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Air Marshal

Career Overview

Federal Air Marshals provide air security by guarding against attacks targeting U.S. aircraft, passengers, and crews. Some states employ air marshals, but the great majority work for the Transportation Security Administration, an arm of Department of Homeland Security. Air marshals spend an average of five hours a day in the air. They are an armed and protective presence onboard many flights. Some air marshals also work as liaison officers with other agencies such as the National Counterterrorism Center and the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces.

Required Education

Applicants to the Federal Air Marshals Service must be between 37 and 40 years old and must meet a high standard of physical condition and health. Applicants should have a combination of education and experience. Valid experience would include law enforcement or investigative work, or employment in the aviation inspection and security fields.

A bachelors degree or higher may be substituted for some experience requirements. Newly hired air marshals attend two seven week academy programs.


The TSA refuses to disclose the number of air marshals currently employed. It is generally true, however, that competition for federal and state law enforcement positions is much higher than for local law enforcement.

Job Outlook

The number of air marshals should continue to increase as travel becomes more frequent. Retirements may occur at a younger age than usual due to the constant travel and overtime the job requires.

Salary Range

1-4 Years Experience  $52,976
5-9 Years Experience  $74,950
10-19 Years Experience $88,000

Source: PayScale.com

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