TSA Airport Assessment: Complete Candidate Guide [2024]
Yedidya Lixenberg

Yedidya, Aviation Industry Expert at JobTestPrep.

Have a question? Contact me at: ask_the_team@jobtestprep.com

If you pass the TSA CBT test, as well as the credit and security check, you will be contacted to schedule an airport assessment. Here's an overview of its different steps:


The Check-In Stage

Congratulations, your Airport Assessment has now officially begun

  • First, you will be asked to provide two forms of identification issued by either the U.S. Federal or State Government, like a driver's license, social security card, passport, etc.
  • Second, you will be asked to hand in all personal belongings like phones and keys, but please do not bring a firearm, as you will not be permitted to store it during the test.
  • Lastly, you will sign a NDA (non-disclosure agreement) to ensure that you do not disclose the specifics of the process.

Now that you are in, it's time for your first challenge of the day.


TSA Color Vision Test

There is an additional aspect to successfully doing your job as a TSA officer: the ability to distinguish colors. To this end, the organization includes the Farnsworth D-15 Color Vision Test in the Airport Assessment, which is three minute-pass/fail affair.

So, how does this test work?

Simply, you will be provided with 15 small cubes, each with varying shades of any given color. According to hue, it is your job to line up all the colors in the right order. If you have too many mistakes in sorting the colors, you fail. While you are granted a second chance to pass, a second failure will result in automatic disqualification from the test.

After a second failure, you will not be allowed to take the Airport Assessment for six whole months.


The Paneled TSA Standardized Interview

So now that you passed the tests, it's not over

It might be comforting to know that this interview is standardized, meaning everyone gets the same questions, well, almost. Every standardized question on this test has two variations, and the second variant is only used if you have trouble with the first standardized interview.

A panel of two to six interviews will ask you six questions based on soft skills. Here are the six skills you should prepare to talk about the following soft skills.

Adaptability, Flexibility & Resilience

  • Adaptability – Flow with your surroundings by adjusting behaviors and picking up new skills as needed.
  • Flexibility – The desire and capacity to adapt to any situation.
  • Resilience - The ability to deal with difficult situations head-on and bounce back after losses or mistakes.

Honesty & Integrity

  • Honesty – one who is fair, truthful, and trustworthy.
  • Integrity – Reliability, and dedication to the job while remaining completely ethical.

Team Work

Working collaboratively and effectively within a team, including skills like communication, conflict resolution, and to give constructive feedback.


The ability of a TSA worker to find quick solutions to problems and then solve them quickly and methodologically is paramount.

This is accomplished with the following skill-sets: Creativity, dependability, team building, and active listening. Also, a good problem solver also ensures that a bad situation de-escalates as quickly as possible.

Leadership & Decisiveness

  • Leadership – Constructively and positively take control of a group or situation to ensure smooth operation.
  • Decisiveness – Quick and effective decision-making.

Interpersonal Skills

Because you will be in a high-stress environment, the way you interact with the people around you is very important.

The interviewers will seek to understand how understanding, courteous, and friendly you are. They want to know how much tact, empathy, and sensitivity you have due to the wide cross-section of people with who you will cross paths on the job.


TSA Standardized Interview Performance Tip

Perhaps the best method for answering the above questions and effectively perform during the airport assessment hiring process is by using the STAR method.

The method allows you to draw from your past experiences and explain their outcomes while highlighting your skills and abilities.

What Does STAR Mean?

  • Situation – Relate the question to a work event where you impacted, and describe the context fully. It could be related to a project you led, a major contribution, or a conflict you managed. Don't forget all the details down the timeframe.
  • Task – Now that you have described the issue, clearly explain your role and responsibilities.
  • Action – At this point, you want to talk about your strategy and implementation. Make it less about the team and more about what you did.
  • Result – Lastly, the short and long-term outcome of the chain of events.


Why Does the TSA Use Panel Interviews?

There are a number of advantages of using a panel interview in a standardized interview. These interviews save TSA time and money during the hiring process by asking interview questions that allow for more detailed documentation, follow-ups from different perspectives, and a more dynamic conversation.

On the other hand, for the side sitting in the hot chair, while a paneled interview may add stress, it is important to view it as an opportunity as you will show different personality traits within the company and make your mark from the very beginning.


Scored Based Interview Questions

So, now that we have taken you through the test itself, it is helpful to understand exactly how the interview questions are graded.

Each of the six competencies requires a minimum score of 3/5. to pass and a score of 18/30 overall. Meanwhile, the Honesty/Integrity is graded separately as a simple pass/fail.

It is important to note that failing to get a minimum of a three on even one segment will result in failure even if the overall score is 18 or above. Those who do fail are only eligible to retake the exam after a 6th month waiting period.


Fingerprinting and Your Digital Photo

This is the very last step of the airport assessment, so you are closing in on the job. The agency will take your digital photo and fingerprint to be stored at the mammoth Transportation Security Clearinghouse (TSC).


Navigating the TSA Test Medical Evaluation Forms

There are a couple of medical forms that you will be required to fill out once the hiring process is successfully completed:

  • SOMQ
  • Candidate Pre-Medical Instruction Form

The TSA uses both these forms to gather relevant information regarding an applicant’s health. The form is mandatory and will be factored into the TSO hiring process deliberations.


The Exit Process

During this last stage, you will have to sit tight and wait, because your job offer will come in accordance with the demand in the field, and only after passing the medical, drug, and background checks.


FAQs for the Airport Assessment

What Are the Necessary Qualifications to Apply?

  • Fluent English
  • Either a high school diploma, GED, HiSET, or TASC
  • If you do not have a high school diploma or equivalent you can apply after one year of experience with security, aviation safety control, or as a radiology technician.
  • Additionally, National Service duty like Peace Corps, AmeriCorps is also acceptable to apply.

How Long Will It Take to Get the Results of My Airport Assessment

Upon successfully completing the airport assessment hiring process, you will get your results very quickly within 30 minutes. However, this does not mean you have a TSA job; it does mean that you will receive a contingent offer. The Transportation Security Administration is considered a "preliminary notice of acceptance."

What Should I Expect for the TSA Credit Check?

After the initial offer, the credit check is to ensure that you do not have $7500 of cumulative unpaid debt, seizure of assets, unexecuted court judgments, and cases of repossession, among other factors. This check should take about three business days.

What Is the Medical and Psychological Examination?

The Airport Assessment will conduct a comprehensive medical evaluation and psychological examination including, hearing and vision, nose, pharynx, larynx, and trachea, Neurological disorders, and diabetes, just to name a few

Is There a Dress Code for the TSA Airport Assessment and Interviews?

Absolutely! You must arrive in business attire.

How Important Is the Drug Screening Test?

Well, considering that you are on the frontlines for airport security, your medical situation must be 100%. Therefore, you will undergo both a urine test and a blood alcohol test. You might also note that all TSA employees undergo a yearly drug test to ensure they are lucid at every moment.


JobTestPrep's Online TSA Test Preparation Course

Our TSA practice tests are made to mirror any possible version of the test- the exact questions you'll face in the new TSA exam, and the older X-ray and English tests that have still been given to candidates throughout the year. 

See What Customers Think of Our PrepPack:


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Learn More About the Other TSA Hiring Process Stages



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