The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) maintains a presence throughout airports and other major transportation areas to ensure public safety. The agency was founded in response to the terrorist actions of 2001 and exists to improve airport security as well as communicate and enforce new policies. To this day, much of its efforts revolve around recruitment, as the agency continues its expansion.

In addition to airports, the TSA manages the security efforts of railroads, ports, mass transit systems, and pipelines. The most well-known duty of the TSA is to screen passengers’ luggage for security threats, and it also oversees the contacts of private screening firms. In more recent years, the TSA has also started offering security in other areas, such as sports events. Given the seriousness of their duties, it’s understandable that potential employees will have to undergo the best background check possible before having access to any restricted areas. The following are the main things the TSA will look for in a background check.

Identity and certification

Like with any good background check, the TSA will check to validate a candidate’s social security number and current address to ensure they’ve provided genuine identification. They will also check Federal Aviation Administration records for any necessary licenses or certifications to work in a TSA-approved capacity. For example, cargo screening requires a specific certification, and certain jobs may require an applicant to have medical licenses, a specialized driving certificate, or other certifications.

Criminal history

Naturally, a candidate’s criminal history is important to the TSA. Each candidate will undergo fingerprint processing and be checked against FBI criminal databases as well as the FBI terrorist watch list.

Additionally, a TSA background check may search for any criminal convictions at the federal, state, and local levels. Permanently disqualifying offenses include, but are not limited to, the following:

·        Espionage
·        Treason
·        Crimes involving transportation security
·        Improper transportation of hazardous materials
·        Unlawful possession, use, or sale of an explosive device
·        Intentionally conveying false information concerning the use of a lethal device

There are also several temporarily disqualifying offenses that will bar candidates from proceeding if they were committed in the past seven years. These include unlawful use, possession, or sale of a firearm as well as extortion, robbery, assault, and more. A comprehensive list of all disqualifying offenses can be found here.

These criminal history checks must be performed for all flight crew, all employees with unescorted access to secure areas, and all employees who perform screening functions.

Driving history

Each candidate will also have their driving record checked for any license suspensions or vehicle violations. This is especially important for those applying to be hazmat drivers, as any violations can lead to a denial of a hazmat endorsement. Hazmat endorsements are needed for any drivers who will be transporting gasoline, toxic gases, explosives, and radioactive materials. Endorsements must be renewed every five years at minimum, but certain states may require more frequent renewals.

Workers compensation history

Considering the importance of security jobs, the TSA wants to ensure they’re hiring employees who can perform their duties safely. Part of ensuring this is checking a candidate’s workers compensation history to see if they have a history of accidents, injuries, or settlements that could prove problematic. Specifics regarding these records are determined by each state, and they are generally only checked after a conditional job offer is made.

Starting in 2015, the TSA announced that it would be performing recurring background checks in order to stay updated on current employees, and they also did away with employee’s ability to skip security checks. All potential and current TSA employees are screened with the utmost care to guarantee admirable performance of their roles.