A Complete Guide to TSA's Pay Scale, Bands, and Positions 2024

This page will serve as a guide to the pay scale levels for different TSA positions as well as how your pay increases as you gain experience and progress through the ranks in the Transportation Security Administration.

It includes the following:

  • TSA Core Compensation Band.
  • Full explanation of the TSA Pay Bands table and its different levels.
  • TSA Pay Bands by Locality.
  • TSA Pay Bands by Profession.

Let’s get started.

Get ready for your TSA English and X-Ray exams.

What is the TSA Core Compensation Plan?

The TSA Core Compensation Plan is a system for setting TSA employees’ pay levels based on their specific roles and the work experience they gained working for the TSA.

There is a minimum and maximum basic pay rate for each job category. There are three main roles: Professional, Technical, and Specialized, and 13 pay bands.

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TSA Pay Bands Chart

TSA Pay Bands Chart

Source: tsa.gov

The TSA Pay Bands Table (or the TSA Pay Bands Chart) is a standardized table that the Transportation Security Administration uses to set the pay of employees in most TSA roles based on their position and rank.

TSA Pay Scale Levels

The actual TSA Pay Bands are as follows:

  • TSA Pay Band A – $18,753-$27,419.
  • TSA Pay Band B – $21,484-$31,336.
  • TSA Pay Band C – $24,334-$36,558.
  • TSA Pay Band D – $28,013-$42,019.
  • TSA Pay Band TSO D – $29,413-$42,019.
  • TSA Pay Band E – $32,167-$48,308.
  • TSA Pay Band TSO E – $33,776-$48,308.
  • TSA Pay Band F – $36,914-$55,431.
  • TSA Pay Band G – $43,207-$66,943.
  • TSA Pay Band H – $52,700-$81,662.
  • TSA Pay Band I – $64,214- $99,586.
  • TSA Pay Band J – $78,341-$121,425.
  • TSA Pay Band K – $93,651-$143,727.
  • TSA Pay Band L – $111,930-$169,105.
  • TSA Pay Band M – $131,991-$170,793.

TSA Pay Levels by Position

  • Student – the position is compensated at Levels 1-3, which correspond to Pay Bands B through D, respectively.

  • Clerical Support – Positions at Levels 1-3 correspond to Pay Bands C, D, and E, respectively, while Manager 1 and 2 positions correspond to Pay Bands F and G.

  • Administrative Support – Level 1-3 Administrative Support Employees are compensated according to Pay Bands D, E, and F, while Manager 1 and 2 Administrative Support employees get paid according to Pay Bands G and H.

  • Technical Support – Level 1-3 employees are compensated as per Pay Bands E, F, and G, whereas Manager 1 and 2 staff get paid under Pay Bands H and I.

  • Paraprofessional – Paraprofessional TSA employees’ wages correspond to Pay Bands F, G, and H, and Manager 1-2 employees are paid under Pay Bands I and J.

  • Professional – Employees in these roles who are in Level 1-5 are paid according to TSA Pay Bands F through J, while Expert-level employees are paid generously under Pay Band L.

    Supervisory employees are paid under Pay Band H, while Manager 1-4 corresponds to Pay Bands I through L.

  • Technical – Employees Levels 1-5 are paid under Pay Bands G-K respectively, while Expert-level employees are covered by Pay Band L.

    Supervisory employees are paid under Pay Band I, and Manager 1-3 positions correspond to Pay Bands J-L.

  • Engineering – Level 1-5 employees are paid as per Pay Bands G-K, respectively, and Expert-level employees are covered by Pay Band L, just like with Technical roles.

    Manager 1-3 positions correspond to Pay Bands J-L.

  • Specialized 802 (Eng. Tech.) and 856 (Elec. Tech) Specialized engineering and electronics technicians are paid under Pay Bands F-J (corresponding to Level 1-5), while management personnel in this specialty are paid under Pay Bands I-K (for Manager 1-3 respectively).

  • Specialized 905 (Attorney) – Attorneys employed by the TSA are compensated at the G-K Pay Bands (corresponding to Level 1-5 employees), at Pay Band L for Expert tier employees, and at Pay Bands K and L for Manager 1 and 2.

  • Specialized 602 (Medical Officer) – This position is remunerated at Pay Bands G through K for Level 1-5 positions, while Expert medical officers are compensated at Pay Bands L and M.

    In these roles, Managers 1-3 correspond to Pay Band K and M.

  • Specialized 1802 (Transportation Security Officer) – TSO Level 1 corresponds to Pay Band C, while Level 2 and Level 3 go into Pay Bands TSO D and TSO E, which are special pay bands reserved for Transportation Security Officers. Levels 3-4 are compensated as per Bands G and H. Manager 1 also belongs to Band H.

  • Specialized 1801 (Transportation Security Manager) – This role has only Manager 2 and 3 positions, which are compensated according to Pay Bands H and I, respectively.

  • Specialized 0086 (Coordination and Control Officer) – This role starts directly at Level 4 (under Pay Band F) and proceeds to Level 5 and Manager 1 (both under Pay Band G).

TSA Pay Bands with Locality

Depending on where you work, you will benefit from a different ‘Locality Adjustment’.

In TSA parlance, this means a certain set percentage is added to the base wages you are eligible for based on your place of work.

For example, employees in Cincinnati, Ohio, are eligible for a 20.55% wage increase; those in Miami, Florida – for a 23.51% increase; and those in New York City, for an increase of 33.98%.

