Jobs in Airport Security
It holds a certain gravatas doesn’t it? Working in airport security certainly has appeal for those who want to do something of importance and value in their career.
Working in the airport in a security role is an opportunity to provide a valuable service to the community and society as a whole. Protecting people and keeping the airport and the flight safe is an incredibly important job.
What kinds of skills do you need for these positions, what qualifications do you need and what do you do on the job?
We are going to answer all these questions and more.
What kind of airport security roles are there?
Well, there are two main types – airport screening officers and air cargo examination officers. Airport screening officers handle the airport security you go through to head to your gate at the airport and air cargo screening officers screen the cargo at the airport.
What does an airport screening officer do?
An airport screening officer works at the airport screening you and your luggage at the airport. They are responsible for making sure nothing dangerous ends up on the flight with you.
Using the X-ray machine, metal detectors and explosive testing kits they maintain the security and safety of the passengers, employees and flight crew at the airport.
What does an air cargo screening officer do?
An air cargo screening officer uses X-ray machines, explosive detection equipment and metal detectors to screen the cargo that travels on flights. This ensures no contraband or dangerous items make it onto a flight.
How much does an airport screening officer earn?
Airport screening officers earn anywhere from $22 – $29 per hour. Their hourly rate is governed by the security services industry award, you can read more about it here. You can make more as you move up the ranks. Becoming a team leader or supervisor is going to mean a higher earning potential.
How much does a cargo screening officer make?
Cargo Screening officers make between $22 and $29 per hour depending on their experience and the seniority of their role. Just as it is with airport screening officers you can make more if you move up the ranks and take on more senior roles.
What kind of skills do you need?
To be an airport screening officer or a cargo screening officer there are few skills that will really help you excel in your role.
As an airport screening officer you’ll be dealing people who are often in rush to get to their gate or flight. Many people are anxious when they fly so it can be especially challenging to keep them calm and rational while you are performing your duties.
Employing clear communication will be key to keeping passengers cooperative while you do your job.
As a cargo screening officer, it will still be very important have good clear communication as you will working within a team, often in loud areas. It’s important to have good communication in your team.
Attention to detail
Airport screening officers and cargo screening officers will require exceptional attention to detail. They will need to be able to scan and use their keen senses to pick up small things that might go undetected by general populous.
Good Stress Management
The airport screening officers and the cargo screening officers have very high stress jobs. These jobs are important because if they don’t pay attention for just a few seconds and they let something dangerous through, people could die. It’s a lot of pressure.
So, this is the kind of job where you need to have good stress management. You can’t let your guard down on this job. You need to be hyper focused at all times and that can be too much for some people.
Study options for jobs in airport security
Which airport role you’re after will dictate which course or courses you will need to study to get there.
If you’re wanting to be a cargo screening officer then you won’t actually be working as a security guard and won’t need to hold an unarmed security guard licence, so you’ll just need to complete the Certificate II in Transport Security Protection ( Air Cargo Examination Officer).
This course goes for five days in a face-to-face workshop and you’ll need to complete some online study before and after the course.
In the course you’ll learn how to operate metal detectors, Xray machines and screen for explosives. You will also learn how to conduct a physical search of cargo and articles, how to identify and handle weapons, explosives and prohibited items. As well how to maintain a safe and sterile environment and much more.
You can find out more about the Certificate II in Transport Security Protection (Air Cargo Examination Officer) here.
To be an airport screening officer you’ll need to complete two courses.
Security Guard course
Because airport screening officers are also security guards you will first need to complete the Certificate II in Security Operations. This course goes for 8 days in a face to face to workshop with some online study required before and after the workshop.
It costs $1500 but there is some government funding for eligible participants. It’s called Certificate 3 Guarantee Funding and to be able to apply for it you must:
- be aged 15 years or older;
- be no longer at school (with the exception of school students in Year 10, 11 and 12 undertaking a VET in School (VETiS) program;
- permanently reside in QLD;
- be an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident (includes humanitarian entrant), temporary resident with the necessary visa and work permits on the pathway to permanent residency, or a New Zealand citizen; and
- not hold, and not be enrolled in, a Certificate III or higher-level qualification, not including qualifications completed at school and foundation skills training.
If you are successful in gaining this funding it will bring the cost of the course down from $1500 to either $14 or $42 depending on whether you hold a current concession card.
If you don’t qualify for this funding because you have previously finished a qualification but you are currently looking for work, have a chat with your job service provider about other funding options you may be able to access.
Once you have completed your course, you will need to apply for your Security Providers Licence through the Office of Fair Trading.
Aviation Screening Officer course
The next course you will need to do is Certificate II in Transport Security Protection (Cargo, Domestic, International, Maritime) to be qualified for a job in airport security.
To be able to enrol in the course you will need to get your job ready ASIC. This is a type of clearance you will need to get to complete the course and to show that there won’t be any issues with you working at the airport. There is a restricted unit within the course that requires this clearance prior to attending training.
The process of application for this clearance can take up two months, so you’ll need to plan ahead for the course.
Once you have your job ready ASIC you can enrol for your Certificate II in Transport Security Protection. The course is delivered over 5 days in a face-to-face workshop with some online work required before and after the course.
In the course you’ll learn how to operate metal detectors, Xray machines and screen for explosives. You will also learn how to conduct a physical search of luggage and persons, control access to sensitive areas, identify and handle dangerous weapons and explosives and much more.