How to Become a US Marshal

Four Methods:Preparing to Become a US MarshalGetting the Required Education and ExperienceApplying to Become a US MarshalTaking the Final Steps to Become a US Marshal

The United States Marshal Service (USMS) is the nation's oldest law enforcement agency. Marshals are central to the federal justice system and are involved in nearly every federal law enforcement initiative. The major duties of a US Marshal include providing judicial security, transporting prisoners, conducting fugitive investigations, and protecting witnesses. Read on for information about the services provided by US Marshals, educational and training requirements and building a career as a US Marshal.

Method 1
Preparing to Become a US Marshal

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    Know the different law enforcement positions of US Marshals. Deputy US Marshals, Detention Enforcement Officers (DEOs) and Aviation Enforcement Officers (AEOs) have distinct roles within the USMS.
    • Deputy US Marshals operate the witness protection program, protect federal judges and courts, apprehend federal fugitives, and perform special operations.
    • DEOs manage prisoners once they have been apprehended by a Deputy US Marshal or other law enforcement officer. They conduct body searches and transport prisoners on the ground.
    • AEOs have similar responsibilities to DEOs, but they transport prisoners on planes.
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    Have a strong desire to protect the United States. One of the most important roles of US Marshals is searching for and apprehending fugitives with intent to harm. US Marshals believe in US law and enter extremely high risk situations to protect the country. The following qualities ensure their safety and success:
    • They have excellent judgement. US Marshals use a combination of careful strategic planning and split-second decision making to fulfill their responsibilities. They are heavily armed, and must be capable of acting rationally under extraordinary pressure.
    • They are courageous. US Marshals work closely with prisoners whose behavior may be unpredictable. They stand between dangerous fugitives and the federal employees and citizens they are committed to protecting.
    • They are in top physical shape. US Marshals are often required to run, crouch, physically restrain fugitives, and work in suboptimal conditions, such as extreme heat or cold. They may work for long stretches at a time without getting breaks.
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    Meet the basic qualifications of becoming a US Marshal. The USMS only accepts candidates who meet the following criteria. If you meet these, or will by the time you apply to become a US Marshal, proceed with the required education and experience:
    • You must be a US Citizen.
    • You must be between the ages of 21 and 37.
    • You must be in excellent physical condition.
    • Have a driver's license and a good driving record.

Method 2
Getting the Required Education and Experience

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    Have the right education, experience, or combination of both. The USMS requires candidates to have a bachelor's degree with superior academic achievement, graduate work in law enforcement or a related field, or three years of applicable work experience.
    • A combination of education and experience equivalent to the GL-07 level, which is the entry level for the USMS, is also acceptable.
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    Consider getting a Bachelor's degree. There is no requirement regarding majors, but courses in law, criminal justice, sociology and psychology will be helpful when you become a US Marshal.
    • If your work as an undergraduate is considered to be Superior Academic Achievement, you may end your education there. Superior Academic Achievement means having at least a 3.0 grade point average in every undergraduate course, having a 3.5 grade point average in courses within your major, ranking in the upper one-third of your class or having membership in a national scholastic honor society recognized by the Association of College Honor Societies.
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    Consider graduate work. If you did not attain Superior Academic Achievement as an undergraduate, or if you would like a more specialized education in the field of law enforcement, enter a graduate program in law enforcement, criminal justice, sociology or a related field.
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    Get relevant experience. If you decide not to pursue a Bachelor's or graduate degree, you must have three years' experience to apply to be a Deputy Marshal. Applicants for a position as DEO or AEO must have at least one year of experience regardless of their education level. Experience requirements are different for prospective Deputy Marshals, DEOs and AEOs.
    • Applicable experience for prospective Deputy Marshals includes experience with firearms, criminal investigation, making arrests, issuing warrants, and writing reports.
    • Applicable experience for prospective DEOs and AEOs includes conducting searches for prisoners, applying and removing restraints from prisoners, and transporting prisoners.

Method 3
Applying to Become a US Marshal

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    Attend an information session. These sessions are regularly scheduled at various US Marshal District Offices. A list of scheduled sessions can be found the US Marshall official website.
    • You will receive an application and other paperwork required to apply for USMS training.
    • Fill out the application and return it to the address you have been given.
    • You will be contacted if you are selected for an interview.
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    Complete the interview process. The interview and assessment process can take nine to twelve months. In addition to being interviewed, you must submit to an extensive background check.
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    Pass the medical exam. During the nine to twelve months of the application process you will be required to undergo a thorough medical examination.
    • Qualifications for acceptance include having 20/20 binocular vision, having uncorrected vision of at least 20/200 in each eye, having near vision of at least 20/40, being able to distinguish basic colors and having hearing of 30 decibels or greater in each ear.
    • Disqualifications include diabetes, disorders where convulsions occur, hernias, orthopedic conditions that affect mobility, stability, flexibility and strength, hypertension and diseases of the heart.
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    Pass the physical fitness test. Prospective US Marshals undergo basic training, so it's important to be physically fit. If you do not pass the test, you will not be accepted into the program.
    • Categories candidates are rated on include body fat percentage, ability to sit and reach, ability to perform sit-ups and push-ups, and ability to complete a 1.5 mile(2.4 kilometer) run.
    • Men and women applicants each have different standards by which they are rated.

Method 4
Taking the Final Steps to Become a US Marshal

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    Graduate from basic training. Candidates must attend basic training within 160 of acceptance into the program. Basic training is a 17 1/2 week training program designed to thoroughly prepare you for a job as a US Marshal.
    • The training facility is located in Glynco, Georgia.
    • In addition to physical fitness training, candidates take courses on the following subjects: legal issues, driving and firearms use training, defense tactics, first aid, evidence and procedure as applied in a courtroom, prisoner search and restraint, court security, computer training, officer survival, building search and entry, search and seizure, high threat trials, protective training and surveillance.
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    Sign the agreement. Once training is completed, new US Marshals sign a contract and are dispatched one of 94 districts in the United States. New US Marshals must remain in service at that district for at least three years.


  • Don't underestimate the necessity of being physically fit before attending basic training. You will be expected to run up to 10 miles in potentially hot, humid weather.

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Categories: Legal Careers