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How To Become A Marshal (2023): A Guide

Nikki Dale
Nikki Dale June 16, 2023
How To Become A Marshal

What is a Marshal?

The US Marshal Service is the oldest law enforcement agency in the US - established way back in 1789 by President George Washington as he created the systems that would become our federal laws.

Roles in the US Marshals Service are varied; you can apply to be a Deputy US Marshal or to work in one of the supporting roles in the agency.

A US Marshal has several key responsibilities, all relating to upholding the law at the federal level:

  • Enforce federal laws
  • Support all elements of the federal justice system
  • Oversee the security of federal court facilities
  • Ensure the safety of court personnel like judges
  • Apprehending criminals
  • Providing custody and/or transportation to federal prisoners
  • Executing court orders
  • Seizing assets gained by illegal means
  • Ensuring the safety of endangered government witnesses
  • Collecting and disbursing funds

Essentially, a Deputy US Marshall is a law enforcement officer primarily concerned with all aspects of federal law,

Why do people work as US marshals?

Like all law enforcement positions, the reasons why someone would choose to become a Deputy US Marshal will depend on their own background and beliefs.

As an agency, the US Marshals Service has the following Values:

  • Justice
  • Integrity
  • Service
  • Unity
  • Empowerment
  • Inclusive

Deputy US Marshals can enjoy a job for life with clearly defined daily activities, while other roles in the service take advantage of different skill sets. Jobs with the US Marshal Service can be found in one of the 94 districts, including the headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. Alongside the Deputy US Marshals, the service is staffed by Detention Enforcement Officers, Aviation Enforcement Officers and a range of administrative, professional, and technical staff, as well as Student Volunteer Interns.

Deputy US Marshal pay is defined on a structured scale, according to experience and length of service. Other benefits of the role include:

  • Retirement plan
  • 11 Federal holidays off (paid) or enhanced pay if you have to work
  • Annual leave (which increases per year of service)
  • Sick leave
  • Family and Medical leave
  • Optional health care plans
  • Employee Assistance Programs

Key Roles and Responsibilities of a Deputy US Marshal

The key role of the Deputy US Marshal is to uphold federal law, and this can mean different things in different areas, and even on different days. The US Marshall Service describes seven key areas of responsibility that a Deputy US Marshal will have:

1. Judicial Security

This is about making sure that federal courthouses are secure, and that judges, jurors, and other staff members are safe to go about their duties. This is a protective role, where managing threats is a daily occurrence and Deputy US Marshals protect courthouses, and even the homes of courtroom staff.

2. Custody of Prisoners

As part of their duties, Deputy US Marshals will work with federal prisoners, ensuring that they are kept safely and securely until they are acquitted or sent to the Federal Bureau of Prisons to complete their sentence. They also transport prisoners using a fleet of vehicles including planes.

3. Fugitive Investigations

Deputy US Marshals might be asked to offer assistance to state and local law enforcement as well as other federal agencies in investigations. These are usually in task forces, set up to clear warrants.

4. Witness Security

The US Marshals Service is responsible for the safety of witnesses, and their immediate family. This means that a Deputy US Marshal might be tasked to look after a family whose whole lives may be in danger after providing statements against major criminals like drug dealers and terrorists.

5. Asset Forfeiture

The US Marshals Service can seize the assets of people who are committing crimes for economic gain, and they are legally allowed to manage them and sell them with the money going towards running the department as well as supporting victims.

6. Tactical Operations

The Tactical Operations Department is a response team that comes to play when there are large threats, such as terrorism or a natural disaster. They carry out the orders of the Director to coordinate activities

7. Service of Process

Deputy US Marshals might be called upon to serve an individual or a corporation on behalf of the federal court system.

There are 94 US Marshals, one for each federal district. In early 2023, these were supported by 4,038 Deputy US Marshals and criminal investigators.

In 2022, the total number of fugitives arrested by the US Marshals Service was over 75,000.

Becoming a Deputy US Marshal is an excellent opportunity for many, and there are regular hiring periods for these roles - if you meet the qualifying criteria. As a government entity, job security is strong and the budgetary support for the positions is available - so it is a role to look at in the future.

Essential Skills and Qualifications for a Deputy US Marshal

There are certain prerequisites to apply for a role as a Deputy US Marshal.

You must:

  • Be a US Citizen
  • Be aged between 21 and 36 (have to be appointed before your 37th birthday)
  • Have achieved a bachelor's degree or at least three years of qualifying experience
  • Hold a valid driver's license in good standing
  • Be prepared to complete interviews and assessments
  • Pass background investigations
  • Reach the required fitness levels and medical requirements.

The fitness standards are similar to those in the military and other law enforcement agencies; you will need to demonstrate your competence in running 1.5 miles, doing sit-ups and push-ups and passing the sit and reach test.

In terms of the medical, you will need to reach certain levels of vision, have correct color vision, and unaided hearing. You will need to show that you do not have any preexisting medical conditions that could be dangerous for a US Marshal.

Pathways to Becoming a Deputy US Marshal

If you want to become a Deputy US Marshal, you need to look for available roles via the USAJOBS website.

Hiring for Deputy US Marshals happens at different points throughout the year, and the only place you can apply is through the official website.

There are multiple stages to the application process, and you can expect it to take 9-12 months from initial application to appointment. Each stage of the process is designed to ensure that you reach their very exacting levels, from education to fitness.

You will also need to commit to a thorough training program, which lasts 21.5 weeks and takes place in Glynco, GA.

Those with military service may be eligible to apply for a role in the US Marshal Service; the application process is mostly similar.

What does the career ladder for a Deputy US Marshal look like?

A Deputy US Marshal starts at the GS-7 pay grade. Each year they move up, and after the first year, they are reclassified as Criminal Investigators, which can add extra hours (and extra pay).

Those with extra responsibilities (such as heading up a task force) are known as Senior Deputy Marshals.

What are the average deputy US Marshal's working hours?

Generally, Deputy US Marshals can expect a 40-hour working week, following the usual Monday-Friday working pattern.

However, they may be required to work extra hours over and above this and on weekends, depending on the activities they are taking part in.

What is the average salary for a Deputy US Marshal?

The average salary of a Deputy US Marshal is about $80,000, with a starting salary of $38,500. With experience, this can rise to $107,000 or thereabouts, according to Glassdoor.

What are the best companies to apply for US Marshal positions?

The only way to apply for a role in the US Marshals Service is via the USAJOBS site, but you can expect to complete several different types of assessment as part of the process, including psychometric aptitude assessments.

These tests will include situational judgment and a written test. You will also have to pass the physical fitness exam and a medical too.

Nikki Dale June 16, 2023

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