USA Flag

Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

Step 4: Drafting your TSA Career Plan

Career Toolbox

Drafting your TSA Career Plan is the fourth step in the TSA Career Planning Process. The information you include in your TSA Career Plan Form (doc, 165kb) and the information in your Online Learning Center (OLC) Development Plan are the foundation for your annual career discussion with your supervisor. The Career Plan contains the 1-3 competencies you want to develop, desired outcomes, and specific developmental activities that you would like TSA to consider supporting during the coming year. You are encouraged to complete a draft TSA Career Plan and bring it with you to your career discussion with your supervisor. It is to your benefit to set goals and objectives for your professional growth.

Note: If you are completing a TSA Career Plan as part of the Performance, Accountablity and Standards System (PASS) for the TSO Workforce, you can earn bonus points for completing substantive developmental activities.

The TSA Career Plan is:

  • A written plan for professional development that supplements the information in the OLC Development Plan. It addresses your needs and the needs of the organization.
  • The foundation for a partnership between you and your supervisor that emphasizes discussion and joint decisions.
  • A tool that identifies your professional growth needs (beyond those required in your OLC Development Plan) based on the competencies linked to your career goal(s).

The TSA Career Plan is not:

  • A contract for training. Although your Career Plan should include all of your "general training" interests and the costs involved, training is not guaranteed because it is listed on your Career Plan. Training decisions are made in accordance with TSA policy, budgetary and resource considerations.
  • A plan that you prepare for your career discussion with your supervisor and then forget. It is your own "living document" and should be reviewed and revised as necessary during the year.
  • A guarantee for professional success. The rewards gained will be the result of your individual participation, capabilities and commitment.
  • Used as a performance appraisal document. The purpose of the TSA Career Plan is professional growth not appraisal. Your TSA Career Plan will not be used as a means to formally assess your work performance. It will not be used for human resources decisions. It does not replace the performance evaluation form or human resource systems that determine level of performance, promotions, pay and awards.
  • A guarantee of job security, advancement, or promotion to a higher rank/band. Your Career Plan can help prepare you to become better qualified for a higher grade or band, but it does not imply a guarantee of advancement, promotion, or retention.
  • A way to clarify or revise a written position description. If your position description does not accurately describe the duties you perform, this is a matter for you, your supervisor, and the human resources staff to resolve.

If you completed the optional Goal Setting Worksheet (doc, 75kb) in Step 3, you can transfer the information that you wish to share with your supervisor from that worksheet to the TSA Career Plan Form (doc, 165kb).

If there are activities listed on your optional Goal Setting Worksheet that are available to you through the OLC, follow procedures to have those OLC components added directly to your OLC Development Plan.

The TSA Career Plan Form (doc, 165kb) can be filled out online or you can print it and fill it in by hand. Instructions are on pages 2 and 3 of the form.

Once you have completed your draft TSA Career Plan, make some notes for yourself about the topics you would like to cover during your career discussion with your supervisor. For any developmental activities where you would like TSA's support, be prepared to elaborate on how completing those activities will increase your ability to help TSA fulfill its mission or improve your organization's effectiveness.

Have a "Plan B"

It is always a good idea to have a "Plan B" for getting the training and experiences that you are requesting on your TSA Career Plan. TSA may not be able to support your first choice of development activities because of lack of general training funds or scheduling concerns. You may need to think of less expensive and/or off-the-job ways to get the skills that you need to meet your career aspirations. Your supervisor may be able to offer some suggestions. The list of sample developmental activities may also help you to think of a back-up plan.

You are now ready for Step 5: Having a Career Conversation with your Supervisor or you can return to the TSA Career Planning Guide Table of Contents.

Latest revision: 29 November 2012