Transportation Security Inspector Duties and Responsibilities

Research what it takes to become a transportation security inspector. Learn about education requirements, job duties, and median salary to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Driver Training degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Transportation Security Inspector?

As part of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), transportation security inspectors are responsible for the security of mass-transit systems. They inspect carry-on baggage using X-ray scanners, and they may search checked baggage if they suspect it contains illegal materials. In addition, they verify the validity of passengers' tickets and perform pat-down or wand searches to make sure that passengers are not attempting to transport prohibited items on their person. If a prohibited item is detected, they may confiscate it or, depending on the nature of the item, contact the police to question the passenger further. After detecting security threats, they write reports for supervisors and government officials.

The table below outlines some key facts about a career in this field.

Education Required High school diploma or equivalent
Key Responsibilities Enforce federal security requirements through the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), monitor mass transit systems, collect security data on mass-transit systems, develop security procedures and take part in outreach activities
Job Growth (2014-2024) -9% (for all transportation security screeners)*
Median Salary (2015) $39,310 (for all transportation security screeners)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are The Duties of a Transportation Security Inspector?

A transportation security inspector monitors and enforces federal security requirements through the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). If you are assigned to monitor mass transit systems, one of your primary responsibilities could be to follow protocols aimed at increasing transit security. Through the Baseline Assessment for Security Enhancement (BASE) program, you'll focus on these fundamentals of transit security: protect high-risk assets, including those underwater and underground, promote public safety and security awareness, conduct emergency drills and protocols, train for counter-terrorism personnel, and use deterrence methods.

Similar to following the BASE program, as a security inspector you may monitor rail systems and be responsible for completing their own set of security and safety measures. These are designed to maintain the integrity of toxic or hazardous shipments.

What Will Be Your Responsibilities?

If you work as a transportation security inspector, you'll be responsible for collecting security data on mass-transit systems to see if they comply with security standards. Your job duties might involve developing security procedures or discussing the best use of TSA funds with managers or security administrators for mass-transit systems.

Additionally, you could take part in team-related work, such as the Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response protocols. This is a team of transportation security agents who make highly conspicuous appearances on mass-transit vehicles as a deterrent against terrorist activities. Some of your specific job duties may include testifying in court, inputting security and investigation data into the national database, evaluating the results of security tests, developing and recommending alternative security measures, ensuring the efficiency and integrity of security systems that use new technology and writing instruction letters to transportation providers.

What Else Might I Do?

As a transportation security inspector, you might also take part in outreach activities. For example, you could communicate with industries or government agencies on behalf of the TSA. Also, you could help regulate inspections at security checkpoints and facilitate security incidents to keep passengers safe and ease channels of travel.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you are interested in an inspector job, there are a variety of options available. For instance, as a fire inspector you would evaluate buildings to make sure that they comply with local, state and federal fire codes. You would also investigate fires after they have occurred in order to prevent future emergencies. Another option is to become a plan examiner, which involves evaluating plans for infrastructure projects like buildings, roads and pipelines in order to ensure that they would comply with structural and environmental standards and regulations. For either of these inspector jobs, you would need a high school diploma. Alternatively, if you are looking for a security-related job, you could become a security guard in a setting such as an apartment building or mall, where you would enforce rules and deter criminal activity with your presence. Security guards also need to have a high school diploma or the equivalent.

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