need for qualified airport security officers to help keep flying as safe as possible. To become an airport security officer, any experience in security or aviation screening is helpful, and you might need to complete a certification program.
You likely will need at least a high school education or its equivalent in order to become an airport security officer. An associate’s degree is helpful although not necessarily required. Your best bet might be to investigate whether the agency in your country that oversees airport security recommends or offers a certification program.
A certification program to become an airport security officer typically includes learning how to recognize potential security breaches and terrorist acts. Other areas of training include planning skills, crisis prevention and security laws or regulations. Certification programs usually last only a few months.
In some cases, you might not need a formal certification program to become an airport security officer. Some airport security agencies offer on-the-job training to successful applicants. Being a successful applicant usually means passing a background check, a credit check, a physical examination and any other required screening tests.
Some airport security officers choose to or are required to attend ongoing training. This can happen when new airport screening technology is introduced. Ongoing training might also be necessary when new methods of security threats are discovered.
After you become an airport security officer, you might be subject to ongoing approvals for continued employment. This is in addition to meeting all performance requirements of the job itself. For example, failing a drug test or being arrested for a crime might render you ineligible for continued employment.
Specific duties of the job include checking luggage and monitoring and controlling the entry of passengers into various screening checkpoints. While doing this, you will be expected to look for any suspicious passengers, luggage or cargo. Confidentiality is important because you might have access to classified security information.
Additionally, you must communicate effectively with supervisors and other workers, especially if you notice a potential security breach. As an airport security officer, expect to stand in one place for long stretches of time. Being physically fit also is important, because you will be expected to handle luggage and other heavy items.