This job is open to
U.S. citizens, nationals or those who owe allegiance to the U.S.
Transportation Security Officers are responsible for providing security and protection of travelers across all transportation sectors in a courteous and professional manner. Their duties may also extend to securing high-profile events, important figures and/or anything that includes or impacts our transportation systems. Learn more about the Transportation Security Officer (TSO) role on the TSA Careers Website.
Learn more about this agency
For more information on working at San Diego International Airport, Lindbergh Field, please Click Here.
Salary Information: The salary range listed above includes locality pay of 29.77%. The current starting hourly rate for this position is $18.47.
Sign-on Bonus: The Transportation Security Administration is offering a sign-on bonus of up to $1,000 for this location; $500 after onboarding and an additional $500 after one year of service. This initiative applies to TSO new hires who onboard prior to September 30, 2021.
Hiring: TSA may apply a gender-specific (male or female) hiring preference to fill TSO positions in order to meet security mission and same gender pat-down job-related requirements. At airport locations where it is necessary to apply the hiring preference, candidates of the needed gender will be provided preference in the scheduling of the computer based aptitude test, airport assessments, processing and selection. At this time, this airport is only seeking qualified female candidates to meet mission related staffing needs. The applications of male candidates will be accepted but not considered until staffing needs change.
DHS components work collectively to prevent terrorism, secure borders, enforce and administer immigration laws, safeguard cyberspace and ensure resilience to disasters.
Securing Travel, Protecting People-At the TSA, you will serve in a high-stakes environment to safeguard the American way of life. Across the nation, you will be on the front line of the DHS’s TSA team as they secure airports, seaports, railroads, highways, and public transit systems, thus protecting our transportation infrastructure and ensuring freedom of movement for people and commerce.
Realistic Job Preview: The Realistic Job Preview gives you an honest, objective and vivid portrait of what it means to work as a Transportation Security Officer (TSO) and provides employee testimonies about both the good and the challenging aspects of being a TSO. To view the video, please Click Here.
Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) provide security and protection of air travelers, airports and aircraft in a courteous and professional manner. This includes:
- Operating various screening equipment and technology to identify dangerous objects in baggage, cargo and on passengers, and preventing those objects from being transported onto aircraft.
- Performing searches and screening, which may include physical interaction with passengers (e.g., pat-downs, search of property, etc.), conducting bag searches and lifting/carrying bags, bins, and property weighing up to 50lbs.
- Controlling terminal entry and exit points.
- Interacting with the public, giving directions and responding to inquiries.
- Maintaining focus and awareness while working in a stressful environment which includes noise from alarms, machinery and people, crowd distractions, time pressure, and disruptive and angry passengers, in order to preserve the professional ability to identify and locate potentially life threatening or mass destruction devices, and to make effective decisions in both crisis and routine situations.
- Engaging in continuous development of critical thinking skills, necessary to mitigate actual and potential security threats, by identifying, evaluating, and applying appropriate situational options and approaches. This may include application of risk-based security screening protocols that vary based on program requirements.
- Retaining and implementing knowledge of all applicable Standard Operating Procedures, demonstrating responsible and dependable behavior, and is open to change and adapts to new information or unexpected obstacles.
NOTE: Employees occupying frontline positions, i.e., individuals performing security screening operations and occupying positions that involve contact with the traveling public on a regular and recurring basis, are required to wear TSA approved and issued personal protective equipment (PPE). This requirement is in place to address the COVID-19 pandemic and comply with Executive Order 13991 and TSA’s Pandemic and Emerging Infectious Disease and Workforce Protection Plan. PPE includes TSA issued surgical masks, face shields, and nitrile gloves. At TSA, the health and safety of our employees is a top priority.
Occasional travel - A minimum of two (2) weeks of travel in a full-time duty status will be required to complete TSA’s New Hire training. New Hire training and travel requirements vary by duty location and may require up to six (6) weeks of full-time duty status travel. This training will occur away from the employee’s airport of record. Employees will be paid for compensable hours and reimbursed for authorized travel expenses per TSA Travel Policy. While employed with TSA, other occasional travel may be required.
