TSA Academy

Everything You Need to know About TSA(Transportation Security Administration) Academy

Last Updated on November 24, 2022

TSA stands for Transportation Security Administration, and TSA Academy Training trains transportation security officers. This involves training to protect the nation’s transportation systems and airports in order to secure the free movement of people and commerce throughout the country.

Transportation security officers must pass the TSA training phase before being enrolled at their designated airport. The training itself is rigorous and thorough in order to ensure that candidates are as fit and ready as they can possibly be before they embark on their new role.

Here’s all you need to know about the TSA Academy.

What Does The TSA Academy Training Process Entail?

The training was moved to the Federal Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia, in 2016 by the Federal Government. The training lasts for nine days, plus assignments that are to be completed via the OLC or Online Learning Center and associated fieldwork taking the overall training hours to around 120 hrs.

Training classes will be made up of a total of 24 students, and each class will have three designated instructors. The training will begin with eight classes per week.

Assignments within the Online Learning Center will include:

  • X-ray operations
  • Operating machinery whilst scanning for explosives
  • Body searches
  • Baggage searches

Training will also include the handling and sharing of sensitive information, which makes it all the more important.

Every employee of the United States Government, regardless of their department, will be required to undergo a number of tests before receiving their post assignment and Transportation Security Officers are no exception.

The tests may include the following:

  • Written tests
  • Image interpretation tests
  • Third-party evaluations

The Phases Of Federal Law Enforcement Training

Training at the official Law Enforcement Training Center consists of two phases, the first of which was conducted online during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Phase 1

In this phase of the training program, the focus will be on basic technical skills and fundamental knowledge through the use of:

  • Audio and visual materials
  • Lectures and discussions
  • Classroom exercises
  • Homework exercises
  • Tests

Topics will include the following:

  • Detecting terrorist threats
  • Screening policies
  • Risk-based security
  • Workplace environment
  • Effective communication
  • Lists of permitted and prohibited items
  • Checking travel documents
  • Dealing with individuals who have a disability or medical condition
  • Metal detector
  • Critical thinking
  • Handling sensitive information
  • Staying vigilant

In order to pass Phase 1 of the basic training, the candidate must score 70% on all exams.

Phase 2

There are 80 hours of instruction within this phase, and these will focus on:

  • Official standard operating procedures
  • Threat detection

This instruction may be delivered in the form of physical demonstrations and activities, computer-based X-ray simulators, discussions, and classroom lectures.

Within the TSA Academy, there are ‘screening checkpoint labs’ that are equipped with all of the equipment an officer is ever likely to need within his role.

Each Phase 2 training class will take a maximum of 30 students. Each student must achieve a pass score of 70% on all tests and assignments in order to be successful.

The reason for the rigor of this training and the high pass score is the potential for danger within a security officer’s role. You will learn about IEDs and how they pose the greatest threat to an airport and its travelers.

In short, the training you receive could very well mean the difference between life and death. You will understand how quickly bomb threats are evolving from one day to the next and the challenges faced when trying to secure a security checkpoint.

Unbelievably, terrorists have learned to make bombs from innocent household items such as toilet paper. Even more shockingly, the internet is now filled with how-to guides on causing mass destruction, meaning that the job of a TSA is now more crucial than ever.

Payment During TSA Training

One of the great things about the Transportation Security Administration training is that new recruits are paid to train. However, there are a couple of conditions to this which are that payment is only settled once new recruits are hired and, therefore, not immediate.

The Federal Government will pay around $2400 for your training in the form of travel expenses, salary, official per diems, expenses, lodging, and meals.

Additional Training Benefits

During training, you will receive annual leave and sick leave as well as health benefits and leave for maternity and paternity, to name but a few. This makes the benefits package for training highly competitive.

What Is The Training Academy Like?

Transportation Security

During training, students will live in dormitories on the center campus. Students will bear the responsibility of attending classes and abiding by the rules, which may include quiet hours after 10 pm, for example.

Within the Academy, you will have access to food and laundry services, and you will be supplied with a uniform a few days into your training. Prior to this, you should wear a blue button-down short or long-sleeved shirt and black pants. Students are discouraged from wearing tank tops, halter tops, or flip-flops.

You will need to bring your own toiletries and civilian clothes to wear outside of classes or training activities. You may also like to bring shower shoes for your own comfort.

For your studies, you will need a laptop and some note-taking materials.

What Is The Federal Law Enforcement Training Accreditation Board? (FLETA)

FLETA is the board responsible for the accreditation of all federal law enforcement training, including the TSA Academy.

FLETA will ensure that the Academy complies with procedures and academic standards across the breadth of the training.

Your TSA Academy instructor will be required to submit an annual report in order to prepare for re-accreditation, which is mandatory every five years.

This re-accreditation process means that the Transportation Security Administration is constantly being monitored in order to ensure that the highest possible standards are maintained consistently.

Employees will be dealing with sensitive information and often delicate or high-risk situations, and therefore, the need for rigorous and proper training is vital.

Working in Transportation Security can be a high-pressure job that can pose substantial danger or risk. Added to that, dealing with the public, particularly disgruntled or unhappy travelers, can present its own stress and challenges.

Therefore, the training must prepare officers with the skills necessary to be able to keep both their team and travelers safe. Officers must also be able to maintain a professional demeanor at all times and be able to deal with confrontations from passengers with calm authority and without taking things too personally.

TSA Graduation

After completion of the required eight classes by the trainee, during which they will have attended classroom education, on-the-job training and been thoroughly vetted for duty, there will be a small graduation ceremony for graduates and their immediate family.

The rigor and intensity of the training, along with the high pass score required for success, means that you should be proud of your achievement if your hard work and dedication pay off.

Competition for Transportation Security Officer jobs is high. And as we have previously mentioned, the training is not for the faint-hearted. You will be expected to pass various basic IQ tests along with drug testing and physical fitness in the form of medical examinations.

Added to that, there will be interviews during which your future employer will ask questions designed to assess your suitability for your chosen role. You will also undergo finger printing and comprehensive TSA background checks.

It is important not to get disheartened by the process as it can take anything from 6 months to 2 years for you to be successful. You will need to be prepared for the challenges ahead – this training and job application takes resilience!

For more information about the TSA training process and the Academy, you can visit Job Test Prep.

Written by Karen Stanley

​​Karen is a former teacher of 20 years and ten times published author. She writes content for educational organisations and businesses, nationally and internationally. She coaches new and budding writers through to publication and is passionate about creativity; she runs creative writing workshops in schools and fostering agencies.

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