What does a TSA Screener do?

Cassie L. Damewood

A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screener helps screen passengers and provide secure travel through public transit systems, railroads, highways, seaports and airports. She is required to follow government mandated guidelines designed to prevent dangerous articles from being taken on any means of transportation used by the public. This requires utilizing inspection techniques and operating simple surveillance equipment to screen people, cargo and baggage.

The TSA sometimes screens public transit passengers.
The TSA sometimes screens public transit passengers.

The TSA screener is required to remain fastidious in her screening procedures, whether screening people, baggage or transport compartments, though discovering actual security threats is rare in this position. An ability to focus is very important to this position, as are thorough inspection procedures. She must strictly follow established inspection processes to best ensure the security of all passengers.

TSA screeners use trained canines to check luggage for explosives.
TSA screeners use trained canines to check luggage for explosives.

A TSA screener is also trained in emergency procedures. If security is actually breached or an emergency situation occurs, the role of the screener expands. She may be required to address and direct the actions of large groups of people. The screener may also be required to defuse agitated or emotionally distraught passengers or address other volatile situations.

TSA screeners prevent contraband and dangerous items from being taken onto airplanes.
TSA screeners prevent contraband and dangerous items from being taken onto airplanes.

If security infractions are discovered, the TSA screener is expected to follow protocol in handling the violations. Tact and diplomacy are necessary to resolve the situation without causing undue discomfort or danger to nearby passengers. The violator may become indignant or abusive, so the screener’s calm demeanor and patience are vital to good job performance.

TSA screeners may communicate by walkie-talkies.
TSA screeners may communicate by walkie-talkies.

The job of a TSA screener requires good communication skills to be able to deal with a wide range of personality types in a friendly and professional manner. Travelers are often hurried, anxious and preoccupied with personal matters that may make them less accommodating. The TSA screener's job is to keep all traveler's calm while ensuring they cooperate with security screening measures.

Because air travelers are often rushed and anxious, a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screener must have good communication skills.
Because air travelers are often rushed and anxious, a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screener must have good communication skills.

Maintaining open and direct communications with other security personnel, managers and on-site law enforcement employees is often required. Security breaches generally require the swift intervention of these associates and having common goals and strategies helps to quickly alleviate problems. Electronic communication via walkie-talkies is frequent among these employees to keep everyone apprised of evolving situations.

Screeners who work for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) are charged with ensuring the safety of airline passengers, baggage, and cargo.
Screeners who work for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) are charged with ensuring the safety of airline passengers, baggage, and cargo.

No formal education is required to qualify for this position. Subsequent to being hired, TSA screeners are trained in policies, procedures and enforcement techniques relating to the area in which they will be working. Continuing education courses are required as the industry faces new challenges and governments introduces more measures designed to improve security for all modes of transportation.

Screeners make sure the liquids in a person's luggage do not exceed limitations.
Screeners make sure the liquids in a person's luggage do not exceed limitations.

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