Conditions Of Employment
- Must be a U.S. Citizen or U.S. National and at least 18 years of age
- Pass a drug screening, medical evaluation, and background investigation
- Subject to post-employment random drug and/or alcohol testing
- Must be registered for Selective Service (males born after 12/31/59)
- Must be available to work various shifts and overtime, as needed
- Mandatory travel for training and occasional travel may be required
The qualification requirements listed above must be met at the time of application submission.
- Veterans' Preference: TSA will provide employment preference to eligible veterans by applying veterans' preference as defined in the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (PL 107-71) and to those eligible under the provisions of Title 5, United States Code (USC), Section 2108. Learn more about TSA’s commitment to providing employment opportunities for qualified, eligible veterans.
- Selective Service Registration Requirement: TSA policy requires verification of Selective Service registration for male applicants born after 12/31/59. To find out if you initially meet the Selective Service registration requirement for TSA employment, please Click Here.
- Credit: Applicants must not have delinquent Federal or State taxes, or past due child support payments.
- E-Verify: DHS uses E-Verify, an Internet-based system, to confirm the eligibility of all newly hired employees to work in the United States. Learn more about E-Verify, including your rights and responsibilities.
- Residency Requirement: To ensure adequate background investigative coverage, applicants are required to have resided within the United States for three of the last five years immediately prior to applying for this position. For those applicants who do not meet this residency requirement, an exception may be granted under the following circumstances – (1) applicant worked for U.S. Government in foreign countries in federal civilian or military capacities; (2) applicant was or is a dependent accompanying a federal civilian or military employee serving in foreign countries; (3) applicant who studied abroad at a U.S. affiliated college or university; or (4) applicant who has a current and adequate federal background investigation completed for a federal or Government contractor position.
Applicants must meet these qualifications in order to be further evaluated in the TSO hiring process:
- Have a high school diploma, General Educational Development (GED), High School Equivalency Test (HiSET), or Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC) credential OR at least one year of full-time work experience in the security industry, aviation screening, or as an X-ray technician
- Be proficient in the English language (i.e., able to read, write, speak, and comprehend)
National Service Experience (i.e., volunteer experience): Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.
No moving, relocation or pre-employment travel expenses will be paid for this position, or while in application for this position. This position is not a law enforcement position and therefore, is not covered by Law Enforcement Availability Pay or Law Enforcement Retirement. Per the President's 2014 Fair Employment memo, TSA policy is to not adversely consider a candidate based on unemployment or financial difficulty through no fault of their own. For more information on the Fair Employment policy, see “Additional Resources” here.
TSA is an excepted service agency. Employment with TSA does not confer the "Competitive Status" that generally results from selection and service in Competitive Service agencies. However, permanent employees who have at least one year of continuous service with TSA will be eligible to apply for positions in other Federal agencies under the OPM-DHS Interchange Agreement.
Reasonable Accommodation: Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process should contact HC ServeU Customer Care at HC-ServeU@tsa.dhs.gov.
Bargaining Unit Status: This position is in the bargaining unit for which the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the exclusive representative.
Reemployed Annuitants: Since the TSO position is permanent, it does not meet the eligibility requirement for a salary offset waiver under the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2010. Therefore, former Federal or Postal Service employees who are receiving a civilian retirement annuity may have their salary reduced by the amount of their pension, which could result in a biweekly net pay as low as zero dollars ($0.00) or a debt owed to the Federal Government.
TSO Dress and Appearance Responsibilities: TSOs are required to adhere to the Personal Appearance Standard that requires a neat, clean and professional appearance while on duty or while wearing a uniform. This includes adherence to policies on accessories and grooming. For example, with the exception of 1/4 inch stud-type earrings, body and/or tongue piercing may not be visible to the public. In addition, tattoos of any kind on the head, face, and exposed areas of the neck must be covered at all times and not visible to the general public. TSA issued and approved items such as turtlenecks or dickies may be used to cover tattoos on the lower neck.
Work Schedules for Part-time Positions: Specific work shifts and schedules will be determined by the airport.
