What it's really like to work as a TSA officer

TSA students

Justin Gmoser/Business Insider

TSA Academy instructor Jason Pockett.

When Jason Pockett joined the TSA in 2010, he said his intentions weren't wholly altruistic.

"In all honesty, what brought me to the TSA was the health insurance and the pay," Pocket told Business Insider.

"I didn't know what TSA really was other than airport security. But once I got there I realized the importance of the job."Advertisement

Before joining the US Transportation Safety Administration as a transportation security officer, or TSO, Pockett was a youth pastor at a church. He spent two years working as a TSO in California before joining the TSA Academy team at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynco, Georgia, as a training instructor.

"When I came to TSA, saw what they were about, and realized the importance of what they have to do with protecting the nation - making sure airplanes stay in the air - it clicked with me and it became that career," Pockett said. "It made it so I wanted to be here to ensure the safety of all the traveling public."

In July, Business Insider visited FLETC and spoke with academy instructors and recruits to learn more about what it's really like to join the TSA as an officer, and then we followed up with the agency's head recruiter for more details.

Here's what they told us.