Securing Travel, Protecting People – At the Transportation Security Administration, you will serve in a high-stakes environment to safeguard the American way of life. In cities across the country, you would secure airports, seaports, railroads, highways, and/or public transit systems, thus protecting America's transportation infrastructure and ensuring freedom of movement for people and commerce. For additional information about our agency please: Click Here

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This Training Instructor position is located in the National Explosives Detection Canine Team Programs (NEDCTP) Branch, Threat Assessment Division, Security Operations (SO), Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Department of Homeland Security (DHS). If selected for this position, you will serve as a Training Instructor for the National Explosives Detection Canine Team Programs of TSA. Approximately 80% of your time will be spent in the training of canine handlers and/or canines and the remainder of time will be spent conducting assessments and evaluations of the performance of handlers and canine teams in the detection of explosives. Duties include but are not limited to:

  • Training, distributing, and evaluating TSA explosives detection canines in support of the NEDCTP.
  • Working, often independently, to train canine handlers in the detection of explosives and in the handling of explosives detection trained canines.
  • Working with explosives in the training and support of canine explosives detection teams.
  • Performing inventory of hazardous materials used in explosives detection training.
  • Evaluating canine handler teams for the NEDCTP.
  • Conducting the evaluation of handlers and canines of participating local, state and Federal law enforcement agencies.
  • Establishing procedures and policies and providing guidance for most of the training assignments, allowing some discretion in selecting the most appropriate approach. Presenting material in accordance with approved lesson plans and course control documents.
  • Identifying processes for training and evaluating explosives detection canines from initial through advanced levels of explosives detection training.
  • Reviewing all canine training problem solving procedures.
  • Leading in development of technical training presentation and evaluating methodologies and materials including instructor guides, student handouts, audio/visual aids, and other training criteria.
  • Reviewing training practices and developing "best practices" for incorporation into curriculum.
  • Assessing onsite conditions to create realistic training scenarios.

Travel Required

25% or less – A minimum of one (1) week of travel in a full-time duty status will be required within 90-days of entry on duty to complete TSA's in residence New Hire Training. This training will occur away from the employee's duty station of record. Employees will be paid for compensable hours and reimbursed for authorized travel expenses per TSA Travel Policy. You must be able to travel outside the assigned work location between 7 and 10 nights per month.

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


Conditions of Employment

  • Must possess U.S. Citizenship or be a U.S. National
  • Must complete a favorable Background Investigation (BI)
  • Must be able to obtain and maintain a Secret Clearance
  • Selective Service registration is required
  • See additional "Conditions of Employment" and "Other Information" sections
  • Must meet Training Requirements

You must meet the qualification requirements for this position no later than the closing date of the vacancy announcement.

Canine Training Instructors (CTIs) are required to undergo training at Joint Base San Antonio – Lackland, Canine Training Center (CTC), in San Antonio, TX. They must report to the CTC and first undergo a 2-day assessment. This 2-day assessment will determine which additional training course is required (i.e., 6 weeks or 16 weeks). In addition, CTIs that require the 16-week training must also complete an addition 2 weeks of on-the-job training once they return to their home airports. All CTIs must also complete or show prior completion of the TSA Instructor Development Course (IDC), which is a 1-week course. Virtual options for the IDC may be available, but could necessitate additional travel to the CTC.


  • Must be able to travel outside assigned work location between 7 and 10 nights per month.
  • You will be required to work with various hazardous chemicals including explosives.
  • Physical Demands: You must be physically able to work outdoors, often under adverse weather conditions. May have to lift canines (up to 80 lbs.) or supplies. Work requires walking, bending, and standing.
  • Work Environment: The work environment involves high risks with regular and recurring exposure to weather extremes and to potentially dangerous situations with aggressive dogs. For example, works closely with potentially dangerous animals, where safety precautions cannot eliminate the danger. Incumbent is subject to scratches, bites, unpleasant odors, and loud barking noises.
  • Hazardous duty pay may apply to this position under limited circumstances and in accordance with policy provisions.


To qualify for the SV-I Pay Band (equivalent to GS-13), you must have one year of specialized experience equivalent to the SV-H Pay Band or GS-12 in the Federal service or equivalent experience in the private sector. Specialized experience is defined as experience that has equipped you with the particular knowledge, skills and abilities to successfully perform the duties of the position. Specialized experience is defined as:

  • Applying knowledge of canine training programs, principles, and practices to ensure course content and delivery are aligned with the training objectives and organizational goals; and
  • instructing and evaluating the performance of canine and handler teams and making recommendations for improvements, to include developing and reviewing written reports related to canine handle teams


Undergraduate and Graduate Education in the major study field of Education or a subject area related to the Training Specialist position to be filled.

