Nowadays, security at airports has become crucial due to the regular threats from terrorists. After the attack on the World Trade Center towers in USA, airport security has been tightened all over the world. Protecting airports from any criminal activity like hijacking, bombing threats, etc. and related activities come under airport security.
Since airport security is of prime concern for any country, due importance is given to it. Security personnel from military forces, paramilitary forces, security guards, local police and airport protection personnel guard the airports. Police dogs play an important role in detecting bombs.
Careers in Airport Security
In most of the countries worldwide, there is a uniform airport security system throughout the nation. United States on the otherhand has separate agencies at the national and local levels. The posts of security personnel in different countries are named differently. However the hierarchical structure, more or less remains the same.
For ex: Consider the structure of the Transportation Security Administration of the USA. This agency, formed after the attacks on the twin towers in New York on 11th September, 2001, recruits people for various posts in the sector of airport security. These posts are categorized into 'Airport Security Operations' and 'Airport Security and Management Staff'.
Airport Security Operations Officers
The personnel in this category are directly involved in the security operations at the airport. The Transportation Security Administration or TSA recruitment comprises the following posts to carry out 'Airport Security Operations'.
Scheduling operations officer
The task assigned to the Scheduling Operations Officer is to assist in screening operations at the airport. These personnel also responsible for implementing and enhancing the security and screening activities. Creating and monitoring the schedule for the daily shifts is also one of their responsibilities.
Aviation regulatory inspector
Inspecting and ensuring the smooth running of security operations at the airports, as well as in the aircraft is the main job of an Aviation Regulatory Inspector. He checks whether the ongoing operations comply with the security regulations, policies, etc.
Dangerous goods and cargo security inspector
The incumbent serving this post resolves the problems arising in the transportation of dangerous goods.
Transportation security manager
He acts as a screening manager and manages the checkpoints at airports. His duty is to prevent any dangerous object from entering the air carrier. He also communicates regularly with supervisors so as to find loopholes if any in the screening process.
Supervisory transportation security officer
He supervises and guides the security personnel conducting screening operations. The Supervisory Transportation Security Officer is also required to participate in the briefing of sensitive information pertaining to security of the seniors.
Lead transportation security officer
The prime function of Lead Transportation Security officer is to distribute, delegate and balance the workload among employees. He may be assigned the task of training new recruits. In short, streamlining the security operations at the airport is the responsibility of the Lead Transportation Security Officer.
The concerned personnel holding this post monitors the screening process. He guides the employees carrying out screening operations and communicates with supervisors to discover any weaknesses in the screening operation.
Airport Security Management
The airport security management include the following personnel. Their profiles are described in short.
Federal security director
The work profile of the Federal Security Director is similar to that of a CEO in a corporate firm. The most important task assigned to the Federal Security Director or the FSD is to respond quickly in the time of crisis, by executing the Federal Security Crisis Management Response Plan.
His routine activities include overseeing operations of security system, constantly improving it and supervising the law enforcement activities falling under the directives specified by Transportation Security Administration.
Assistant federal security director - Regulatory inspection
The main job of the Assistant FSD - Regulatory Inspection is to monitor the functioning of the system and ensuring that it runs smoothly
Assistant federal security director - screening
The person holding this post is in charge of the operation called 'screening'. He leads a team constituted by screening managers, security screeners and checkpoint supervisors. The knowledge of technical and legal aspects including aviation security and enforcement of the laws is necessary for this post.
Customer support and quality improvement manager
As the name suggests, the person holding this post has to answer and resolve customer queries. He also acts as a bridge or mediator between the FSD and various market entities for example, vendors, air carriers etc.
The Financial Specialist though, is not involved in security matters directly, plays an important role in managing the budget of the security system. He acts as a mediator between the FSD and TSA.
Implementing administrative tasks is the main responsibility of a Management Analyst. He briefs the Assistant FSD about the daily operations at the airport. Analysis of the operations, planning to implement new tasks, etc. are his responsibilities.
The post of a secretary is present in the security systems of small airports. The secretary assists the administrative officers in the areas of finance, procurement and human resource.
The person holding this post acts as mediator or liaison between the TSA authorities such as FSD and stakeholders. He operates in close association with the FSD and is responsible for proper communicating the TSA policies to stakeholders.
A job in the airport security systems is a lucrative and bright career option; however it requires you to work under pressure in a 24/7 environment. The kind of responsibilities assigned to an airport security personnel makes it an interesting and also a risky job. You need to be physically and mentally strong to enter the field of airport security.