Air Marshal Career, Salary and Training Info

Federal Air Marshals are armed Federal law enforcement officers who are deployed on passenger flights internationally to protect passengers and crew against criminal and terrorist acts. They are under the direction of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and may also work with the FBI Counterterrorism Task-Force and other Federal anti-terrorism initiatives.

The Federal Aviation Administration began a Sky Marshal program in 1968. Eventually, the program became the Federal Air Marshal Service as the increase in commercial passenger flights dictated a greater need for in-flight security personnel. Air Marshal careers are much different from typical law enforcement jobs, as are the Air Marshal requirements, educational standards, and salary & benefit packages.

Air Marshal Requirements

Candidates must complete an application process that includes a preliminary screening and suitability assessment, mental health and psychological suitability screening, a panel interview, drug test, background investigation, medical and fitness evaluation.

Applicants must be under 37 years of age though there are exceptions made for veterans or those with significant past experience in a related field. You must be a U.S. citizen and resident of the U.S.

Air Marshal Education and Training

The Air Marshal training is a two-phase fifteen-week program. Phase One is the FLETC basic Police Training Program. In Phase Two, students are instructed in international law, arrest procedures, communications, aircraft safety procedures, defensive measures, aviation first-aid and advanced firearm tactics.

Air marshal’s must achieve and maintain the highest pistol qualification score among all enforcement agencies.

Following successful completion of training, new air marshals may be assigned to any of 21 field offices located in the U.S. where intensive training continues.

Air Marshal Salary

The salary for Air Marshals begins at approximately $40,000 per year. The salaries were raised after 9/11 when the TSA increased the number of Air Marshals to cover more domestic commercial flights. Air Marshals are entitled to the Federal employee benefit program.

TSA, unlike other government agencies, does not use the GS system as a pay scale but uses a band system instead. Proposals have been made that would convert all TSA positions to the GS salary system but the cost of the changeover may be too high.

Air Marshal Career Opportunities

Air Marshals have an expanding role in homeland security as the primary law enforcement arm within the Transportation Security Administration.

As a Federal Air Marshal you must operate without backup and blend in with passengers. This is a unique position in law enforcement. Air Marshals may pose as airline passengers on flights for hours each day and up to 50 hours per week and yet must be capable of taking immediate action to protect the flight and passengers at a moment’s notice.

Federal Air Marshals usually travel in pairs. The majority of work hours are spent in flight without incident but Air Marshals rely on investigative techniques, terrorist behavior recognition, close quarters self defense skills and handgun accuracy to ensure the safety of airline passengers and the public.

Promotional opportunities are available that include transfers into intelligence, administrative mission support and technology.

Take a look at other great Criminal Justice Careers.

Article written by Radek Gadek

Radek holds a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice from Boston University. He is currently doing consulting work and runs this blog to provide relevant information on criminal justice degrees, colleges and related careers.

118 comments… add one
  • Cathryn Anderson

    With the increase of possible hostile climate in the airline industry, is there a chance the age of 37yrs. for a air marshals be lifted for those that may be qualified at an older mature age?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Chances are very slim that such an age lift would occur, unless U.S. was in dire need of staffing most of the flights with air marshals.

      • Dave

        To answer your question about there being a lift for age for Air marshals, it will not happen. The reason being is because a federal agent in any department of justice job: I.E. DEA, ATF, FBI and the Marshals you have a mandatory retirement at the age of 57. So 37 is the age at which you can complete 20 years for your retirement. There is a lot of talk about making the feds retire at 65 and if so maybe they will up the age but most likely it will remain at 37.

    • London Rotundo

      The Air Marshal Program did lift the age requirements after 9/11 as well as lowered there requirements to join. Fearing that there would be more airborne attacks, the government wanted as many air marshals in the sky. I personally know air marshals that did just that.

  • Matthew Rumptz

    I’m interested in becoming a Federal Sky Marshall. How do i apply, or who should i contact if I’m interested? I’m prior service (Army) and would meet all physical/mental requirements.

  • Eric Myre

    How much does the training of a previously untrained individual cost?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      I’m not sure about that one. You’ll probably have to speak with TSA about their training costs for Air Marshals.

  • Tim

    Are there restrictions on the number of flight hours worked per month? I know flight attendants and plots are limited in their flight hours due to increased exposure to radiation. Would this also apply to Air Marshals?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Good question. I’ve heard that air marshals fly 800 to 1,000 hours per year. I don’t know what the exact cap is, but I’m sure there is one with health risks associated with radiation exposure and constant air pressure changes.

