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  • TSA (transportation security officer)

    Have some questions regarding TSA transportation security officer positions.

    1. Does it provide you with a security clearance? If so, what level or kind.

    2. What room for advancement is there with this position?

  • #2
    Originally posted by MarDelVa96 View Post
    Have some questions regarding TSA transportation security officer positions.

    1. Does it provide you with a security clearance? If so, what level or kind.

    2. What room for advancement is there with this position?
    No security clearance worth mentioning. My 19 year old son just got put in the approved applicant pool, so its nothing fancy.
    Not sure on the advancement. there are only so many positions..so unless there are some special advanced positions( like K9 etc), id say its not superb.
    BUT..it does get your foot in the door of the feds system. that's half the battle, if you want to move on to something a bit bigger and better.

    Comment


    • #3
      TSO's don't get clearances. They get MBI investigations.

      There's not much advancement. Most of the K9 guys were k9 elsewhere.
      I don't answer recruitment messages....

      Comment


      • #4
        All of the security clearances within TSA are in positions other than the TSO level (K9, TSI, FAMs, Intel Analyst, TSSE, etc). TSA is really good about hiring from within when it comes to moving up into other positions. The advancement is going to vary from airport to airport, but if you're willing to move you could advance a lot quicker.

        There are plenty of people that started out as a TSO and got into higher positions, including K9 slots. It's going to vary from airport to airport and the person doing the hiring over that division. If the person going thru the BQ list is a Marine and only wants other Marines to fill the slot, guess who isn't going to make the interview selection? It's unfortunately, but there is some of that going on instead of having an actual competitive process.

        Having prior K9 experience isn't a requirement for that slot. It's not like TSSE where everyone is former EOD or CBRNE.

        TSO is an entry level position and foot in the door to the federal government. It's what you make it. You can move up to Lead TSO, Supervisor and so forth and into other areas outside the screening force. You can also get into other areas of DHS. I've known a few people that got on with USSS that started out as a TSO (despite many here that will tell you it never happens, it does, just depends on the person).

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by invertedPanda View Post
          All of the security clearances within TSA are in positions other than the TSO level (K9, TSI, FAMs, Intel Analyst, TSSE, etc). TSA is really good about hiring from within when it comes to moving up into other positions. The advancement is going to vary from airport to airport, but if you're willing to move you could advance a lot quicker.

          There are plenty of people that started out as a TSO and got into higher positions, including K9 slots. It's going to vary from airport to airport and the person doing the hiring over that division. If the person going thru the BQ list is a Marine and only wants other Marines to fill the slot, guess who isn't going to make the interview selection? It's unfortunately, but there is some of that going on instead of having an actual competitive process.

          Having prior K9 experience isn't a requirement for that slot. It's not like TSSE where everyone is former EOD or CBRNE.

          TSO is an entry level position and foot in the door to the federal government. It's what you make it. You can move up to Lead TSO, Supervisor and so forth and into other areas outside the screening force. You can also get into other areas of DHS. I've known a few people that got on with USSS that started out as a TSO (despite many here that will tell you it never happens, it does, just depends on the person).
          Definitely agree with you on this one. The goal is to get out before your first year. Do yourself a favor and try not to take what some people may say on here personally lol a lot of salty people.

          Comment


          • #6
            How many TSO's have actually been promoted to these positions? The ones who've not been locked up for theft or other issues, tend to apply to DoD police because of DoD being the only agency which hires them via the interchange agreement.
            I don't answer recruitment messages....

            Comment


            • invertedPanda
              invertedPanda commented
              Editing a comment
              Plenty, myself included. Started as a pt tso and in less than two years became an Inspector (1801 position). I've known others that have career tracked the same way too. Is every TSO going to promote up? Of course not, it's all what you put into it and the drive of the person. Not to mention FTE budgets. You'll find that at any place of business or government agency.

