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How to Become a US Marshal

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A Law Enforcement Job Offers Financial Stability

As a mom, a stable income and good benefits may be some of your most important considerations when it comes to finding the right job. You can find both of these with a job as a deputy marshal. You’ll have to prove yourself in a field dominated by men, but the end result may be worth it.

Job Description

Marshals work for the U.S. Department of Justice. There are 94 districts throughout the United States, and each district is led by a U.S. marshal who is appointed by the president or U.S. Attorney General. Deputy marshals and criminal investigators work under the marshal in charge as part of an organization called the United States Marshals Service.

The U.S. Marshals Service is responsible for a number of different areas, some of which include:

  •  Judicial and Courthouse Security: Stay with defendants in court, protect judges, prosecutors and witnesses, conduct courtroom security, manage courthouse security systems.
  • Fugitive Apprehension: Perform fugitive investigations, work on fugitive task forces, plan and carry out extraditions or deportations of fugitives, serve court papers.
  • Prisoner Security and Transportation: Fingerprint defendants in the federal court system, secure prisoners and defendants, transport prisoners and defendants between jail and the courthouse or between judicial districts, receive prisoners from other agencies, conduct jail inspections.
  • Protection of Witnesses: Protect government witnesses, produce protected witnesses for court proceedings, re-document and relocate protected witnesses.
  • Asset Forfeitures: Seize, manage and dispose of forfeited assets, which are belongings criminals may have acquired through their crimes.
  • Operations Support: Assist during natural disasters, plan and implement emergency operations, protect government officials.

Your specific role will vary, depending on the needs of your location.

Education Requirements

Marshals are required to have a bachelor’s degree as well as three years of qualifying work experience or a combination of education and experience that is deemed appropriate by the hiring officials.

The hiring process can take nine to 12 months. Once hired, you’ll attend a 21½-week training academy, which is located in Georgia. During training, you’ll undergo law, firearms, driver, protective service and computer training as well as courses in defensive tactics, physical conditioning, first aid, courtroom evidence and procedure, prisoner search and restraint, court security, officer survival, building entry and search, search and seizure, high threat trials and surveillance.

Salary for a deputy marshal starts at $40,634. The pay varies a bit, depending on where you’re located, because the salary takes cost of living into consideration. For example, the starting salary for a marshal in the San Francisco area is around $56,595, but in Laredo, Texas, marshals start at $47,704.

In addition to a decent starting salary, a job as a marshal provides a fairly thorough retirement plan, which includes a pension, social security and a thrift savings plan, which is a tax-deferred plan similar to a 401(k).

About the Industry

There are 94 district offices. Within those districts, there are 350 locations throughout the United States as well as Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

You first apply at a certain region and then get assigned to a city within that district. You’re obligated to remain at your initial duty station for at least three years.

Your work environment depends on your role. You might work in a courthouse, the office, out in the field or a combination of the three. You also might work with other government agencies.

Years of Experience

Serving as a marshal offers the opportunity for salary increases as you gain experience. Law enforcement pay is broken down into grades. Marshals start at Grade 7 or GS-7, which has a base pay of $40, 634. After one year of service, you’re eligible for GS-9, which has a base pay of $45,319. After another year, you can increase to GS-11, which starts at $60,210, and after one more year, GS-12, which pays $72,168.

GS-12 is the highest level pay you can achieve as a marshal. There are 10 steps within each pay grade, so you will make more than the base pay for that grade.

Job Growth Trend

The United States Department of Labor doesn’t offer job growth trends for marshals as a specific job category, but employment for law enforcement in general is expected to grow at an average rate.

Public safety is always an important issue, resulting in a continued need for law enforcement. Employment demands will vary, depending on the location and local and state budgets.


Tamara Runzel has been writing parenting, family and relationship articles since 2008. Runzel started in television news, followed by education before deciding to be a stay at home mom. She is now a mom of three and home schools her two oldest children. Runzel holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication from University of the Pacific.

Photo Credits

Joe Raedle/Getty Images News/GettyImages