How To Become a US Air Marshal
Federal Air Marshals are a part of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) under the umbrella of the US Department of Homeland Security, referred to as FAMS (Federal Air Marshal Service). According to the TSA, Air Marshal's detect, deter, and defeat hostile acts against U.S. aircraft, passengers, and crews. To become a US air marshal, you must gain the knowledge and skills necessary to carry out the duties of an armed and highly trained federal law enforcement officer. They are often deployed on flights all over the world in an effort to protect air passengers against terrorist or criminal acts. In addition to federal flight deck officers, there are many supporting roles in technology and administration to be played within the TSA, homeland security, and related agencies.
Federal Air Marshal Education & Degree Requirements
These high level federal law enforcement positions require applicants with both the formal education and the experience necessary to carry out the high demands of the position. You'll need to complete at least a bachelor's degree in criminal justice, law enforcement, homeland security, or criminal investigations along with additional firearm training. Obtaining a masters degree in criminal justice or even a doctoral degree may help you become a more competitive job candidate. We've put together a few of our top picks for those interested in careers such as air marshal that are related to public safety and homeland security.
Federal Air Marshal Career Description
An air marshal is a federal law enforcement agent who assists with potential threats involving our nations civil aircraft. Their job is to detect suspicious activity that could potentially threaten an aircraft and to attempt to deter, undermine, or intervene on any hostile acts involving US airplanes, passengers of aircraft, the crew, or anyone in or around an airport. Air marshals often attempt to blend in with other passengers on airplanes and use techniques to detect potential terrorist threats, hijackings, or any other such adverse actions. Air Marshals often work closely with other agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other counterterrorism offices within the department of homeland security in order to detect and respond to potential threats.
Federal Air Marshal Training
To become a US Air Marshal you must be between the ages of 21 and 36 years old and should have completed a degree in criminal justice or a related field. Those with prior experience in military or law enforcement will have greater chances of obtaining a position. A full psychological evaluation, background check, and physical fitness test is also required.
Once selected, you will begin your formal training in a federal facility until ready to assume your full responsibilities. The training is typically in a Federal Law Enforcement Center in New Mexico. Extensive handgun and marksmanship training is required for the position and the accuracy requirements are quite stringent given the nature of the work. Criminal profiling and detecting potential threats is a major part of the training as well as investigative technique and handling physical threats in small spaces in the air. Because of the nature of the job, you will also be required to understand your role with respect to constitutional law involving domestic and international suspects. Other skills you must gain are emergency medical techniques, handling bystanders in conflict scenarios, and specific law enforcement techniques for your particular assigned role.