    • Dave

      Air Marshal’s fly 186 days a year. I got that off TSA.

  • B-FORD

    I was trying to get some information on the Air Marshals, I’m currently in the US ARMY as an ARMY SCOUT I’m in a combat MOS I’m about to complete my last Deployment, at the end of my contract coming up soon i will end at my 7 year mark, my rank is SGT(E-5) I was wondering seeing how I’ve been in combat for years and have experience in various skills (RECON, DETAINEES,TACTICAL ROOM CLEARING, MULTIPLE WEAPONS QUALIFIED,HAND TO HAND COMBAT, ETC.), will that be enough to qualify me for the job As AIR MARSHAL, i do not have my degree as of now but i do have 31 credits. If you could, would you let me know if my experience and current college credit be sufficient to apply and possibly be accepted for the training and job.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      You certainly seem to have the experience and tactical training that can help you get your foot in the door. The Air Marshal Career falls under the purview of the TSA and that’s where I would start looking for the most recent requirements and job openings.

  • jared

    hey i am a sophomore right now and i am about to go to the career center for criminal justice and have looked a lot into being an air marshal. how many years do i need of criminal justice so i know what college to be picking and do you have any suggestions of what i can do now to get ready to be an air marshal.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      My recommendation is to always have a minimum of a Bachelor degree. However, there are many positions within the Federal Government that don’t require a 4-year degree. So, for example, you might be able to get by with an Associate’s degree and some work experience. Checkout TSA’s website for current requirements.

  • Sean

    Hello, I am interested in becoming a FAM, I have already gone through FLETC and worked as a federal police officer for 3yrs still holding a security clearance atm. TS/SCI. Also have a strong security background and prior military. Now I am processing for TSO position through TSA but I would like to see if possible to switch to process as a FAMS-FLD-05-0002 but this position can not be found on does this mean they are not recruiting for it or its an unlisted position. I am very interested and feel this job would be perfect for me. Please help I am seeking answers but can’t seem to find them.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      From what I’m hearing now, this position is unlisted because there’s no recruitment initiatives at the moment. And yes, some positions never get listed as they get filled with “pre-selected” transfers and promotions. I don’t think you’ll find too much about the current status on the Internet. Perhaps speaking with someone at the TSA that deals with FAM recruitment may help. Your qualifications seem very good, but be warned that you must have superior firearms proficiency to make it, along with high-stress coping skills, etc, etc. Good luck, Sean.

  • Lilly

    I have a friend that says he’s an air marshall when he’s on a flight….is it possible to be a part-time Air Marshall? Also do Air Marshall’s pay for flights? It seems that would be included in the service they’re providing…. Thanks

    • Radek M. Gadek

      At this time, I don’t think it is possible to be a part-time Air Marshal. Full-time positions are desired most.

      Air Marshals do not pay for flights out of their pockets. The airlines and the Federal Government fork the bill.

  • Troy A. Epps

    I am a current senior in college, I am in fit condition from prior sports activities in my college. My major is in Family Youth Communities Sciences (FYCS), but I have a strong interest in becoming a FAM. Is there a special degree that is required to become a FAM or is all degrees accepted in this field. what would be the proper way in helping my situation that I’m in.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      There’s really no special degree that the TSA is looking for in relation to the Air Marshal position. The best way to help you out with any FAM related questions would be to address them directly with the TSA. Clearly, FAM career track is not mentioned often as certain level of secrecy surrounding the job duties must exist, but I can imagine a person with nerves of steal and superior firearms use / close combat capabilities is considered a good candidate. That said, some agencies prefer people that don’t have any firearm experience, as they may have a tougher time “teaching an old dog new tricks.”

  • Darrin Griffin

    I am very interested in becoming an air marshal would you happen to know when will they have an opening for the entry level position. I am currently a Federal Firefighter an just looking for a career change

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Air Marshal positions are most often shown on the TSA website or However, I haven’t seen any Air Marshal positions become available in a while, but then I could have just missed it.

