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Career and Education Opportunities for Transportation Security Officers in Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for transportation security officers. There are currently 5,000 working transportation security officers in Illinois; this should grow by 6% to about 5,300 working transportation security officers in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for transportation security officers are expected to grow by about 14.0%. Transportation security officers generally inspect baggage or cargo and screen passengers to detect and prevent potentially dangerous objects from being transported into secure areas or onto aircraft.

Transportation security officers earn approximately $16 hourly or $33,300 annually on average in Illinois. Nationally they average about $14 hourly or $29,120 per year. Incomes for transportation security officers are not quite as good as in the overall category of Police and Security in Illinois, and not quite as good as the overall Police and Security category nationally. Jobs in this field include: airline security representative, security inspector, and airport security screener.

There are eleven schools within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can study to be a transportation security officer, among 180 schools of higher education total in the Chicago area. Given that the most common education level for transportation security officers is a high school diploma or GED, it will take only a short time to learn to be a transportation security officer if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Transportation Security Officer

In general, transportation security officers inspect baggage or cargo and screen passengers to detect and prevent potentially dangerous objects from being transported into secure areas or onto aircraft.

Transportation security officers close entry areas following security breaches or reopen areas after receiving notification that an airport is secure. They also locate suspicious bags pictured in printouts sent from remote monitoring areas, and set these bags aside for inspection. Equally important, transportation security officers have to view images of checked bags and cargo, using remote screening equipment, and alert baggage screeners or handlers to any possible problems. They are often called upon to confiscate dangerous items and hazardous materials found in opened bags and turn them over to airlines for disposal. They are expected to follow those who breach security until police or other security staff arrive to apprehend them. Finally, transportation security officers challenge suspicious people, requesting their badges and asking what their business is in a particular areas.

Every day, transportation security officers are expected to be able to evaluate problems as they arise. They need to solve different sorts of problems in different ways depending upon circumstances. It is also important that they understand what others are saying to them even in a noisy environment.

It is important for transportation security officers to search carry-on or checked baggage by hand when it is suspected to contain prohibited items such as weapons. They are often called upon to perform pat-down or hand-held wand searches of passengers who have triggered machine alarms, who are unable to pass through metal detectors, or who have been randomly identified for such searches. They also notify supervisors or other appropriate staff when security breaches occur. They are sometimes expected to ask passengers to remove shoes and divest themselves of metal objects before walking through metal detectors. Somewhat less frequently, transportation security officers are also expected to furnish directions and respond to passenger inquiries.

Transportation security officers sometimes are asked to furnish directions and respond to passenger inquiries. and decide whether baggage that triggers alarms should be searched or should be allowed to pass through. And finally, they sometimes have to perform pat-down or hand-held wand searches of passengers who have triggered machine alarms, who are unable to pass through metal detectors, or who have been randomly identified for such searches.

Like many other jobs, transportation security officers must have exceptional integrity and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chicago include:

  • Chief of Police. Supervise and coordinate activities of members of police force.
  • Criminal Investigator. Investigate alleged or suspected criminal violations of Federal, state, or local laws to determine if evidence is sufficient to recommend prosecution.
  • Customs Inspector. Investigate and inspect persons, common carriers, and merchandise, arriving in or departing from the United States or between states to detect violations of immigration and customs laws and regulations.
  • Police Officer. Conduct investigations to prevent crimes or solve criminal cases.
  • Police Records Officer. Collect evidence at crime scenes, classify and identify fingerprints, and photograph evidence for use in criminal and civil cases.
  • Policeman. Patrol assigned areas to enforce laws and ordinances, regulate traffic, and arrest violators.
  • Private Investigator. Detect occurrences of unlawful acts or infractions of rules in private establishment, or seek, examine, and compile information for client.
  • Security Guard. Guard, patrol, or monitor premises to prevent theft, violence, or infractions of rules.
  • Sheriff. Enforce law and order in rural or unincorporated districts or serve legal processes of courts. May patrol courthouse, guard court or grand jury, or escort defendants.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Transportation Security Officer Training

City Colleges of Chicago-Richard J Daley College - Chicago, IL

City Colleges of Chicago-Richard J Daley College, 7500 S Pulaski Rd, Chicago, IL 60652-1299. City Colleges of Chicago-Richard J Daley College is a medium sized college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 9,711 students. City Colleges of Chicago-Richard J Daley College has a less than one year program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated one student in 2008.

College of DuPage - Glen Ellyn, IL

College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn, IL 60137-6599. College of DuPage is a large college located in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 25,668 students. College of DuPage has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated twelve and forty-two students respectively in 2008.

College of Lake County - Grayslake, IL

College of Lake County, 19351 W Washington St., Grayslake, IL 60030-1198. College of Lake County is a large college located in Grayslake, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 16,359 students. College of Lake County has 2 areas of study related to Transportation Security Officer. They are:

  • Criminal Justice/Police Science, one to two year and associate's degree which graduated three and seventeen students respectively in 2008.
  • Securities Services Administration/Management, less than one year which graduated 3 students in 2008.

Prairie State College - Chicago Heights, IL

Prairie State College, 202 South Halsted Street, Chicago Heights, IL 60411-8226. Prairie State College is a medium sized college located in Chicago Heights, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,368 students. Prairie State College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated one and four students respectively in 2008.

Harper College - Palatine, IL

Harper College, 1200 W Algonquin Rd, Palatine, IL 60067-7398. Harper College is a large college located in Palatine, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,250 students. Harper College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated four and twenty-one students respectively in 2008.

Oakton Community College - Des Plaines, IL

Oakton Community College, 1600 E Golf Rd., Des Plaines, IL 60016-1268. Oakton Community College is a large college located in Des Plaines, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,552 students. Oakton Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated five and sixteen students respectively in 2008.

Moraine Valley Community College - Palos Hills, IL

Moraine Valley Community College, 9000 W. College Parkway, Palos Hills, IL 60465-0937. Moraine Valley Community College is a large college located in Palos Hills, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 17,477 students. Moraine Valley Community College has an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated forty-three students in 2008.

Morton College - Cicero, IL

Morton College, 3801 S Central Ave, Cicero, IL 60804-4398. Morton College is a small college located in Cicero, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,959 students. Morton College has an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated twenty-four students in 2008.

South Suburban College - South Holland, IL

South Suburban College, 15800 South State Street, South Holland, IL 60473-1200. South Suburban College is a medium sized college located in South Holland, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,105 students. South Suburban College has a one to two year program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated thirteen students in 2008.

Joliet Junior College - Joliet, IL

Joliet Junior College, 1215 Houbolt Rd, Joliet, IL 60431-8938. Joliet Junior College is a large college located in Joliet, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,088 students. Joliet Junior College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated three and eight students respectively in 2008.

McHenry County College - Crystal Lake, IL

McHenry County College, 8900 US Hwy 14, Crystal Lake, IL 60012-2761. McHenry County College is a medium sized college located in Crystal Lake, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,374 students. McHenry County College has an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated eight students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Airport Certified Employee - Security: AAAE is proud to introduce another comprehensive professional certification program.

For more information, see the American Association of Airport Executives website.

Certified in Homeland Security: Professionals with significant and demonstrable experience in areas that interface with Homeland Security may be eligible for granted Certification in Homeland Security.

For more information, see the American College of Forensic Examiners website.

Certified Medical Investigator: The spectrum of professions involved in forensic investigation has broadened dramatically over the past 20 years.

For more information, see the American College of Forensic Examiners website.

Certified Confidentiality Officer: Professional certification validates your training and experience in your present career.

For more information, see the Business Espionage Controls and Countermeasures Association website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.