How to Become a Federal Air Marshal

Perhaps American citizens have become skittish about flying since the 9/11 terrorists attacks that set the United States upside-down. It is a sure bet that the majority of innocent people do not like what they must go through at airport gates. There are another group of people embracing the tight security and would rather be safe than sorry with another 9/11 episode. They do not mind the tight security upon boarding a flight.

The Department of Homeland Security has expanded their reach to develop, improve and focus on law enforcement. One of these departments is that of the United States Air Marshal. A unique training program upon graduation from high school accepts candidates from 18 to 37 years of age.

What is an Air Marshal?
High School or GED

Find Related CareersSOURCE: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

A United States Air Marshal helps instill confidence in people who fly. Air Marshals are passengers on commercial airlines, United States air carriers and at airports. Their duty is to defeat hostile acts aboard airplanes and airports. They have a keen eye to detect unusual and suspecting impending acts of terror. They work to deter and defeat any terror plans and play a large part of homeland security.

An Air Marshal works without backup in the realm of Assistant Federal Security Director. They work independently and highly experienced in the use of guns, weapons and self-defense, with quick movements and relentless accuracy.

It is difficult to point out an Air Marshal as they mingle and are part of the passenger list and appear as any other passenger on that flight. This professional shows expertise in investigations, behaviors of criminals and the way the criminal thinks. This agent must work accurately in close quarters and skilled in the field of aircraft tactics.

An Air Marshal’s prime goal is the safety and protection of passengers on flights. When the United States is in high alert mode, an Air Marshal’s expertise becomes useful among other law enforcement assignments.

Educational Requirements to Become an Air Marshal

If a student has their sights set upon working with homeland security in the arena of Federal Air Marshal, all he or she must achieve is their high school diploma. However, as time passes, employers are requiring more education for nearly all Air Marshall jobs.

Jobs in the Homeland Security realm are becoming very competitive – in particular Air Marshalls. This means that the requirements for Air Marshal will rise. One should obtain a degree in Criminal Justice or related field of study.  Specifically, a student could improve their chances with a Bachelor’s degree or a motivated student could obtain a master’s degree in Criminal Justice. A higher-level education assures the student a brighter future that offers more opportunities and higher wages.

Additionally, if you have your high school diploma, you are able to enter into training with the Federal Air Marshal Program, and continue higher education studies. An Air Marshal must have excellent visual acuity. Instruction includes how to administer emergency assistance to the flight crew and passengers.

Additional Information for Becoming an Air Marshal

  • Federal Air Marshals earn $40,000 upwards to well over $100,000, however responsibilities and salaries vary
  • Gain as much higher education as possible to improve your application and career prospects
  • You may choose to gain experience in the arena of any law enforcement agency for a few years before applying for a position as Air Marshal
  • Submit an application to the Air Marshal training program for additional career development

In conclusion, you can enter into an Air Marshal training program upon graduation from high school. However, chances for acceptance into the program are slim unless you find employment with a law enforcement agency for a year or two, or expand your knowledge through higher education.

Chances of acceptance into the training program increase with completion of courses in Criminal Justice and upon receiving a degree such as, Associates, Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. As an added bonus, this position enables the person to maintain their degree studies while employed as an Air Marshal.

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