  • Ed

    I have been searching through the net for as much information as I can about the Federal Air Marshal (FAM) program, but have found the most on this blog so far, so thanks Mr. Gadek for providing info. I am about to retire from the military after serving 20 years, but puts my age at 38. I currently hold a TS/SCI clearance and an Associate’s Degree and currently pursuing my Bachelor’s. I have been to Iraq and qualified with the M9 and M16, receiving a grade of Expert in shooting both. I have worked 2 years as military police. I have been wanting to get into the FAMs program, but it looks so hard to find the front door. I was looking at staying in the Orlando area in their office. Is there a specific office that I can call because the Help Desk number is not useful? I am about to deploy one last time with the Navy for anti-piracy ops, but really want to transition into the program directly from military retirement. All the help is appreciated.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Thanks for the praise, but it’s the people who leave comments and ask questions who help the most. FAM information is illusive, even for me. I know that it’s a highly demanding program looking for very qualified individuals. Sorry I can’t help more, but to alleviate some frustration, these positions are often decided internally and may not be available to general public all the time.

  • Chad


    I am on step 7 out of 12 in the air marshal process. I have my panel interview scheduled for next week with the possibility of doing my PT training then also. What should I expect or do you have any tips for me on going through this phase? I am assuming this is the most important step and will more than likely make or break it.

    • Radek M. Gadek


      I personally haven’t gone through the Air Marshal process, but I can confirm that the panel interview is one of the most important steps. I don’t know if it’s timed or not – it probably is – but take just enough time to answer each question in a manner that’s succinct enough but delivers a clear message from you. I also don’t know if you will be given the questions / points to address now or right before the panel interview, or if it’s a completely different thing altogether. However, I do know that if it’s timed you have to split your time exactly, so if you have 20 minutes to address three topics, then dedicate about 6.5 minutes per question. Take that to heart in your preparation. Also, be honest with your answers, as any deviation can make you look, exactly that, devious.

      Depending on how the panel interview is structured (which I hope you can tell me more about – based on what you know so far), expect one person or a few people running the panel, asking the questions, or just saying “so, Chad tell us about…”. Expect all their faces looking down and writing things down constantly (very normal, but weird – you might want to pick a fixed point at that time and “talk to it” so it doesn’t knock your rhythm out). If someone addresses you looking at you and they stay in that position, answer looking back at the person and occasionally turning to the other panel members. Expect very little emotion, criticism, or praise form the panel (although that is a factor you can’t always control). Expect questions that may be uncomfortable. Don’t be surprised that they tell you to leave when your time is up, even in the midst of your compelling presentation.

      Can you let us know more about the steps you took prior to this step, about step 7 (ie. is it a timed panel interview with questions / topics to address?), and any steps that you expect after. A lot of people ask me questions about things that I don’t always have the answers to. Your input will be very valuable and much appreciated by all.

      As for PT part, you know if it’s easy or tough by now. I hope you’re ready : )

      Hope to hear back from you soon.

      – Radek

  • Bob

    Hi, I’m 29 years old and i have a gun license and an armed security license. I don’t have a college diploma. I’m very interested in becoming an air marshal. Am I qualified for the job based on the basic info that I’ve given you? And with these licenses I’ve attained, do you know of any jobs or avenues I should take to lead me to a good career in law enforcement, besides becoming a police officer? Thanks in advance.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Your experience may give you an upper hand in law enforcement positions, but your license doesn’t truly matter that much, unless you have training in special weapons. One other aspect of your license that is important is to make sure that there are no weapons infractions for the duration of you holding the licenses. Please read the qualifications above to see if you’re qualified. Some of the comments from other readers may also help. Good luck Bob.

  • Melissa


    I had a friend just go all the way through the process and get a final offer. From what he tells me, the panel interview is a bit nerve wrecking, but go in with a strong sense of confidence and you will be fine. He said some of the questions were asking about your integrity, leadership skills, experience, etc. I am actually on the same step as you and am waiting for my appointment time for the interview. Best of luck to you and who knows, maybe I will see you at school!


    • Radek M. Gadek

      Melissa, thank you for sharing your experience.

  • Chad

    I finished the panel interview and the PT test. You only take the PT test and have the interview with the SAC (special agent in charge) if you pass the panel interview. The one that I attended not very many people made it through the panel interview because the SAC told his people to only recommend people that they could see themselves working with. Obviously I can’t say what the questions were but just have a lot of real life situational stories to relate things to.

    I am awaiting the contingent offer which takes around a month they said. The only things that are left are the drug test and medical test. Does anyone have any insight on what those consist of and how often they have a new class go through the academy?