              I've worked with people that started out where I was that have moved on to other agencies from VA police, DOD police, USSS (1811), FAMS, USCIS, city police etc. I've seen people employed with TSA who were admin staff that became K9 handlers. When you have an agency that is 80% plus screening force, there isn't going to be enough positions for everyone to move into outside of screening. But if you're a person with drive, apply yourself, learn on the job, take on extra things to pad the resume, get plenty of interview practice and prepare yourself for when the job you want opens you'll be ready to take that offer.

              Plenty of agencies accept the interchange agreement. They are listed on OPM. It's a bit ridiculous to suggested that nobody can get hired through an interchange agreement other than DOD police applicants. I've applied via interchange and have made to interview panels.

            • NCG128
              NCG128 commented
              Editing a comment
              Thank you for shutting this guy up

          • #7
            I worked as a TSO for a year. I would say you can move up rather quickly depending on your Airport. If your in a large airport I have seen TSO's go to Leads in as little as 6 months. Depends on the openings available, and I will say TSA is very Seniority dependent. I was there for 1 year and then got out after i received my Interchange Agreement paper work. You an make a career out of it if you choose but I wouldn't recommend it. Morale is low and everyone hates you lol.

            Comment


            • #8
              I work on the K9 side of the house, and the last 5 EDCH hires at my airport have been internal to TSA only. Kinda ****ed off the prior military K9 guys, but they want to incentivise people starting at the bottom have opportunities to move up. TSO definitely isn't that glamorous for sure, but if your motivated it's easy to stand out and move up. TSA is pretty well funded as an organization, so once you start to move up the ranks, you can get paid pretty well.

              Comment


              • Exbpa340
                Exbpa340 commented
                Editing a comment
                While you are probably correct about moving up the ranks easier due to a low talent pool in the general work force. I disagree with TSA being paid rather well.
                1 - A lead/Sup/Manager is paid less than many other federal employees with the equivalent duties or even less complex duties.
                2 - TSA is not compensated under the General Schedule (TSA uses pay bands) and its employees receive almost zero within level raises like GS employees do with steps.
                3 - Even their best paid employees (FAMS) are compensated at a much lower rate than other federal LEOs. Still a good gig with good pay though.

                https://forum.officer.com/forum/empl...ed-fed-leo-pay
                Last edited by Exbpa340; 10-29-2018, 08:05 PM.

              • danger
                danger commented
                Editing a comment
                I guess everything is relative. I made over 95k my first year with no experience in K9. Thats pretty good for a first year at an agency in my book.

              • Exbpa340
                Exbpa340 commented
                Editing a comment
                Danger... can you break that amount down...

                Pay band level?
                Base pay w/locality?
                Overtime?

                Here is a breakdown on pay for FAMS vs other Federal LEOs

                https://forum.officer.com/forum/empl...ed-fed-leo-pay

            • #9
              Use the TSO position as a stepping stone to a 6C spot in Fams, CBP, UD SS, Capitol Police or Park. Lots of motivated TSOs have made their transition to quality 6C jobs.

              Comment


              • #10
                My 22 year old son has worked part time for TSA as a TSO for 4 years. In about 6 weeks he will complete his bachelors degree and was able to do this with zero debt (Thanks to making almost $19 an hour with TSA). He will probably move onto to CBP as he has already completed everything for them (BP) and has turned down a couple of their offers. He reapplied and they are currently waiting until he graduates (he will EOD as a GL7). He does have a couple of other applications pending (ICE/DEA) but his most likely next step will be a job as a BPA.

                The point is that TSA can be a very good first step. If you intend to stay federal then the time counts toward FERS (not 12d/6C time though) and leave. You also get TSP automatic contributions and matching, FEHB, FEGLI and many other benefits. Not bad for a part time gig.
                “Right now I'm having amnesia and déjà vu at the same time. I think I've forgotten this before.” - Steven Wright

                US Army MP (95B) 1992-1997
                DOJ Agent/ DHS Officer 1997 to Present

                Comment


                • #11
                  Originally posted by danger View Post
                  I work on the K9 side of the house, and the last 5 EDCH hires at my airport have been internal to TSA only. Kinda ****ed off the prior military K9 guys, but they want to incentivise people starting at the bottom have opportunities to move up. TSO definitely isn't that glamorous for sure, but if your motivated it's easy to stand out and move up. TSA is pretty well funded as an organization, so once you start to move up the ranks, you can get paid pretty well.
                  Are you a handler? I am in the process right now for the EDCH and wondering how it is.

