Airport Security Screener Job Description
Airport security screeners work at checkpoints to monitor baggage and perform pat-downs on passengers as needed to ensure that all flights are as safe as possible. This involves manually checking baggage, making sure that all passengers walk through the metal detector properly, and passing baggage through an X-ray machine to check for any illegal or dangerous items. As airports are open 24/7, this is typically a shift-based position; there may be a need for night and weekend work, so flexibility is key. Airport security screeners should be professional and have great customer service skills, excellent attention to detail, and the physical fitness to lift heavy items and stand for long periods of time.
Airport Security Screener Duties and Responsibilities
Airport security screeners perform a range of duties that vary depending on the organization they work for. Based on job listings we analyzed, these duties typically include:
Airport security screeners use X-ray equipment to inspect carry-on and checked baggage for items that require further investigation or are potential hazards. They view images using remote screening equipment and alert handlers of any possible issues.
Airport security screeners check each passenger’s tickets and identification to ensure that they’re valid and that the individual is allowed to fly. This involves checking that the date of birth and picture matches the individual and that the ID has not expired.
Perform Pat-Down Checks
If an individual triggers the machine alarms, airport security screeners perform a pat-down check or use a hand-held wand to ensure they don’t have any sharp objects on their person. If they find any potentially dangerous items, they confiscate these from the passenger.
Record Information About Suspicious Baggage
If a personal item or carry-on bag triggers an alarm but no reason can be found after a manual check, airport security screeners record information about the baggage and the passenger for future reference and investigation if necessary.
Monitor Entry and Exit Points
Airport security screeners monitor airport entry and exit points to make sure that only ticket-holding passengers enter the gate area, and that they have valid identification.
Airport Security Screener Skills and Qualifications
Airport security screeners are calm, composed, and have excellent customer service skills, as well as great attention to detail. Typically, employers require a high school diploma and the following abilities:
- Attention to detail – airport security screeners need to be able to spot items or details that could compromise the safety of a flight, so they must be observant
- Flexibility – as situations change, airport security screeners need to be able to adapt, think on their feet, and remain calm, so it’s important that they’re flexible
- Customer service – airport security screeners must remain professional, calm, and polite at all times, even under stressful circumstances
- Physical strength – it’s important that airport security screeners are physically fit and able to lift in excess of 30 pounds, so physical strength is crucial to this role
- Communication skills – airport security screeners speak to people of all different languages and backgrounds on a daily basis, so they must be able to communicate clearly and effectively
Airport Security Screener Education and Training
The minimum requirement to become an airport security screener is a high school diploma or GED. Candidates also need to gain security clearance and pass background checks and drug tests to be considered for this job. Many employers provide on-the-job training for this position, although applicants with experience in a similar role are preferred.
Airport Security Screener Salary and Outlook
The median annual salary for airport security screeners is nearly $36,000, according to PayScale. Airport security screeners in the 10th percentile earn around $24,000 annually, while the highest paid earn close to $47,000 a year. Nearly a third of professionals in this position don’t receive any medical benefits; however, over half receive medical coverage, and just under half receive dental coverage as well. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that this sector will grow 6 percent through 2026.
We’ve collected some of the best resources to help you learn more about a career as an airport security screener:
Airline and Airport AVSEC Network – this LinkedIn group was set up for airline and airport professionals who want to share expertise and establish connections within the industry. Over 4,000 people are part of this network, making it a good starting point for those who are new to the industry
The Transparent Traveler: The Performance and Culture of Airport Security – this book analyzes everything from airport architecture to computer-generated imagery and full-body scanners to examine the cultural ideal of surveillance and the role it plays in security
Aviation and Airport Security : Terrorism and Safety Concerns – considered by many to be the definitive guide to commercial airline and airport security, this book has been updated to include a current analysis of modern-day risks. It covers the history of aviation security and how it compares to current security practices, as well as changes in policies and training regulations
Airport Security Guard Passbook – this guide provides readers with practice exams in the relevant subjects they need to study to gain a job as an airport security screener or guard
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