Airport Security Training and Certification Program Information
Airport security officers, or transportation security officers, ensure the safety of airport travelers by recognizing and preventing security threats. Officers use innovative screening and x-ray equipment to monitor travelers and gather security intelligence. Airport security officers receive on-the-job training and classroom learning through their employer.
Training Requirements and Recommendations
Most airport security officers are employed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Transportation Security Administration (TSA) or private security contractors. Airport security officers are required to have a high school diploma. In most cases, a formal education is not required but may be preferred. In lieu of education, many employers ask for one or more years of security experience. Experience with x-ray equipment that is used in airports can increase career opportunities.
Like most security positions, airport security officers must be physically fit and mentally stable. Officers must be able to pass drug screening and comprehensive background tests prior to employment. Most employers provide training for officers, combining classroom learning with on-the-job training under the supervision of experienced officers. Some employers may have additional requirements for weapons and firearms proficiency.
Airport security officers are required to have a high school diploma or GED certificate. Many airport security positions do not require officers to have any additional formal education, although a homeland security certificate can boost career prospects.
A homeland security certificate program prepares students for careers in transportation and domestic security. Most programs last one semester and teach students how to analyze, recognize and treat terrorist acts and other security threats. Students learn emergency management and planning skills as well as crisis prevention techniques. Courses may include:
- Security management
- Domestic and international terrorism
- Emergency preparedness
- Security assessment and prevention strategies
- Security law and regulations
- Transportation security
In most cases, airport security agencies provide classroom and on-the-job training to officers who have passed background tests, physical exams and met additional employment prerequisites. The TSA requires officers to have 56 to 72 hours of classroom training and 112 to 128 hours of on-the-job training. While other employers may have different requirements, this combination of classroom and on-the-job training is common.
Licenses and Certifications
Airport security officers are not required to be licensed. After meeting all employment requirements, officers begin airport security training. Upon completion of a training program, officers employed by the TSA are eligible to work and must occasionally pass security tests for continued employment.
Workshops and Seminars
Many employers provide workshops and continuing education opportunities for airport security officers. Because security threats are constantly changing, airport security officers must be educated on current security assessment practices. Officers must be able to use new security technology and equipment as it is implemented. After obtaining employment, officers may be required to undergo continuing education assessments through ongoing on-the-job training offered by employers.
Additional Professional Development
Airport security officers must be physically fit, able to stand and perform security screenings for long hours and routinely handle baggage and other large items. They must be able to communicate with travelers and other transportation staff members. Mental focus, visual ability and hearing ability must be excellent in order to perform consistent and accurate security practices. Prior to employment, airport security officers must pass comprehensive drug and background tests. Airport security officers may have to meet financial eligibility requirements set by employers who do not allow employees to have excessive debt or delinquent federal and state taxes.
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