In case you missed it, TSA recently announced the hiring of over 6,000 Transportation Security Officers – or TSOs for short – in anticipation of travel trends in 2021. TSOs are the backbone of TSA and they play a vital role in keeping air travel safe. If you’re interested in a career that offers benefits like health care and retirement, and where you work alongside a diverse and inclusive team, the TSO position offers a great first step in your federal career.
Find that hard to believe? Let’s hear it from a few TSA employees who started their careers as TSOs in local airports.
A mission that serves a purpose.
“I watched the events of September 11, 2001 unfold the morning after working an overnight shift at a local grocer,” says Jacob Crane, a former TSO in Boise, Idaho, and current Public Affairs Specialist.
“When I heard about the formation of TSA and the opportunity to work for TSA, I felt compelled to be part of an agency looking to prevent those events from happening again.”
Flexibilities for students and part-time workers.
“I joined TSA in 2013 while finishing my degree. At the time, finishing school was my top priority and being a TSO allowed me to not only have awesome medical benefits but I was able to begin a career while working part time,” says Crystal Cherry a TSO from Dallas, Texas. “My team was so supportive. They encouraged me to finish school, and someone was always willing to cover during final exams. Once I graduated, I was easily able to transition to full time. Over the years, I’ve worked multiple “details” (temporary assignments to other parts of the agency) to expand my knowledge and grow as a professional.”
“Before joining TSA, I worked several seasonal jobs just to stay afloat. Even when I found something more permanent, I was laid off due to the suffering economy. I finally found a part-time position with TSA while still working a customer service job. Being a TSO gave me the stability that I needed, even as a part-timer, and I eventually transitioned to a full-time employee,” adds Adam Hale, also a former TSO in Boise, Idaho, and current Public Affairs Specialist. “The COVID-19 pandemic has many others in the place that I was during the previous recession, doing the same types of things to get by. I’d recommend applying to join TSA.”
Career progression is real.
“TSA has many different jobs within the Agency. After joining, you can go pretty much anywhere in the country over time. I’ve been able to work from four different locations so far and have quickly accelerated into positions I was interested in. In each position, I gained the skills that only made it easier to obtain other positions of interest,” Hale says.
“Being a TSO offers flexibility and endless opportunities within TSA and with other agencies as well. One's progression isn't defined solely by their title but by the positive work and impact they are making,” Cherry continues. “Being a TSO is a stepping stone to doing great things whether you move up the ladder traditionally or create a whole new path for yourself.”
Teamwork makes the dream work.
TSA employs approximately 50,000 screening officers at nearly 440 airports, creating a community of officers near and far. Additionally, if you’re an active or retired service member, nearly 20% of our workforce are veterans or still proudly serving.
“As a TSO, your work is vital to preserving the safety of the traveling public. Your team knows that, and there’s great teamwork when you’re all working towards a common goal of keeping people safe,” says Crane.
“During my time as TSO, climbing the ladder, and now as a Public Affairs Specialist, I’ve found comradery, unity and a community of individuals that care about each other and help each other,” adds Hale. “Those internal bonds become strong, and your job can actually be a lot of fun because you enjoy working alongside your team. Being a TSO and working your way up is a great way to learn things from different people. And this knowledge, helps me still today to do my job better in my current role.”
Oh, did we mention the benefits?
TSA has competitive benefits. We offer annual and sick leave, as well as health benefits and so much more. We offer paid maternity and paternity leave for new parents, and we have leave donation services for those in need of extra paid time off. Also, with many part-time positions currently available, you’ll be able to work shifts and hours that may be best for your lifestyle.
“Our Training and Development Office has programs to help you grow and develop,” says Hale. “Join us and make TSA better for passengers and officers alike.”
Want to learn more? Watch our “A Day in the Life of a TSO” video. To view and apply for open positions for TSOs around the country, visit https://jobs.tsa.gov.