                  Comment


                  • #12
                    I am in the process of getting on as a TSO. Just finished my medical evaluation and waiting on my background check. It will definitely be a change from my SO that's for sure. I just want to start at the bottom in the fed system and work my way up. Same way I started as a corrections officer and worked my way up. I'm hoping it will give me a better understanding of things to come. Will I feel naked without my dutybelt? I'm sure I will lol.

                    Comment


                    • Kmiech
                      Kmiech commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Read below.

                  • #13
                    So you’re a Deputy Sheriff or Correctional Officer? I would highly advise staying away from this position if you’re already in an LE position. I started as a part time TSO many years ago with the same thoughts you had. I ended up doing 3.5 years before I could get out and move into an LE position which still wasn’t where I wanted to be in my career. I definitely recommend this position for someone in college or someone who just graduated. I do not recommend this position for someone who already holds an LE position. TSO will not help you get into federal LE. Your current LE position will. PM for any specific questions if you want.

                    Comment


                    • Evolution81
                      Evolution81 commented
                      Editing a comment
                      As a deputy marshal first several years you're doing court protection etc...once you gain your 1811 is when you can do kick doors/high-speed stuff...get in where you fit in apply for all Le gigs..don't let anything discourage you...I am in process for both cbp and Marshals...I started my career as a TS0 almost 13 years ago

                    • Kmiech
                      Kmiech commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Yeah evolution what do you think you’ll be doing working as a CBPO?? Id rather be in court then stamping passports. It will take a long time before you’re kicking doors down for CBP. Maybe your whole career slash never

                    • Kmiech
                      Kmiech commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Also, you’ve been in with TSA for 13 years and still trying with CBP?? And that’s what you recommend? That’s a long time to wait for a half assed LE job

                    • Evolution81
                      Evolution81 commented
                      Editing a comment
                      delete me please
                      Last edited by Evolution81; 11-24-2018, 12:25 PM. Reason: who cares.....lol

                  • #14
                    Appreciate the feedback. I'll be looking into both over the next year or so. All I have heard is that the hiring process can take up to a year if they even end up wanting you for those positions. So figured I might as well make extra money in the meantime as a Tso. I definitely plan to have a one-on-one with the sheriff once I get an answer back on the new job. Definitely don't want to burn any Bridges with my current apartment because who knows one day I may try to come back as a road deputy

                    Comment


                    • Kmiech
                      Kmiech commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I started as a TSO 8 years ago but this clown saying he still in the process for CBP 13 years later. That’s a joke. The goal is always to get an 1811 position which CBP is not. Your experience now can get you a spout in USMS which is 1811 and can lead to any other 1811 position you want, ATF, HSI, DEA, etc. Good luck to you.

                    • Exbpa340
                      Exbpa340 commented
                      Editing a comment
                      There are many applicants and current LEOs that have no desire to be an 1811. At the federal level 1811s are the best compensated (besides USMS and other GS-12 1811s) but it is not for everyone. You are looking at things through the lens of an ex-TSO and current CBPO. CBP OFO is one of if not the least law enforcement minded covered positions in the federal government. Many years ago my end goal was to become a DUSM but luckily I never went that route and ended up in a position that I thoroughly enjoy and am compensated better (at least for now).

                      There are very few entry level 1811 positions announced annually. A TSO without a college degree will have a very difficult time moving into an 1811 position. A CBPO or BPA could conceivably move over to an 1811 position a little easier.

                    • Evolution81
                      Evolution81 commented
                      Editing a comment
                      kmeich is mad he couldn't get into the feds and had to settle for nypd...ive been a fed leo for almost 4 years now....

                  • #15
                    I understand what you are saying. But I am not a current CBPO. Just offering my two cents from my experience in federal LE and hiring.

                    Comment

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