  • Chad

    I thought I had responded o on here but I guess it didn’t go through. I passed the panel interview then had the physical test and the interview with the SAC. They are tested quarterly on their fitness and are all in great shape. They said i should get a contingent offer within a month and then just have to complete the drug/medical test and the background check. Does anyone know anything about the last two steps before the final offer? You have to pass the panel interview, which they said most people do not, in order to do the other two portions. The fitness guys said that most people do not get to take the fitness test.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Chad, thanks for both comments. They are very insightful. The reason you didn’t see your first one is because the comments have to be moderated by me to avoid spam. I don’t know the exact process, or the next two steps, but I hope you’ll find them to be fairly easy. The drug test and the medical test are truly a no-brainer (vision, blood pressure, possibly a psychological assessment), but the background check can make or break the process – in reality both can. Let us know what happens next. Good luck!

  • Sean

    hello I posted on here, before about being a federal police officer and wanting to get into the air marshals program just a heads up TSA Expo this Saturday Dc hotel for those interested.



    I am currently in the Marine Corps and soon I’m about to finish a five year contact with the military five months left to be exact what steps do i have to take to become a federal air marshal? Currently 25 years of age.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Besides what’s already here, I recommend going to their site. They have a pretty decent section on all different requirements necessary to become a Deputy US Marshal. Good luck, Dwight.

  • brandon

    what does the pt test consist of?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Usually a number of push ups, sit-ups, 1.5 mile run — all within an allotted number of time and repetitions. Most federal law enforcement agencies have similar PT tests. I would check out the website of the agency in question as they provide the most updated requirements.

      • Melissa

        The PT test for the FAM’s:
        As many pull up as possible. You can do over or under handed. Your choice. Then push ups and sit ups in a minute. After that, you do a 1.5 mile run. I aced all and am now waiting on my next con. offer to begin my security clearance. The guys told me they are basically looking for 100% effort. DO NOT WALK during the run. Just go and do your best. Once you get scheduled for the interview, they give you print outs of what to expect for the PT test anyway.

        For those of you looking for a job now, from my understanding, they are already in the second phase of hiring and nothing will be posted any time soon. The first phase is already down at school. I applied back in Feb and didn’t hear anything until May.

        Best of luck to all :)

  • jake

    Hi, my name is jake and i am a sophomore at veterans tribute career and technical academy in las vegas in the four year law enforcement program. I was wondering what kind of martial arts that i would need for this job. I was also wondering what major to declare in college.

  • Reb

    Just received a contingent offer and accepted. The next step appears to be a background/credit check. For those of you who have gone through most (or all) of the hiring process, what, in your opinion, was the most difficult part? Also, what percentage of those given the contingent offer, actually get a final offer?

  • Neil

    Hi, everybody. Keep up the great work, Mr. Gadek. Information on the FAM program has been difficult to find, and this site as provided a lot of useful information. I applied to the FAM program in September, and just received an e-mail from them regarding a contingent offer of employment. I just have two very brief questions that I am hoping that you can shed some light on.

    1) Do you have any idea of how long the process takes from this point (e-mail stating I have a contingent offer of employment) to actually being hired?

    2) I recently graduated from law school and I have never fired a gun in my life. How rigorous is their firearm training? From the looks of things, I will be spending a lot of time in the near future at the gun range!

    Thanks in advance!

    • Radek M. Gadek


      Congrats on your recent graduation from law school.

      To answer your questions, honestly:

      1. I am not quite sure on that. It shouldn’t be that long, but things change depending on the present needs of the organization
      2. If you have never fired a gun I think it’s alright, as many agencies would rather train a novice rather than “an expert” (those who did some shooting in their backyards). Imagine being on the plane with one hundred + passengers and you would have to shoot hijackers in such a confined space without a bloodbath. Your aim will have to be dead-accurate. The Federal Air Marshal firearm training is some of the best in the world, so it is going to be rigorous and you will be spending a lot of time at the gun range.

    • Brandon

      I have been speaking with those in the closest field office, as I am scheduled for my Panel Interview, PT, and SAC interview later this month. As far as firearms training, these guys are the BEST of the federal law enforcement agencies. Their requirements are (obviously) the most strict due to the fact of such close quarters and people per square foot. I’m really feeling fortunate that I have been in martial arts for several years now, as I think that may help during the interview to sell myself. In any event, the SAC has already advised me to make sure I’m practicing with my handgun accuracy. I spent nearly 10 years in the military and am currently a licensed police officer working for a local police department. So far, I can tell you that the firearms accuracy is the ONLY thing they’ve brought up to me in regards to practicing, so those interested who are not sure about your handgun abilities, practice a LOT. Secondly, if you are one of those who is not supremely comfortable with a firearm, or one of those who know you are not a very accurate shooter, then either train, or look into other agencies that do not have the level of qualification that the FAMS do.
      At this point in the hiring process, I’m feeling pretty good about my chances, but I’m also worried that my firearm is going to disintegrate from all the dry-firing; either that or my fingers are going to fall off. ;-)

