What Is It Like to Work for TSA?

The goal of this page is to provide you with a real answer to what is it like to work for the TSA.

We will discuss the following:

  • Description of TSA Job requirements.
  • Is it hard to work for the TSA?
  • Working for TSA reviews.
  • TSA Pay Structure.
  • Benefits of Working for TSA
  • Career opportunities – TSA jobs and positions.
  • FAQ’s

Let’s dive in

Prepare for the TSA computer-based test with a free study guide.

Description of TSA Job Requirments

A TSA agent’s tasks may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Provide answers to traveler inquiries and provide advice.
  2. Complete investigations with the help of other law enforcement officials.
  3. ensure the safety and security of all passengers and the destinations they visit.
  4. To find irregularities in screening photographs, review them.
  5. Recognize potentially harmful items in luggage or on travelers.
  6. Management and redirection of passengers for maximum efficiency.
  7. Travelers should be screened for possible hazards while on the road.
  8. Imaging and electrical detecting devices may be operated.
  9. Passengers are pampered as required.
  10. Perform further testing on hazardous compounds to verify their presence.

Is It Hard to Work for The TSA?

Yes. Even if you meet the essential requirements, applying to the TSA might be difficult.

Dealing with stressful passengers, going through suitcases and luggage all day, and knowing that any small mistake or error in judgment can endanger everyone.

Why You Actually Want to Be a Transportation Security Officer and Is It Worth It?

There is no doubt that TSOs are the core of the TSA, and their role in keeping air travel safe cannot be overstated. Even though the job is challenging, one of the biggest advantages of working for the TSA is the government benefits like health care and retirement.

Also, a TSO position can be a great starting point for your federal career there are opportunities for promotion and you can grow your career within the organization.

Working for TSA Reviews

According to glassdoor the pros of working for the company are the benefits, the salary, the work stability, and a supportive work environment “co-workers are great”.

The main drawbacks are the intense work hours and low-quality management.


How Many TSA Employees Are There?

About 47,000 Transportation Security Officers are employed by the TSA. People and property are screened, and airport access and departure points are controlled by airport security.

Checkpoints aren’t the only places they keep an eye on. A TSO is allowed to use force or carry firearms, and they can’t even make arrests.

Is the TSA a Federal Job?

Yes. The agency is just one department of the Federal Government across the country.

TSA Pay Structure

How Much Does the TSA Make an Hour?

TSA employees in the United States will make, on average, $25.70 an hour by April 10th, 2022.

How Much Does a TSA Agent Make a Year?

Let’s take a brief look at the Transportation Security Administration GS Pay Scale:

TSO (Transportation Security Officer) makes around $40,000 a year, whereas TSA OFFICERS make about $46,488 annually.

Locality pay is $18 per hour, whereas TSOs make an average of $20 per hour (Transportation Security Officer). According to TSA personnel, the whole salary and benefits package is rated at 3.1 out of 5.

To learn more about the TSA pay structure, click here.

Benefits of Working for TSA

To keep its workers happy, TSA has devised a comprehensive benefits package that offers them the finest possibilities imaginable.

  • Savings for the Future.
  • Accounts with Variable Spending Capacity.
  • Sick and Annual Leave.
  • Overseas and Holidays are paid time off.
  • Continuing Education and Training.
  • Subsidies for Transportation.
  • Counseling and Psychological Services for Workers.

Do TSA Agents Get Flight Benefits?

Only cabin crew workers and flight attendants get incentives such as free space-available air travel or the occasional complimentary meal.

However, Transportation Security officers, on the other hand, do not receive flights benefits.

Unless the agent is a close friend or family member of an airline employee, taking any kind of gift might result in the agent’s sacking.

Here is detailed information about TSA’s pay scale.

Do TSA Agents Get Raise?

A TSO does not have the same employment rights and protections as other government workers, making them particularly vulnerable.

They are paid less. Consequently, employee satisfaction and working conditions are poor, and staff departures are frequent.

TSA has been ranked at the bottom of employee satisfaction surveys yearly.

Career Opportunities - TSA Jobs and Positions.

How to Move Up in TSA?

Can you turn the TSA from a job into a career? Well, yes! Like other agencies, there is ample room for employees to move up the ladder.

The initial entry-level security job can be a great stepping stone for advancing on the job.

Non-Entry Level

On the Floor

  • Lead TSO.
  • Supervisory TSO.
  • Transportation Security Specialist (e.g., K9 Handler).
  • Transportation Security Manager.


  • Transportation Security Inspector.
  • Supervisory Security Inspector.


  • Security Training Officer.
  • Training Specialist.
  • Training Manager.

Mission Support

There is a wide range of other career opportunities that provide critical support roles to the security employees on the front lines.

Career possibilities include:

  • Accountants.
  • Administrative Assistants.
  • Attorney Advisors.
  • Budget Analysts.
  • Criminal Investigators.
  • Economist Engineers (e.g., Civil, Chemical, Industrial, Mechanical).
  • Financial Specialists.
  • Human Resource Specialists.
  • Information Technology Specialists.
  • Intelligence Operations Specialists.
  • Management/Program Specialists.
  • Medical Professionals.
  • Paralegal Specialists.
  • Writers/Editors.


Does the TSA Pay for College?

No, the TSA does not pay for college, but they offer a free associate degree program. It can be carried out to enable you to just improve your education.

Additionally, you can also apply to the Academic Degree (GRAD) program, which will pay up to 5,000 USD for college credit. Have you heard of a better idea than that?

Can You Switch Your Position from One Airport to Another?

Yes, if they have a shortage of workers and turnover is significant at most airports. Many people have turned to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to get access to federal employment.

The TSA is an excellent place to work since they make it simple to move to a new airport. In addition, this allows you to work in any one of the company’s 400 sites.

What Is the Work Schedule for a Full-Time TSA Agent?

TSO work patterns may include non-traditional shifts, weekends, and holidays, depending on the operating demands of the airport.

No personal obligations or scheduling conflicts may be accommodated because of the nature of the employment.

The TSA’s collective bargaining agreement clause allows one-way exchanges and shift trades.

How Many Hours Do Part-Time TSAs Work?

Full-time: 40 hrs. per week
Part-time: 25 hrs per week consisting of five (5) workdays per week with five (5) hour shifts per day.

After the new personnel finishes their training, they are allocated specific shifts, subject to frequent revisions to satisfy operational demands.

Final Advice for Aspiring TSOs

There is no doubt that the hiring process at the Transportation Security Administration is not simple and takes smarts, skills, and a whole lot of stamina.

When you reach the TSA Academy you might feel that you made it and that you can take your foot off the accelerator, but don’t!

The training consists of two stages in-class and field training, you must score a minimum of 70% (on each stage independently), and that will heavily play into which of the three qualification levels you fall into.

As a final word of advice, take every class and exercise as seriously as possible. You did not pass through a long process only to get to the finish line and pass with a mediocre score.

Make sure you get into the top qualification level so that you get hired as quickly as possible.