- Part-time shifts generally range from 16-32 hours per week
- Part-time work consists of shift-work on any day from Sunday through Saturday, which may include irregular hours, nights, holidays, overtime, extended shifts and weekend shifts, changing shifts, and split shifts
- A "split-shift" consists of any two work shifts, each lasting at least two (2) hours in one 24-hour period, with at least two (2) hours between work shifts
Maintaining Employment: All TSOs must maintain the standard level of certification and fitness for duty, to include:
- Completing classroom training, on-the-job training, and all initial certification testing
- Recurrent and specialized training and recertification tests on a periodic basis
- Passing background investigations, including a criminal check and credit check, and all randomly administered drug and alcohol screening tests
How You Will Be Evaluated
If you meet the minimum qualifications, you may be invited to take a Computer Based Test (CBT) to confirm English language proficiency and evaluate x-ray interpretation aptitude. Upon passing the CBT, you will be eligible to be scheduled for additional assessments, which include: (1) a structured interview to determine, among other qualities, your decision making skill and your ability to work with teams and the general public; (2) a drug screening; and, (3) a job related medical evaluation that includes a color vision test, vision exam, hearing exam, and adequate joint mobility exam (in part to determine the physical potential to repeatedly lift and/or carry up to 50 pounds, to stand for prolonged periods (e.g. 3-4 hours) of time without a break, and to walk up to three miles during a shift). Upon passing these assessments, you will be subject to a pre-hire background investigation. Based upon passing the pre-hire background investigation and a qualitative evaluation of the criteria above, you will be placed in one of the following categories:
Best Qualified: Applicants demonstrating a superior level of all evaluation criteria.
Highly Qualified: Applicants demonstrating a more than satisfactory level of the evaluation criteria.
Qualified: Applicants demonstrating minimal or basic satisfactory qualifications, with general knowledge, skills, and abilities.
Open to All U.S. Citizens and U.S. Nationals
For further information concerning U.S. citizenship, please Click Here.
For more information on TSO medical requirements, please Click Here.
For more information on TSO eligibility standards and background requirements, please Click Here.
For definitions of terms found in this announcement, please Click Here.
To preview questions please click here
Background checks and security clearance
- If you are claiming Veteran's Preference based upon period of service, a compensable disability, a widow or spouse entitlement, or as a Purple Heart recipient, please submit a copy of the following documents, as applicable: Form DD-214 - Certification of Release or Discharge from Active Duty (Member 4 copy), Form SF-15 - Application for 10-Point Veterans' Preference, and any documentation that supports your claim (e.g., Department of Veterans Affairs letter dated 1991 or later. Please refer to the SF-15 form to determine what documentation is required. To access this form, please Click Here.)
- A copy of your most recent Notification of Personnel Action (SF-50) if you are a current or former Federal employee. Current or former U.S. Postal Service employees should submit a copy of their Notification of Personnel Action (PS-50).
If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:
Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from
schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.
A career with the U.S. Government provides employees with a comprehensive benefits package. As a federal employee, you and your family will have access to a range of benefits that are designed to make your federal career very rewarding.
DHS offers competitive salaries and an attractive benefits package, including: health, dental, vision, life, and long-term care insurance; retirement plan; Thrift Savings Plan [similar to a 401(k)]; Flexible Spending Account; Employee Assistance Program; personal leave days; and paid federal holidays. Other benefits may include: uniform allowance; health and wellness programs; transportation subsidies; and tuition reimbursement. DHS is committed to employee development and offers a variety of employee training and developmental opportunities. For more information, go to the DHS Careers website and select "Employee Benefits."
Employees who transfer to TSA from an agency that allows employees to maintain an annual leave balance higher than the maximum accumulation for the appointed position will have their leave ceiling set to the maximum accumulation for the appointed position (e.g., United States duty location - 240 hours, foreign duty location - 360 hours). TSA will not make a monetary payment for any leave forfeited under these circumstances.
Starting a career with TSA as a TSO may lead to promotion possibilities within DHS.
Eligibility for benefits depends on the type of position you hold and whether your position is full-time, part-time, or intermittent. Contact the hiring agency for more information on the specific benefits offered.
