The Transportation Security Administration (or TSA) has the overarching authority over the security of the traveling public in the U.S. The TSA is a subset of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which manages its own personnel security processes. Similar to every other federal agency, DHS specifies security clearances to the position, not the person applying. 

The average Transportation Security Officer does not obtain a security clearance, but will fill out an SF-85P and obtain a position of public trust. For management positions and above, a Secret clearance or higher level of eligibility is typically required, which requires completing the SF-86. Some positions also require a financial disclosure form. As you can imagine, working for the TSA opens up a number of vulnerabilities to money laundering and drug deals – considering financial distress is often a key motivator for blackmail, the TSA wants to make sure you’re not desperate for cash.  

After any required interviews and background checks, your specific job may require other evaluations like drug screenings and other disclosure forms. Ensure you are meeting all specific job opportunity requirements, so your application doesn’t come to a halt in the process.  

Most positions within the TSA, regardless of clearance requirements require you to be a U.S. citizen and registered for the Selective Service. 

The DHS / TSA security clearance process can take about three months to complete – but timelines can vary. You may have the ability to complete the process much sooner than that if you have already obtained a security clearance previously.

If you’d like to make the skies not just friendlier, but safer, consider a position with the TSA – a security clearance may, or may not, be required for the role you apply for. 

If you’d like to one day work at the TSA, here’s everything you need to know before applying. 



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Katie Keller is a marketing fanatic that enjoys anything digital, communications, promotions & events. She has 8+ years in the DoD supporting multiple contractors with recruitment strategy, staffing augmentation, marketing, & communications. Favorite type of beer: IPA. Fave hike: the Grouse Grind, Vancouver, BC. Fave social platform: ClearanceJobs! 🇺🇸