TSA Academy Training: What to Expect & How to Pass It [2022]
Yedidya Lixenberg

Yedidya, Aviation Industry Assessments Expert at JobTestPrep.

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

Inside The TSA Academy Training Process

In 2016, the Federal Government moved training to the Federal Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia, which lasts for nine days.

However, when including the assignments done through the Online Learning Center (OLC) and fieldwork, training comes out to about 120 hours in total. The training program begins with eight classes each start week, with each of the classes having 24 students assigned to three instructors.

The Online Learning Center includes assignments, such as X-ray operations, operating machinery while scanning for explosives, body searches, and searching baggage. Additionally, training also includes handling and sharing sensitive information making training all that more important.

Like all employees of the United States Government, Transportation Security Officers must undergo a number of tests before being assigned to a post. These tests include written tests, third-party evaluations, and image interpretation tests.

Please note that you may be subjected to drug tests during your training and employment- read more about TSA drug tests here.

Phase 1 and 2 of Federal Law Enforcement Training

Training at the official Law Enforcement Training Center includes two phases. It should be mentioned that due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Phase 1 is currently online.

Phase 1

Phase 1 of the training program focuses on basic technical skills and fundamental knowledge by using audio and visual materials, lecture and discussions, classroom and homework exercises, and tests.

Topics will include:

  • Detecting terrorist threats;
  • Screening policies
  • Risk-based security
  • Workplace environment
  • Effective communication
  • Command presence;
  • Lists of prohibited/permitted items
  • Checking travel documents
  • Dealing with individuals with disabilities and/or medical conditions
  • Divestiture officer;
  • Metal detector;
  • Critical thinking;
  • Handling sensitive information.
  • Keeping Vigilant

To pass Phase one of basic training, a minimum score of 70% on all exams is necessary.

Phase 2

Now that you have passed Phase 2, newly hired transportation Security Officers must move on to Phase 2.

These 80 hours of instruction will focus on official standard operating procedures and threat detection via; physical demonstrations/activities, computer-based X-ray simulators, facilitated discussions, and classroom lectures.

Moreover, the TSA Academy also relies upon "screening checkpoint labs" equipped with all the gear and equipment an officer could ever need on the job.

One should note that each Phase 2 training class can currently only hold 30 students and that one must maintain a 70% mark on all assignments to pass.

The Greatest Airport Threat

In training, you will learn about the greatest threat to an airport and travelers, and that is the IED. Your experience today in class can very well save your life tomorrow.

For instance, after just one hour in a course on improvised explosives, you will understand how quickly bomb threats evolve from day to day and how difficult it is to secure a security checkpoint. Terrorists have even learned how to make bombs from toilet paper!

Also, shockingly, terrorists no longer need to use their evil minds, as the internet is filled with how-to guides. In short, the TSA's job and position in the field are more important than ever.

Training in a Covid-19 Era

Covid-19 has impacted all industries and organizations within the United States Government, which means that it would be pretentious to assume that the virus has spared the TSA academy training program.

These measures have included:

  • Virtual online basic training programs (111 since the start of the pandemic.)
  • Temporary in-person training at various airports for field training to spread out training.

Can You Postpone the Training?

TSA programs are offered on a number basis, which means that for whatever reason an individual plans to postpone their training, they should do in advance and must be willing to undergo a new assessment and meet the eligibility requirements before being reaccepted into the program.

Is TSA Training Paid?

One remarkable thing about the Transportation Security Administration training period in Georgia is that the security officers or recruits get paid. However, it is essential to note that this payment is not immediate and is only settled once they are hired.

During training, new hires are paid certain travel expenses, salary, official per diems expenses, lodging (excluding taxes), and meals. Therefore, the Federal Government will spend about $2400 on your training between the salary, benefits, and other costs during training.

Training Extra Benefits

There is no doubt that the TSO provides competitive benefits, even during the training period. For instance, you will receive annual and sick leave, health benefits, maternity and paternity leaves, and other benefits that go way beyond medical coverage.

Does the TSA Academy Demand a Dress Code?

While the dress code is not mandatory, it is strongly encouraged to wear either a blue button-down short sleeve or long sleeve shirt at the Law Enforcement Training Center. Additionally, the Transportation Security Administration Academy discourages the wearing of tank tops, halter tops, and flip-flops.

What Personal Effects Should You Bring to Training?

When you participate in TSA training, it is essential to bring certain items like Liquid toiletries, civilian clothes, a laptop, note-taking materials, Shoes, socks, and underwear. Oh, and bonus points for those who bring shower shoes, the shower areas have been reported to be very dirty.

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

The FLETA is in charge of accreditation for all federal law enforcement training, including the Transportation Security Administration Academy. This includes ensuring compliance with procedures and academic standards across the training.

In addition, the Federal Government entrusts your academy instructor to submit annual reports in preparation for reaccreditation, mandatory every five. This ensures that Transportation Security Administration keeps to the highest standards possible.

Adding to the urgency for proper training, TSA's employees will have to deal with sensitive information at times.

TSA Dorms and Accommodations at the TSA Academy

The ever-growing number of TSA students raises a challenge on housing, which calls for more dorms.

The new campus's location offers to solve the problem of proximity to dorms and allows for ease of concentration on the training. The majority of the rooms are for single occupancy, depending on the dorm allocated.

A Brief Survey of TSA New Hires Shows Importance of Basic Training

Several years ago, the union representing TSA workers showed what led many TSA officers to walk off the job. One of the key reasons was the dangers of the job and the attitude of unhappy travelers who often verbally and sometimes even physically attack TSA officers.

Considering that each officer is responsible for the safety of both travelers and their team, it is incredibly important for you to rise to the level of professionalism and credibility that will help keep you safe and drown out the noise (or abuses) of travelers. This can be best accomplished via training.

Is There a Ceremony at the End of FLETC?

Like other courses in Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC), the academy graduation comes after the trainee has completed the required eight classes and has attended classroom education, job training, and been vetted for duty.

However, unlike graduation at a university, this is a small ceremony for the immediate family of the graduates in attendance. So while you should be undoubtedly proud of your development and new employment, don't expect a big gala-like event.

What Is the TSA Academy Like?

The students live together in dormitories located on the centers' campus. The activities in the academy include attending classes, and abiding by rules within the academy, like observing quiet hours after 10 p.m.

Worth noting are the things available within the training center, such as food and laundry services. For the first few days, you should have a white button e down and blank pants before being provided with the uniforms. Indeed the Federal Government has put together nice conditions for those in training.

Find More Information

Protecting the U.S. Flag and the lives of its citizens at the airport is a great honor. To learn more about the hiring process and its different stages, we invite you to visit our TSA hiring process guide or read the dedicated pages below:

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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