NOTE: Credit for experience is given based on a 40-hour workweek. Part-time experience is credited on a part-time ratio, i.e., working 20 hours per week for two months equals one month of experience. No additional credit is given for overtime.

National Service Experience (i.e., volunteer experience): Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

Graduate Education: Education at the graduate level in an accredited college or university in the amounts indicated above meets the requirements for this position. Such education must demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to do the work. One year of full-time graduate education is considered to be the number of credit hours that the school attended has determined to represent 1 year of full-time study. If that information cannot be obtained from the school, 18 semester hours should be considered as satisfying the one year of full-time study requirement.


Additional information

Eligibility to apply for other Federal positions: TSA is an Excepted Service agency exempt from most of Title 5 United States Code, including regulations which apply to displaced Federal employees (CTAP/ICTAP) of other agencies, and employment with TSA does not confer "Competitive Status" that generally results from selection and service in Competitive Service agencies. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has established an Interchange Agreement, which allows most permanent TSA employees to apply and be considered for vacancies in Competitive Service agencies. Information from OPM on this or other Interchange Agreements is available at: http: www.opm.gov .

To ensure the accomplishment of our mission, DHS requires every employee to be reliable and trustworthy. To meet those standards, all selected applicants must undergo and successfully pass a background investigation as a condition of placement into this position.

DHS uses E-Verify, an Internet-based system, to confirm the eligibility of all newly hired employees to work in the United States. Learn more about E-Verify including your rights and responsibilities.

TSA employees who are absent for the purpose of performing military duty may apply for any vacancies announced in their absence.

It is the policy of the Government not to deny employment simply because an individual has been unemployed or has had financial difficulties that have arisen through no fault of the individual. Information about an individual's employment experience will be used only to determine the person's qualifications and to assess his or her relative level of knowledge, skills, and abilities. Although an individual's personal conduct may be relevant in any employment decision, including conduct during periods of unemployment or evidence of dishonesty in handling financial matters, financial difficulty that has arisen through no fault of the individual will generally not itself be the basis of an unfavorable suitability or fitness determination. For more information, click here .

Payment of relocation expenses (Permanent Change of Station) is not authorized.

Qualified non-competitive eligible candidates may be referred for consideration on a separate, unranked list.

More than one position may be filled from this announcement.

If you are entering TSA employment on an appointment without time limitations, you must serve a basic trial period unless you have already met the requirement.

This position is within the Professional category of TSA's Core Compensation Plan.

TSA policy requires verification of Selective Service registration for male applicants born after 12/31/59. For more information click here .

View common definitions of terms found in this announcement.

Veterans and persons with disabilities possess a wealth of unique talents, experiences, and competencies that can be invaluable to the DHS mission. If you are a member of one of these groups, you may not have to compete with the public for federal jobs. To determine your eligibility for non-competitive appointment and to understand the documentation that is required, click on the links above or contact the Servicing Human Resources Office listed at the bottom of this announcement.

How You Will Be Evaluated

You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

You will be evaluated based on a comparison of the position requirements against the quality and extent of the experience and/or related education as reflected in your resume and supporting documentation. You are encouraged to ensure work experiences clearly show possession of the competencies required for this position. We will compare your resume and supporting documentation to your responses on the assessment questionnaire. If, after reviewing your resume and any supporting documentation, a determination is made that you have rated yourself higher than is supported by your application materials, your category placement may be adjusted and/or you may be excluded from consideration for this job.

Candidates will be rated and ranked using Category Grouping procedures. Under Category Grouping, candidates will be rated and ranked into one of three categories:

Best-Qualified: Applicants possessing experience that substantially exceeds the minimum qualifications of the position and demonstrate high proficiency in all of the critical competencies, including all Selective Placement Factors (SPF) and appropriate Desirable (Quality Ranking) Factors as determined by the job analysis.

Well-Qualified: Applicants possessing experience that exceeds the minimum qualifications of the position and demonstrates acceptable proficiency in all of the critical competencies, including all SPFs as determined by the job analysis.

Qualified: Applicants possessing experience that meets the minimum qualifications of the position and demonstrate basic proficiency in most of the critical competencies, including all SPFs as determined by the job analysis.

To preview questions please click here .

Background checks and security clearance

Security clearance

Drug test required

Required Documents

Current TSA employees are not required to submit a SF-50 to support eligibility for consideration.

In addition to a resume and the assessment questions, you must submit copies of any of the following document if you are applying based on education or a combination of education and experience:

Transcripts – If you are qualifying based on education OR if there are mandatory education requirements listed under the Qualifications and Evaluations section, you MUST submit a copy of your college transcript(s) with your application. If selected, an official/sealed college transcript(s) will be required to verify education prior to employment.

If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education .

Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

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