TSA Is Hiring Thousands of Officers
Peak summer travel season is officially in full swing, which unfortunately means long lines at airport security are inevitable.
The Transportation Security Administration, on the front lines of the crush of summer travelers, announced earlier this summer it would be hiring at least 1,600 new officers to help mitigate the massive influx of flyers. Now, the security agency is looking to beef up its employee rosters with thousands of additional officers and canine handlers, as well as other positions, as lines at US airports snake into hours-long waits.
Any newly minted officers will certainly have to be ready to work. TSA has been reporting some of its highest numbers during this summer's wave of travelers. In fact, last week (from June 24 to June 30) was the busiest week in TSA's history, capping off a three-week period stretching through June that was the busiest 21-day stretch the agency has ever seen.
But, before any of TSA's new hires can start screening passengers around the country, the new recruits will first have to enroll in the agency's two-week training academy in Glynco, Georgia. This academy is mandatory for every officer who joins the aviation security watchdog.
It's at this training that recruits learn about customer service policies, how to screen passengers and work the x-ray machines at airport checkpoints. TSA is implementing some new x-ray techniques to help get a clearer image of the inside of passengers' carry-ons and speed along the lines. Several airports now have 3D scanners, and TSA officers have been asking passengers to remove snacks and powders from their bags because they can obstruct the images.
Recruits also learn about customer service.
“We actually learn how to treat passengers with a lot of care and respect and try to connect with them," TSA trainee Valeria Garcia told CNBC. "Even if it's just for two seconds, just to make the experience a little less frightful for them.”
From there, new hires train for about 60 hours at their assigned airports with an on-site coach.
All told, the process takes about two months, after which the new officers get a starting salary of about $35,000 per year, depending on the role and the location.
TSA is comprised of about 50,000 security officers, canine handlers, air marshals and managers.