  • BX

    I’ve been through the entire process and to be honest the reason information isn’t out there very much is because we are told not to talk about it so I’m not going to talk about the interviews and any of that. I will say I applied in Feb 2010 and it’s now November 2010 and I have finished the medical (passed) and the drug test (passed) and I’m just waiting on the final offer. I’m currently a federal employee as an Air Traffic controller and already have a clearance so for me not going to be a problem. I was told within a month from the time I filled out my background info to getting my final offer. Of course you will get a date in the future my guess about a month from that date that you will be required to actually be at the facility.

    It took two years to get in to the air traffic control so for those of you who think this is taking a long time this is actually very average if not quick for the Federal Govt. Best word of advice for you all……..have patience, be confident, doesn’t matter about your past just have the requirements and know they wanna make sure they can picture themselves beside you. Are you going to have their back?? Are you going to jump out in the aisle and stop a bullet for them?? ARE YOU!?!?!?

    Also know that being in any job federal govt-wise you have an advantage over military and any other person because of the point system. I have had no law enforcement background but I have immense aviation background. So go in and focus on your strengths. Also someone asked what the hardest part of this job application process is. I believe it’s the patience of waiting for each step and when it’s time to do an interview or medical to be on top of your game. Good luck future FAMS and feel free to email me personally. If anyone gets a class date or final offer let me know as I will do the same. BX

    • Radek M. Gadek


      Thanks for sharing the invaluable information. I know that future Federal Air Marshals will love this.

  • Tony

    I am very interested in becoming a Federal Air Marshall. I am 39 years old. I do have 4 years military in the U.S.M.C. with honorable discharge and 3 years as a Police Officer. I have also worked as a Sheriff Deputy.
    Would any of my past employment and military time make up for the age requirement?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      From what I’ve been reading, your prior law enforcement experience may help you get in at your age as long as you meet certain provisions. Just to be sure, I would contact FAMS, but don’t procrastinate.

  • Paul Craft

    I am 57 years old and am interested in a position with the Air Marshall Service. I have 19 years of service with a Police Department. Will my age disqualify me?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      I have heard, that in certain cases, the FAM Service will allow prior law enforcement experience to supplement the fact that someone’s over the qualifying age, I think it’s still 37. In my opinion, at 57 it would be very tough.

  • Melissa

    To Tony and Paul,

    I am on the final step of the hiring process. Just wanted to give you a heads up that someone else I interviewed with didn’t get his conditional offer because of his age. He had just turned 37 and was told he was too old. He had just come back from a year in Iraq as an MP and had a ton of experience.
    Best of luck, but I wouldn’t get your hopes up.


    • BX

      You are in the final stages as I am just waiting on my final offer. What field office did you put in for? Are you just waiting on your pre hire background or do you still have to do that and your drug test? Did they give you a time frame? I emailed a lady yesterday she told me about another week before I hear something, as a heads up!!!

      • Melissa


        E-mail me @ …@ aol . com. This way we don’t have to post to the public ; )

      • Jean-Pierre

        Hi BX,

        While not talking about the program as instructed; I respect that very much, I appreciate the insights provided. They helped to flesh out the overall picture.

        I am a former US Marine with a 30% service connected disability, which will not inhibit my performance. I also have a Master degree and am a former Federal employee.

        Since I am 52, the age restriction may be a problem, but I am researching this now.

        Will be very glad to stay in touch with you as I go through the process.

        How are you finding the work so far?

        Best regards,


  • BeeTee

    My guy left for FAMS training at the end of August 2010. My question is this: How long is FAMS training? I have been doing a lot of reading on the internet and have been getting conflicting dates (training lasts for 11 12, 13, 14, & 15 weeks?). Really, how long is FAMS training?? I would be totally grateful for any information that I can get–thanks so much!!

    • Radek M. Gadek

      I am 99% certain it lasts 15 weeks. But you’re right, there is a lot of conflicting info on the Web. Here’s an article from the TSA website about 40 graduates in 2008. It shows the two different training stages to be 7.5 weeks each.

