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TSA Career Plan FAQs

Career Toolbox

Q. Why is it important for me to understand the TSA Career Planning Process?

A. The TSA Career Planning Process provides a structure to help you take charge of your own career. Steps 2 and 3 in the Career Planning Process include links to the latest TSA career planning tools and services. Understanding the process helps you to clarify which of your goals, desired outcomes and developmental activities can be supported by the organization.

Q. What is a TSA Career Plan?

A. A TSA Career Plan is a form for recording the competencies you wish to strengthen, desired outcomes, and developmental activities that you would like to discuss with your supervisor. Your signed TSA Career Plan signifies that your plan is in alignment with TSA's mission. It also provides the organization with a means to identify employee needs for training and other on-the-job learning activities.

Q. If I complete the activities on my TSA Career Plan, am I guaranteed to receive a promotion or advancement?

A. No, although management is committed to supporting your career development goals, there is no guarantee that you will be promoted. Promotions are based on a competitive selection process.

Q. Why should I complete a TSA Career Plan if I'm satisfied with my current position and have no desire to advance?

A. The first goal on your TSA Career Plan should be related to increasing your effectiveness and job satisfaction in your current position. All employees are expected to be continuous learners. You may want to concentrate on building on your current strengths, broadening your skills and/or improving competencies that need strengthening. A discussion about the aspects of your current position that you find most satisfying and skills you want to acquire or strengthen will help your supervisor in planning work assignments during the year.

Q. What, if any, connection does my TSA Career Plan have to my Performance Appraisal?

A. The two programs are separate. Your Performance Appraisal describes your performance in your present position as it relates to performance goals that were previously established. Your TSA Career Plan is a tool to help you identify and reach your career development goals. Employees in the Performance Accountability and Standard System (PASS) can earn bonus points for completion of substantial developmental activities.

Q. If I submit a TSA Career Plan and subsequently fail to achieve the goals that I established, will this be held against me?

A. Your goals, objectives and development activities are put into written form to assist you in attaining them. Unexpected life events or new information often cause people to delay or alter their career goals. The TSA Career Plan will not be used as a means to formally access your performance. However, if you have activities on your Career Plan that have also been required by your supervisor to help you improve deficient performance, your progress in improving your performance will be addressed during performance discussions with your supervisor.

Q. When will I know if my Career Plan requests for general training funds or "on- the- job" developmental activities have been granted?

A. The procedures for allocation of general training funds and the support available for on-the-job developmental activities will depend on procedures within your TSA Unit. Support may not be possible for some of the activities that you and your supervisor agreed were appropriate. That is why it is a good idea to have a "Plan B" for acquiring the skills that you feel are necessary for your career development.

Q. How often will my supervisor and I 'revisit' my TSA Career Plan?

A. Minimally, you should discuss your career interests within the first ninety days of starting employment; prepare a career plan within your first year, and annually thereafter. You can 'revisit' your Career Plan more often, as mutually agreed between you and your supervisor.

Q. What do I do if I decide that I would like to add something to my TSA Career Plan and it is not time for the annual discussion?

A. You can request that you and your supervisor meet to discuss changes to your plan and if agreed make the changes. There is a place on the form to sign when a Career Plan is reviewed and updated during the year.

Q. I recently learned about a training program that was not listed on my TSA Career Plan. Can I still request that I attend this training?

A. Possibly, if the training requested would best serve the mission of the agency and funding is available. You will want to update your TSA Career Plan to reflect this requested activity. Remember you and your supervisor may agree that training listed on your Career Plan is appropriate but general training funds may not be available to support your request. It is always a good idea to have a "Plan B" for acquiring desired training. Your "Plan B" could be paying for the training yourself or finding a less expensive way to acquire the desired skills.

Q. Who keeps the original signed TSA Career Plan?

A. The employee keeps the original Career Plan signed by the employee and supervisor. The supervisor keeps a copy of the signed Career Plan. In units where it is required, the Training Coordinator also signs the form after review and analysis for organization training needs. The employee and supervisor would not get a copy that has the Training Coordinator's signature on it.

Additional Questions

If you have additional policy questions about the TSA Career Plan that cannot be answered within your Unit, email your question to the TSACareerToolbox@dhs.gov and be sure to include your name and phone number.

Latest revision: 01 January 2013