How to Become an Air Marshal

If you fly a lot, you may have seen Air Marshals on planes, and you may be wondering how to become an Air Marshal. Air Marshals work as a part of the Transportation Security Administration. Their job is to spot possible dangerous situations on airplanes and deal with them in such a way to protect the passengers, crew and the aircraft. If you would like to know how to become and air marshal, the process is not too complex, although the requirements are demanding.

The Application Process

To become an Air Marshal, you must be a citizen of the United States and under forty years of age. Previous experience in law enforcement is preferred, as well as at least three years of work experience. The applicant must also possess at minimum a BA degree. If you meet the requirements, request the application packet from the TSA, fill out the application and send it in. All applicants will subject to a full criminal background check. Those who have a questionable past should not even bother applying, since there is no chance at all that you will be accepted.

If you are told to come in, you will have to pass physical and psychological examination. Aside from not having any problems, such as poor eyesight or mental difficulties, an air marshal has to be in excellent condition. The air marshal’s position can be a very physical one in which the marshal is sometimes required to subdue a suspect.


The training process for air marshals takes two weeks. If accepted for training, the Air Marshal trainees will have to pass classes in a number of areas. There will of course be law enforcement training, and studies in psychology and behavior are also required. In addition, the Air Marshal trainee must become a skilled marksman and learn hand to hand combat. Finally, the trainees must pass skill tests and other exams to become an Air Marshal.


Once trainees have passed all the training and exams and have been accepted as Air Marshals, they will be given their first assignment. There are more than twenty Air Marshal field offices across the country, which means you may have to move a good distance away from your home. You will also have to accept that, as a part of your work, you will spend a great deal of time flying from one location to another. According to the TSA, the average air marshal flies 15 times a month and spends 900 hours in the air each year.


Yearly salaries for air marshals are divided into three levels, or bands. The G band earns between $39,358 to $60,982. H band earns $48,007 to $74,390. The highest earners are the I band, who earn $58,495 to $90,717.

Finding out how to become an air marshal can lead you to a rewarding career. Air marshals are well paid and have excellent federal employee benefits. They also have the satisfaction of knowing that they are helping to protect the people who are traveling across the country or around the world.

Now that you have this information about how to become an Air Marshal, you are well on your way to launching your career.

Featured Degree Programs