Flight Security Specialist

Work at airport security checkpoints to find weapons and contraband.

What does a Flight Security Specialist do?

The U.S. Transportation Safety Administration has strict rules about what can and cannot fly on an airplane. Some people break the rules out of ignorance. Others break the rules because they intend to commit crimes. A Flight Security Specialist checks people, luggage, and cargo, flagging and removing anything or anyone who breaks the rules.

As a Flight Security Specialist, you may be stationed at a security checkpoint in an airport, where you instruct people to remove their shoes and any metal items, ask them to walk through a detector, and make them repeat the process if the detector sounds an alarm. You may also pat them down by hand. If you spot someone who’s breaking the rules, you may detain them and notify the police.

At the checkpoint, you may also run a screening device. You tell people to place their baggage on the scanner, and you look for weapons, contraband, or banned items in the bags that pass through. If you see forbidden items, you confiscate them or detain those who are carrying them. Some travelers may become irate at this, and they may yell at you, but others will also shower you with thanks because you’ve protected them through your work.

You may screen large pieces of luggage or containers full of cargo as well. You place these items on a conveyor belt, and run them through an X-ray machine. To inspect them further, you may open packages up, and you notify the police if you find something very dangerous.

As a Flight Security Specialist, you spend much of your day on the alert, looking for people who are behaving abnormally. You’ll learn to put on an angry scowl so you’ll look especially tough and dangerous. But remember to put a smile back on your face after your shift lest you scare your family when you get home.