Becoming a Deputy US Marshal
The US Marshal’s Service is the oldest law enforcement department in the nation. It began in 1789 and has been enforcing the will of federal courts ever since. With over 90 federal court districts across the country, deputies are assigned to work under their supervisors at various regional headquarters. These officers perform a variety of security, investigation, and law enforcement functions. Though often invisible to the general public, they work to keep their regions safe and secure.
Becoming a US Marshal requires a combination of the right opportunities, skills, and an educational background suitable for a criminal justice career. With older officers due to retire in the coming years, vacancies in the department need to be filled by qualified applicants. Understanding the application process and preparing with the right degree program improve the chances of successfully obtaining one of the most desirable jobs in law enforcement.
Basic Aptitudes of US Marshals
There are common traits shared by those who choose to actively pursue Deputy US Marshal degrees and careers. As law enforcement professionals, these men and women must always be physically, emotionally, and mentally prepared to perform at the highest levels. They must also possess a robust foundational skill set that prepares them for changing roles within the department. Regardless of their specialized focus, officers may be required to quickly adapt to meet unexpected needs in their regions.
Not only must the successful candidate be knowledgeable about law enforcement procedures, but qualified applicants should be able to demonstrate their clear analytical reasoning and interpersonal skills. A Deputy US Marshal also needs to be able to exercise sound judgment while under pressure.
Physical abilities are essential. A US Marshal must have excellent vision and coordination in order to become proficient with the use of firearms. Their lives and those of their colleagues may depend on quick reflexes and brute physicality. A healthy lifestyle with plenty of exercise helps to condition potential applicants prior to their placement with the department.
There is a standardized application process that all potential Deputy US Marshals must go through before being hired. Every applicant must meet the following basic criteria:
- Be a US citizen
- Age 21 to 36
- Meet the GL-07 education requirements
- Pass the standardized interview
- Submit to background and medical screening
The GL-07 education requirements can be met with a combination of college course work and job experience. These standards guarantee that all US Marshals have the intellectual capabilities to perform their duties. A work history in a related career may often be considered, but less experienced applicants will need to focus their efforts on their educational achievements.
Applicants can meet the GL-07 requirement with a bachelor’s degree in any subject and one additional year of graduate level studies in an approved major such as sociology, law, or criminal justice. Applicants should also demonstrate academic excellence by maintaining a grade point average of 3.0 or higher and graduate in the top third of their class.
An applicant with at least a year of work history that includes carrying a firearm, making arrests, serving court orders, or carrying out investigations may have also demonstrated enough aptitude to be considered eligible to apply for the job.
Helping Your Application
The US Marshal’s Service is a premier federal law enforcement agency that only hires top quality individuals. While meeting the minimum standards may be enough to submit an application, only the top candidates are chosen. Additional qualifications may help to improve the odds of being hired.
While nearly any bachelor degree can be used to meet the basic standards, degrees in administration of justice, law, and sociology are specifically designed to prepare students for careers in law enforcement. These graduates already have a firm grasp of the most important concepts. Online universities often offer convenient learning opportunities in these types of majors, and applicants may benefit from demonstrating the self-discipline required to complete a distance learning course.
Candidates who speak an additional language may also be given preference. Fortunately, language skills can be incorporated into a degree program at most universities. Students should take the opportunity to develop these skills when they can. Some institutions may even require students to complete units in a second language before graduating.
Firearms training and a history of public service also help to improve the qualifications of an applicant. Volunteering for community watch programs and working with charities shows that the applicant is enthusiastic about the general mission of the US Marshal’s Service.
Applicants should also prepare for the thorough background investigation and physical health screening processes. These investigations can be intrusive, and it may be necessary to disclose private information. Credit problems and interpersonal issues, such as divorce and child custody conflicts, should be resolved as soon as possible to avoid complications and delays.
US Marshal Job Training and Career
Those who successfully pass the interview and hiring process must attend a 17 and ½ week training program at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia. While in training, future deputies must demonstrate that they can perform all assigned tasks satisfactorily. Exams are routinely given that must be passed with scores of at least 70%. Other functional tasks and exercises are performed as part of their training, and each assignment must be successfully completed before trainees are allowed to continue in the program.
In addition to learning the general duties of a US Marshal, cadets develop the basic law enforcement skills such as proper use of firearms and arrest procedures. Candidates may choose to specialize in other areas of interest. Defensive tactics, physical training, and mental endurance capabilities are further enhanced. Most will learn about protective security methods, and some exercises may include supplemental training in surveillance, building entering, and survival techniques.
After finishing their training course, graduates are assigned to a regional office and begin their careers as sworn US Deputy Marshals. Agents often work in courtrooms providing security for judicial personnel. Others are assigned to cases in the federal witness protection program. Officers also escort prisoners between detentions centers, and some agents are involved in tracking fugitives or working on other special assignments.
A career in law enforcement takes commitment and a desire to see justice done. For those with the drive to pursue employment with the US Marshal’s Service, the first step in preparing is to select the right educational foundation.