If you are interested in a security-related job, consider a federal position as a transportation security officer, enforcing the regulations of the Transportation Security Administration. Officers inspect baggage, check passenger identification, look for explosives or other weapons and prevent security breaches. Although you will receive federal pay and benefits, you could face several problems and challenges in this position.
Dealing with the Public
Dealing with the public is one of the biggest challenges you will face as a transportation security officer. Traveling is stressful for many people, especially those with impatient children or rushing to catch a flight for business. In addition, some travelers might feel uncomfortable with having their person or belongings searched. Keeping customers and yourself calm and communicating clearly can be a problem. Maintain a professional attitude and do not take customer comments personally.
Staffing and Procedures
Some airports face staffing problems, so security officers may be understaffed. Each terminal entry point must be staffed and all baggage and passengers screened, which might create a problem in understaffed facilities. In addition, you must understand and follow standard operating procedures. In some cases, discrepancies exist and you might have a problem determining whether a passenger is allowed to travel with certain items. Do your best to consult with supervisors when necessary and follow procedures, even during busy and understaffed conditions.
Other Problems Officers Face
While all airports have similar equipment to screen baggage and passengers, equipment is not necessarily identical. You will have to adapt to differences in hand wands and other equipment. In some locations, equipment is old and outdated, making it challenging to effectively complete screenings. In addition, TSA officers face dangerous situations when passengers try to travel with weapons.
Issues Supervisors Face
Supervisors must also deal with staffing and equipment issues. If you are in a supervisory position, you are responsible for assigning available officers to security checkpoints to ensure adequate security. When a procedural question or breach of security occurs, you must be up to date on the latest standard operating procedures and make decisions and take responsibility for the security your staff provides. In addition, you must handle complaints from customers and any conflicts between other officers.
- Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images