  • pete

    Hey guys going through the process now, how was medical and drug screening

  • bgadsby13

    I am in the middle stages of the FAMS process. I have just passed the FAB exam and I am waiting on my panel interview date. I hear the panel interview is one of the more difficult areas in the process.

  • ok

    Ok how is this process even difficult. I guess all you military peolpe never took Physics or Calculus in college. That my firnds is hard and mind numbing. Having an interview for a job should never be a stressfull situation. LOL

  • Reb

    I had my panel intevriew and did not get invited back. Although I do not think I interviewed all that well, I was told that the sheer number of applicants with Military and Police backgrounds overwhelmed my experience working in corrections for 10 years.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Thanks for sharing, Reb. Sorry about the way things came out.

  • medicman5757

    I am in the Army and will not get out until I am 38. What are the odds that the age limit would be waived for someone like myself?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      From what I’ve been hearing, veteran status can be considered a waiver at some agencies. Depending on the agency of interest to you, some people left comments on the blog to further bolster my gossip hearing ears. I still would ask the hr / recruitment office if I was you.

  • davis

    do they require a polygraph?

    • Brandon

      I hope this does not come off as rude or arrogant, because I am certainly not trying to be so, but always assume you will be polygraphed in ANY law enforcement job you are applying for; ESPECIALLY ones that come with a Top Secret Clearance or put you in close proximity to protecting others. Even local police departments in my area use them now.

  • jerseygirl

    what will happen if you fail a portion of intial pt test

  • ertregrg

    Hello, i am interested in becoming a federal air marshal. it is great pay considering you sit on an airplane most of the day?????

  • Lawson

    Great blog and comments, I have been looking for quite awhile a blog as in-depth as yours. I am 21 and will be graduating in May with a B.S. degree in Criminal Justice/Homeland Security with a minor in aerospace. I will just assume that coming straight out of college with almost no experience in law enforcement or other related fields I would be very lucky to land a job, so my question is about experience. Do they look more favorably on a college degree or military experience. Also would it be better to join the military to get experience over say a state or local job at a law enforcement agency.

    Another question I have is that while I have not graduated yet, would it still be advisable to be applying for openings when they appear

    My final question is I have not found their exact requirements that deal with eyesight. Unfortunately I have terrible eyesight but as long as I have my contacts in I can see perfect.

    Also do you know what the fitness evaluation consists of exactly.
    Thank you for your time, Lawson

    • Radek M. Gadek

      I wouldn’t bet all your cards against going into Federal Law Enforcement upon graduation from college, but there’s something called “Veteran’s Preference” which gives military veterans an edge, but not always. Experience is always good, but not always necessary.

      I’m not too sure on the pre-graduation application question. It’s feasible that if you’re finishing in a few months that you can apply, but not sure if it’s practicable.

      • jrd

        hey! go for it I am about to graduate college and I have no law enforcement or military background and I got a conditional offer. I already completed the medical part of it I also have bad eye sight so I’m going to get lasik surgery (I would advice you the same) and I should be fine i did well on all the other medical exams. I’m currently just waiting for my background investigation to be completed.

        When I first applied and got interviewed I also thought I did not stand a chance because there are so many other qualified individuals with extensive military background that they would even look at me but much to my surprise…….. I got an offer. You never know what they are looking for so I would definitely give it a shot. If it’s meant to be, you’ll get in.

        Good Luck : )

        • Ollie

          JRD!, hey I just saw your post. I’m currently a candidate for FAMS and have my Panel scheduled for July. Regarding the vision, I’ve tried to locate information on MINIMUM UNCORRECTED vision requirements for the FAMS position and I can’t seem to find any concrete info anywhere and the position opening didn’t specify anything regarding vision requirements. My vision is pretty bad and I’ve been wearing contacts for over 10 years..I just want to know, since you’ve been to the medical already…what exactly did they say at the medical regarding vision minimum uncorrected? I’d get LASIK in a HEARTBEAT if I have to, I just don’t want to be automatically disqualified…

          • Peter

            Min standard is 20/100 in best eye and 20/200 in worst eye.

    • Brandon

      The fitness aspect is available in a PDF format if you look for it online. Push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups and 1.5 Mile run…There are a lot of other minimal requirements that a lot of police departments look at too, like being able to sit, kneel, hold arms out holding a firearm for certain lengths of time, physical defensive ability, etc.

