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Transportation Security Officer Duties

Indrajit Deshmukh
Transportation security officers perform an important role in today's world by screening travelers and their baggage for security threats. They are compensated with salaries that range between USD 25,000 to USD 50,000 for performing their duties.
The world we live in today is not ideal and our lifestyle is threatened by terrorists and criminals who have total disregard for human life. The administration is facing a continual struggle to safeguard the interests of the general population.
Transportation security officers are one of the gatekeepers of law and order in this scenario. They are hired by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to enforce the law in cities across the country. Their duties vary a little as per the location of the job.
They work at airports, public transit systems, highways, railroads, etc. Their main task is to ensure freedom of movement for people so that they can enjoy their business and pleasure travels.
Their duties have come to the fore especially after the 9/11 attacks that shocked the entire world. Lately, however, they have been a part of late night TV show jokes. This does not undermine the important role they play in maintaining the American way of life.

Job Description

Theie main role is to enforce laws and policies as laid down by the government for free flow of people and transportation modes. You will have encountered them at the airport as they are in charge of screening people when they board or alight from a flight.
They use different techniques to scan for security threats ranging from hi-tech equipment to pat downs. Most of them are stationed at check points to screen passengers and their luggage for anything suspicious.
At airports, they perform pre-boarding screening of passenger's carry-on and checked baggage with the help of screening equipment. A transportation security officer uses x-ray machines to screen the baggage, cargo, as well as passengers at the beginning and culmination of the journey.
They have to ensure that weapons like bombs and guns do not get on-board the aircraft. Ensuring that travelers follow proper screening procedures is also a part of their job profile.
They also use handheld wands to screen passengers when they are traveling, in most settings they also guide passengers through metal detectors. These security officers also have to keep a lookout for behavior that looks suspicious and alert the law enforcement officers.
Explaining security regulations to the general public and answering any related queries, and overseeing transport related responsibilities during emergencies like floods, earthquakes, etc., are also part of their duties.

Requirements and Earnings

Individuals with a high school diploma or GED equivalent are eligible for a transportation security officer's job. However, most positions will require candidates to have prior experience in security and handling of screening equipment, like X-ray machines and hand wands.
You should be proficient in reading, writing, and understanding English. Individuals who can speak foreign languages like Spanish along with the mandatory English language will be given preference.
The job also requires physical strength and stamina as you have to stand on the job for anywhere between 1 - 4 hours without a break. You also need interpersonal skills and the ability to work with individuals from different ethnic and religious backgrounds.
People looking at entry-level jobs can expect to earn wages that range anywhere between USD 25,000 to USD 35,000 annually. Like most other professions, if you are experienced, your wages will be slightly higher. Individuals who have prior experience are known to earn annual wages that cross the USD 50,000 mark.
Transportation security officers play a vital role in today's fast paced world where travel is necessary for commerce and personal needs. The job can be stressful at times but on the other hand it can be very exciting as well.