Airport Security Officer Description

Updated February 21, 2017

A person hoping to become an airport security officer must undergo intense scrutiny during the application process. Those who apply to work for the United States Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) should have clean records and must continue to keep clean records after employment begins. All U.S. TSA employees also must be U.S. citizens and be able to speak and read in English.

Check Tickets and Identification

Airport security officers are required to check the tickets and other identification of passengers. This is typically done while the travellers are in line, waiting to have their luggage screened. In some cases, the airport security officer is the only security employee to check the information; however, larger airports sometimes require security officers to check tickets and Identification several times. Security guards must check the dates on tickets to make sure they are valid. They also must ensure that passports, visas or driver's licenses are not expired.

Screen Passengers

Airport security officers screen passengers as they walk through metal detectors. If the metal detector beeps when the passenger walks through, the security officer instructs the passenger to walk through it again. He also may request the passenger to remove items from his pockets or take off a watch. If the metal detector beeps again, the security officer must manually scan the passenger with a hand-held scanner.

Screen Luggage

Airport security officers are responsible for checking the carry-on and checked luggage that passengers bring with them. In addition to looking for obvious violations such as firearms, knives and other weapons, the security officer also is responsible for ensuring that the passenger does not bring liquids that exceed 85.1gr. Similarly, the security officer may hand out plastic bags to passengers who have not already included their liquid containers in one of these bags.

Control Exit Points

Airport security officers are stationed at all of the exit points in an airport. Once passengers have exited the area of the airport that is restricted to the nonflying public, the airport security officer is required to make sure that they do not re-enter the terminal. The airport security officer must also be vigilant to make sure that people in the public areas of the airport do not try to enter the terminals through the exit areas.

Provide Other Security Assistance

In addition to working at the entry and exit points, airport security officers also spend time roaming the terminals. Security officers receive training that allows them to understand what kinds of suspicious activity they should look for. They also are required to look for suspicious items such as unattended luggage. Security officers also should have a solid understanding of the layout of the airport so they can assist travellers with general information and directions.

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