TSA to Hire 6,000 Officers Ahead of Predicted Summer Travel Surge

A passenger removes his mask as he has his ID checked by a Transportation Security Administration

Ahead of an expected surge in summer travel, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is hiring 6,000 new security officers around the country.

"TSOs are a critical first line defense in securing our nation's commercial air transportation system," acting Executive Assistant Administrator for TSA's Security Operations, Melanie Harvey said in a statement on Friday. "Each day, our officers screen hundreds of thousands of airline travelers ensuring they arrive at their destinations safely. We expect to screen a higher number of travelers regularly by the summer months and will need additional officers to support our critical mission."

Transportation Security Officer (TSO) positions at about 430 airports around the country are open.

Traveler numbers at TSA checkpoints have been steadily growing since they reached a low in April, processing fewer than 100,000 passengers per day. Over Valentine's Day weekend, the TSA screened more than 4 million passengers over the four-day holiday period, marking a significant growth since the start of the pandemic. While the numbers do not yet match the norms set in previous years, they are promising — especially with the rollout out of the COVID-19 vaccine.

However, Airlines For America, an industry trade group, estimates that passenger travel numbers will not return to 2019 levels until at least 2023 or 2024.

Throughout the pandemic, the TSA has adapted to the needs of passengers including allowing travelers to carry up to 12 ounces of hand sanitizer.

The TSA is participating in virtual job fairs and targeted recruitments for both part-time and full-time openings around the country. Benefits include access to medical coverage, vacation, and sick leave, and retirement plans.

Cailey Rizzo is a contributing writer for Travel Leisure, currently based in Brooklyn. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, or at caileyrizzo.com.

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