      Of course, this is all information I have attained through Google searches, so take it with a grain of salt. Generally speaking, they are items that make sense to me considering the environments involved.

  • J.R.

    What does the conditional offer for the FAMS consist of? and Does anyone know where I can find info on medical disqualifiers? Thanks.

  • Aaron

    I’m 35 years old and have been in the Army for the past 15 years. I’ve grown bored with the deployments and am wanting a change. I see the cutoff age is 37 but possibly 40 if you are a veteran. If I make the switch, would my years of federal service transfer towards retirement in the Air Marshals? Would it be possible to stay in the Army Reserves while serving as an Air Marshal as well? Thanks for the help.

  • Brandon

    I just Graduated from the Police Academy i am 21 with my Associated degree. What is my next step to becoming a Air Marshal?

  • Reb

    go to and search to see if they are hiring for the FAM position

  • Dfgh

    BX are u still on here ? I need you to email me so I can ask you a question about ATC to FAM… Thanks

  • Jsu7833

    Not sure if this site is still used. I am 23 currently working for the Dept. of Defense in Iraq as a firefighter. I have 4 years of full-time firefighting experience prior to coming to Iraq for the year. I am scheduled to return home next month. Currently a JR. doing online classes majoring in Emergency Management with a minor in HLS. I applied in the most recent vacancy (16MAR2011) the dashboard website says “met qualifications” curious to how long it normally takes to get the ” Contingent Offer”? Thanks for any info.

    • jrd

      as soon as they send you an email to advice you that you have met the qualifications you should receive a contingency offer email

  • epk32

    I received a charge of internal possession of alcohol my sophomore year of college. Will this charge prevent me from being considered? IM on the credit/background check right now

  • ArmyKO

    I applied for the job on the 17th of March, haven’t heard anything back yet. Just wondering if their is a time frame or should I just keep on waiting. Also there has been no change on my dashboard.

  • JCJames

    I just recently passed the criminal/credit check and now scheduled for the assessment test next. Ive taken an assessment test before for TSA, would it be any different taking the assessment for FAM than a TSO? What are some weaknesses that they might look for during the panel interview? Im going in with confidence of course but at the same time im a little insecure knowing that im 22 and will be competing with people with far extensive experience while I got 4 years of security management and in the process of an A.S in CJ on the table. I know its a long shot but I couldn’t let such an opportunity pass. I really want to be and always wanted to be federal agent and will give sweat and blood to get it.

    • Cazza

      Have you taken the assessment test? If so, what did you study and how difficult was it?

  • Cazza

    FAM-Assessment Test!
    I’m about to take the Federal Air Marshal FAB exam. The study guide only offers a few example questions. Can anyone let me know how difficult this is? As far as logical reasoning… I’ve been trying to study the LSAT’s logical reasoning sections, but I think those reasoning questions are a lot different that those on the assessment exam. Please let me know.

    • Bryan

      I just took it recently. Not hard at all. My only advise to you is to pay close attention when taking the test.Good luck.

  • Ed

    I took the FAB exam on Monday 5/23 and received email the next day that I passed. Selected the place of employment and now I’m just waiting on the Panel Interview. A little nervous about that.

  • ADK

    The Assessment test, in my opinion is not easy. It makes you second guess yourself over and over. It is nothing like the TSO test. I advise you to read the material they send you and if need so, buy a couple books they suggest. It will help. I also selected my field office and waiting on more information. If you can get your hands on the physical assessment material, read it and make sure you are or as close to excellent on all four parts. They want the best. Be confident in yourself during your panel interview. Some of the most qualified candidates fail because they interviewed poorly.

  • Amanda

    My husband has his panel interview for Air Marshal next week. I am getting nervous as to what his job will entail and how much he’ll be home with his family of 3 very young children. I was wondering where I could find a support group, a blog, a website, anything for the wives that could help me know more about what to expect with this job. I have searched the internet but haven’t found much. Thank you!

  • SPC Brown

    I am currently enlisted in the army as 11B (Infantry) I have a year left on my contract. My question is, can I use my G.I. Bill to pay for the training to be an Air Marshal? Also, is there any other requirements to be an air marshal as far as education experience etc. Thank You

    • noname

      You don’t pay for it. They pay you, but you have to get in.
      1. They must be hiring at that time.( some years are boom, some are bust)
      2. You must meet basic mental, physical and medical qualifications (since you are 11b I think you are good)
      3. You must look like a good applicant in comparison to the others they have at the time (you are 50/50, since you are military go to college and/or become a cop to up your odds)
      4. If all this is good there are some test and interviews… but if you got to this point as long as you don’t mess up on the test or f up the interview you are likely to get in.