How to Apply
How to Apply
Applications will be accepted online until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard/Daylight Time on the closing date of the job opportunity announcement (JOA). However, if a sufficient number of applications are received, the announcement may be closed before the published application deadline. Therefore, applicants are strongly encouraged to promptly apply online and in advance of the announcement closing date. Application Steps: To submit your application online:
- Step #1: Click the "Apply Online" button from the USAJOBS application page
- Step #2: Enter information into the resume fields and follow the process outlined in USAJOBS for creating and submitting your USAJOBS resume
- Step #3: Submit any required supporting documentation. Please ensure you have included the Required Documents listed above, if applicable.
We strongly encourage you to apply online. If you are unable to apply online, please contact the HC ServeU Customer Care before the closing of this announcement for alternative options on how to apply. Please email your question or concern to HC-ServeU@tsa.dhs.gov. An "Employment Packet" will be sent to you via mail which must be completed and returned no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard/Daylight Time on the closing date of the JOA. An email address unique to you is required to apply even if you are submitting a paper application.
Please note: If you have previously applied to a TSO JOA, you must utilize your existing USAJOBS account when applying to other TSO vacancies. If you need assistance accessing your existing USAJOBS account, please contact USAJOBS via the Contact Us link. Upon each submission of an application for a TSO vacancy, you must update your profile and demographic information, answer each application question, re-submit any applicable documentation, and select Finish at the end of the application. Otherwise, the application will be considered incomplete and will not be processed. Applicants must each use their own, individual email address when applying to a TSO job opportunity announcement. Email addresses are used as unique identifiers in the www.usajobs.gov system, so if you apply using the same email address as another TSA applicant, then all of the applications for each candidate who shares that account will be adversely impacted.
This JOA is being used to fill positions at this airport location only. If you are interested in a different airport location, you will need to apply to a JOA for that specific location when advertised. Any offers of employment made pursuant to this announcement will be consistent with all applicable authorities concerning, including Presidential Memoranda, Executive Orders, interpretive U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) guidance, and Office of Management and Budget plans and policies concerning hiring. These authorities are subject to change.
Due to the extensive pre-employment screening process, we are actively recruiting to fill current and future Transportation Security Officers within TSA. If you are interested in a career with TSA as a Transportation Security Officer, we encourage you to apply to this announcement. TSA encourages women, minorities and veterans to apply for an exciting career as a Transportation Security Officer with TSA.
After applying, you will be notified of your status by e-mail. You will also receive instruction on how to monitor your application status on-line via the TSA Candidate Portal. Because some systems may re-direct TSA emails away from your Inbox, please be sure to also check your junk and spam email folders on a regular basis for emails that may contain important information regarding your application status and specific instructions about the hiring process.
In order to help prevent these important messages from being automatically removed from your inbox, you may also want to consider adding the following two e-mail addresses to your contact list: 1) firstname.lastname@example.org, and 2) HC-ServeU@tsa.dhs.gov.
To render a final decision regarding your qualification for selection, several assessments are required, each of which may vary in length of time to schedule and successfully complete, and several of which may be dependent on you for submitting information as requested.
Fair & Transparent
The Federal hiring process is setup to be fair and transparent. Please read the following guidance.
Equal Employment Opportunity Policy
The United States Government does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy And gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factor.
Reasonable Accommodation Policy
Federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation for any part of the application process should follow the instructions in the job opportunity announcement. For any part of the remaining hiring process, applicants should contact the hiring agency directly. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.
A reasonable accommodation is any change to a job, the work environment, or the way things are usually done that enables an individual with a disability to apply for a job, perform job duties or receive equal access to job benefits.
Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodations when:
- An applicant with a disability needs an accommodation to have an equal opportunity to apply for a job.
- An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to perform the essential job duties or to gain access to the workplace.
- An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to receive equal access to benefits, such as details, training, and office-sponsored events.
You can request a reasonable accommodation at any time during the application or hiring process or while on the job. Requests are considered on a case-by-case basis.
Learn more about disability employment and reasonable accommodations or how to contact an agency.
Legal and regulatory guidance