The TSA Pay Structure

TSA Employees

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is a very rewarding place to work.

The work that TSA employees do is meaningful and fulfilling and has such a large impact on the safety of our transportation systems.

Any role within TSA is important as they are depended on to keep our nation safe.

There are currently just under 50,000 TSA employees who provide security at airports, rail cars, and subways.

These TSA government employees are responsible for checking over 2.5 million travelers per day nationwide and their checked baggage.

The main goal of TSA is to protect the nation’s transportation systems and prevent terrorist attacks.

TSA is a group of highly trained professionals whose job is to keep the public safe.

Taking the TSA Test? 

Learn how to ace the exam and get the job.

TSA Salary Information

The Transportation Security Administration pay ranges are similar to other sectors.

Like all Federal Employees, the TSA has a core compensation plan, however, keep in mind it can differ based on where the person is located.

Typically, airport security starts around band level D.

Like the rest of the job market, where a person falls into a band level will most likely depend on their years of experience, location, and job title.

  • Pay Band A: $18,941 to $27,693.
  • Pay Band B: $21,699 to $31,649.
  • Pay Band C: $24,577 to $36,924.
  • Pay Band D: $28,293 to $42,439.
  • Pay Band TSO D: $29,708 to $42,439.
  • Pay Band E: $32,489 to $48,791.
  • Pay Band TSO E: $34,113 to $48,791.
  • Pay Band F: $37,283 to $55,985.
  • Pay Band G: $43,639 to $67,612.
  • Pay Band H: $53,227 to $82,479.
  • Pay Band I: $64,856 to $100,582.
  • Pay Band J: $79,124 to $122,639.
  • Pay Band K: $94,588 to $145,164.
  • Pay Band L: $113,049 to $170,796.
  • Pay Band M: $133,311 to $172,500.

Click for more information about TSA’s pay bands.

💡 If you wish to become a TSA agent, you must pass a test called the TSA CBT test.

You can secure your job by practicing online.

TSA Attractive Benefits Package and Workplace Rights

Beyond salaries, a TSA Agent will receive other additional job benefits, including:

  • Health Insurance
  • Dental Insurance
  • Flexible Spending Account (FSA) 
  • Vision Insurance 
  • Life Insurance
  • Pension Plan
  • 401K
  • Vacation/ Paid Time off
  • Sick Days

TSA’s Commitment to Families of Fallen TSA Officers

The Federal Government has recently advanced bi-partisan legislation to significantly increase benifits for families of transportation security officers who have fallen in the line of duty.

The Honoring Civil Servants Killed in the Line of Duty Act (S. 3487) will finally update funeral payments $800 to $8800. In contrast, compensation to the family will rise from $10,000 to $100,000, which have not been adjusted since 1966 and 1997, respectively.

While money can never reverse the pain of losing a loved one, the Transportation Security Administration will take care of the family members of the fallen transportation security officer.

Transportation Security Administration Hiring Requirements

Like salary, the requirements for TSA can vary based on which position it is referring to.

Some positions have specific degree requirements, while others include degrees as a nice to have.

For instance, some candidates may have a degree in a somewhat related field, such as Criminal Justice, Political Science, or Criminology.

While these degrees are not a prerequisite for every candidate, they can provide an edge.

The minimum requirements for applying for any TSA position are below: 

  • Must be a US citizen.
  • Must be 18 years old or older.
  • Must possess a high school diploma or GED.
  • Must be able to pass a drug screening and medical evaluation.
  • Pass a background investigation (credit check and a criminal check).

TSA Hiring Process

Because of the importance of TSA roles, the hiring process can be very lengthy and take several months to complete.

The hiring process for specific roles within TSA could take longer, depending on what the actual role is.

For example, candidates need to go through multiple interviews, mental tests, physical tests, medical examinations, and background checks to become a Federal Air Marshal.

Most of the roles within TSA can also be highly competitive, so it’s important that those applying are prepared.

You must pass a pre-employment test called the TSA CBT test.

💡Scoring high almost guarantees you enter the “Best Qualified” category, which ensures you’ll be one of the first to get a job offer.


TSA Training

Once a candidate is selected for a role, there is a good amount of training before the job actually begins.

There are two steps in the training process. The first is an online training that each new hire must complete.

The second step is extensive hands-on training.

This training session is 120 hours and includes detecting explosive devices, customer service, understanding procedures, and learning all about the technology of the Transportation Security Administration.

Once this is complete, new hires will then have additional training/job shadowing at the location where they will be working at. 

TSA Preparation

Working for the TSA may not be the easiest role to get hired into, but it can definitely be a rewarding career once you’re in.

It’s important for each candidate to do their research, as a lot can go into each position.

The salary range can be very different depending on where the candidate is located, what role they’re applying for, and how much experience they have. 

Roles within the TSA are not for everybody, so candidates must be prepared for the hiring process, the computer-based exam, the hours of training, and the actual role itself.

It should also be noted that there is some room for growth within each role, but it may not always be easy to make it to the top.

Therefore, like other Federal Employees, you want as much information as possible before signing up.