Employment Requirements for Airport Security Screeners

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Aviation security long has been a key element in protecting Americans from those who wish to do us harm. Much of our ability to protect flights from attack depends on the security provided at airports around the country. Airport security is under the jurisdiction of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), a branch of the Department of Homeland Security. The TSA has strict requirements for anyone who wishes to apply for a job as an airport security screener.

Basic Requirements

  • To apply for an airport security job, you must be 18 years old at the time of application. You must also be a U.S. citizen or U.S. national and be proficient in English. You must have a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent.

Physical Ability

  • You must be willing and able to repeatedly lift and carry baggage weighing up to 70 pounds. You must be agile enough to "bend, reach, stoop, squat, stand and walk," according to the TSA. You must be able to continuously stand for up to four hours with no break as part of your screening functions. You must be able to walk up to two miles during a shift.

Communication Skills

  • As an airport security screener, you must be able to communicate with the public, able to tell people what to do, and respond to questions courteously and professionally. Applicants should have customer skills, be dependable and do their job with integrity.

Mental Focus

  • You must be able to stay focused and aware while operating in a stressful environment, and make effective decisions in a crisis as well as in routine situations. Required skills include visual observation and x-ray interpretation. The work environment includes constant noise from alarms, machines and people, as well as time pressure and disruptive and angry passengers. You must be able to identify and locate potentially life-threatening devices.

Medical Standards

  • You must pass a pre-employment medical evaluation that will assess your visual ability, hearing ability, joint mobility and blood pressure. For the sight test, you must have distance vision correctable to 20/30 or better in your best eye and 20/100 or better in your worst eye. You must have near vision correctable to 20/40 or better. You must have adequate color perception and cannot use filters (such as contact lenses) for enhancing color discrimination. Your blood pressure must not exceed 140/90.

Background Investigation

  • You must pass a pre-employment drug screening test and a background investigation that includes a criminal check and a credit check. You will not be eligible for the position if the credit check reveals that you have defaulted on $7,500 or more in debt (excluding certain circumstances of bankruptcy), or that you owe any delinquent federal or state taxes or any past due child support payments.

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