This is intended to compensate for the differences in the cost of living.

Besides the pay increases, being a TSA employee also comes with a variety of other work benefits.

TSA Pay Bands By Profession

In the following list, you’ll find the full descriptions of a variety of TSA positions as well as the reported salaries of how much each of them makes.

TSA Transportation Security Officer(TSO) Pay Band

Transportation Security Officers are the personnel who directly interact with passengers, perform security screenings,

and alert law enforcement of suspect items or suspicious passenger behavior. They are paid an average of $48,000.

TSA Federal Air Marshal Pay Band

Federal Air Marshals are a capstone element of America’s air transportation security.

They are also the law enforcement arm of the Transportation Security Administration.

Beyond their most iconic role of providing security on flights, they also carry out other law enforcement tasks for the TSA,

including providing surface transportation security, inspecting ships, vehicles, and containers, and protecting important national events.

The average annual salary for a Federal Air Marshal is about $66,000.

TSA Transportation Security Specialist Pay Band

Transportation Security Specialists make use of intelligence databases and open-source data, as well as automated vetting systems.

To verify whether the identities of passengers being vetted are a match with those on the terrorism watch list and produce reports to other agents and law enforcement agencies based on their findings.

The average pay for this position is around $80,000.

TSA Lead Transportation Security Officer (LTSO) Pay Band

Lead Transportation Security Officers (also known as LTSOs) are responsible for assigning tasks and shifts to TSOs and TSO trainees.

They are the TSA equivalent of a Team Lead or a shift manager.

They are paid an average of $51,000, but LTSOs working in high-cost-of-living areas, such as New York, can be paid a lot more.

TSA Supervisory Transportation Security Officer (STSO) Pay Band

STSOs (Supervisory Transportation Security Officers) are responsible not only for ordinary management tasks that LTSOs undertake but also for using their skills and knowledge to make their own calls to defend against both potential and active threats to transportation and passengers.

Because this is a position of high responsibility, they are paid an average of $67,400 per year in total.

TSA Transportation Security Manager (TSM) Pay Band

The personnel directly in charge of security checkpoints at airports are called Transportation Security Managers.

They assign tasks, direct TSOs, help train employees, approve leave applications, and perform similar management tasks. The average pay in this position is $75,600.

TSA Assistant Federal Security Director - Screening Operations (AFSD-S) Pay Band

Assistant Federal Security Directors (Screening Operations) serve as advisors to Federal Security Directors on all matters related to the screening operations, including creating and implementing policies in relation to the screening operations and other related programs.

The average pay for employees in this role is $52,000.

TSA Master Transportation Security Officer – Security Training Instructor (MTSO-STI) Pay Band

Master Transportation Security Officers (sometimes also called Master TSOs or MTSOs) are responsible for local training at the airport level.

They adapt training materials according to the local conditions as well as oversee exercises, coach employees, and help carry out and score tests.

TSA Expert Transportation Security Officer – Security Training Instructor (ETSO-STI) Pay Band

Expert TSOs, also known as Expert Transportation Security Officers (ETSO) have many of the same responsibilities as Master TSOs.

But are also responsible for organizing classes and training as well as making sure all employee certification is entered correctly in the OLC (Online Learning Center). They work alongside Training Specialists.

TSA Training Specialist Pay Band

Training Specialists are the main line of contact between Federal Security Directors and the TSA Headquarters for everything that pertains to the training programs. The average annual pay for this role is approximately $66,000.

TSA Supervisory Training Specialist Pay Band

Supervisory Training Specialists take up many of the same roles as regular training specialists but also hold a more senior management position.

They oversee projects and employees as well as resolve overarching problems that may impact training more broadly.

They are paid between $80,000 and $103,000 per year, depending on where they work.

TSA Training Manager Pay Band

Training managers work alongside Training Specialists to serve as liaisons between the Federal Security Director and the TSA Headquarters, as well as consulting the TSA director on a range of issues concerning training programs.

They are also responsible for the broad management of the training at an airport. They are paid $102,000 per year on average.

TSA Transportation Security Inspector (TSI) Pay Band

Lorem ipsum Transportation Security Inspectors (TSIs) are responsible for verifying that airport and security and other Transportation Security meet the requirements of Federal legislation and regulations, as well as carrying out criminal investigations related to security breaches. The average pay in this role is about $44,000

TSA Supervisory Transportation Security Inspector (STSI) Pay Band

STSIs, or Supervisory Transportation Security Inspectors, perform oversight and administrative role in helping enforce security regulations and protect America’s transportation networks from a variety of threats from terrorism and crime down to piracy. STSIs are paid an average of $70,000 per year.

TSA Explosives Detection Canine Handler Pay Band

Explosives Detection Canine Handlers are trained in a variety of techniques helping them better understand canine behavior and use trained dogs in security inspections in order to detect explosives and otherwise conduct passenger screening. These specialists are paid an average of $58,000 per year.

TSA Transportation Security Specialist – Explosives Pay Band

These specialists are trained to understand and identify a variety of threats related to explosives and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

It is their job to assess potential threats as well as educate other TSA staff in identifying those threats.

Explosive Specialists at TSA earn an estimated $54,122 per year.

TSA Threat Assessment Program Director (DAFSD - TAP)

Staff in this position are responsible for overseeing and managing staff whose duties relate to threat assessment.

i.e. canine handlers, TSOs, and explosive specialists, as well as overseeing the implementations of TSA rules and regulations related to threat detection.

The estimated reported pay is around 137,000$ a year.