  • Scott

    How important is the initial PT test? I have my PT test before my Interview, is this normal?

    • evan

      The PT test is very important just like anything else in a job offer its effort that needs to get exerted for a benefit.

      The benefit is obviously the job. Since everyone had months of prep time prior to taking the PT test there should be no excuse to get less than good in any category.

      Also I have heard that at the end of the day when you are reffered for selections they fill school slots with people that have the best of the best… IE, best interview, best resumes, experience, and yes PT scores.

  • Dan

    Does anyone know how the panel interview differs from the SAC interview? I’ve seen a lot of info and discussion on the panel interview, but nothing about the SAC interview.

  • Jim

    I just completed my Panel, PTA and SAC interview and passed all. What a great experience. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of professional FAM’s that worked out of the FO I tested at.

    • Radek M. Gadek


  • Dane

    What is the average salary of a FAM? Does it increase over time?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      The Federal Air Marshals are in this series and grade: SV-1801 Pay Band-G/H/I — Knowing that, check out:
      Also pay will increase over time… with seniority, promotions, and training and educational milestones.

  • Katie

    What are the benefits for being a sky marshal and are you a sky marshal yourself?

  • Sergio

    I used to work for State Police special unit in Brazil, my unit was responsible for hostage situations, search and arrest drug dealers, bank robbers and all kinds of immediately response. While i was working for the State Police, i had training with SWAT teams, Marines and Rangers. I’m 43 years old now, is it possible to become an Air Marshal with that age with my experience?

  • DeAndre

    I am within 1 year of reaching my 20 years of service with the military. At the time I am eligible to retire, I will be 40 years of age. Due to previous military service, can/would the age limit of 37 be waived? I’m very interested in the career opportunity as an Air Marshall and would be honored to serve in such a capacity. If perhaps certain administrative documents were needed for granting an “exception to policy” waiver, I’d greatly appreciate any detailed information that could be given. Thank you.

  • Rick Martinez

    Can air marshals live anywhere in the United States or would they have to relocate? and i mean after they have received all of their training.

  • David Mendiola

    From reading the requirements the age cut off is at 37, I’m currently 36 and serving in active duty military. I’ll be 37 yrs going on 38 yrs of age at the time I get out. The requirements mentioned an exception for veterans. My question is at the time I get out (ETS) from the military I’ll have 13 years served but looking to continue education going into criminal justice, so is it possible for me to apply for u.s air Marshall and given a chance of going through the training or is it a complete waste of time? And if I did go to college to get a degree in criminal justice my age will then fall in the early 40’s how much will this impact my dreams of even becoming an Air Marshall or any federal law enforcement opportunity; career? Hoping to receive all positive feedback.

  • Jimmy

    I am 38 I have an associates degree and over 7 years as a police officer. I saw the cut off age was 37. Would they take my time as a police officer into consideration.

  • tuks

    hi im in the armed forces ive been around the world with various operations for 12 years any tips how can i apply for this job?

  • Tony

    I see that there is a lot of people here saying that they have passed every step of the hiring process, remember, there are more than 15 positions as a Federal Air Marshal, just because you get hired does not mean you’re going to be a shooter! in other words, there is just a handful of guys boarding planes with guns on protective duty!

  • Toni

    Hi, im currently a sophomore, majoring in Aviation administration and minor in criminal justice. Ive looked into becoming a cop first and then trying to be an air marshal is this the right way to go? Also on the major as well?

  • ashley

    I’m in the U.S Army & was wondering if in order to become a U.S. Marshal, does it matter what job you hold in the military, as in even if your a motor vehicle transport operator. Would that be useless to apply for an Air Marshal job!?

  • mike

    I’m 42 and i’m taking Criminal Justice in college and i have been going over some of the jobs that i can an so far one of the jobs that i look at was Federal air marshal would my age stop me from doing this job because i know that my body is some what good shape and i know that i can keep up and do my that i have to do

  • Todd

    I took the Air Marshals computer test. Most law schools dont give entrance exams as hard as the Air Marshal test. They want book smart people, not common sense people.

  • None

    computer test is not hard. PT (aim for as many push ups as possible, 20+ pull ups, 1015 mile 1.5 or better) panel interview (they try to put you under stress to see how you respond) Sac interview ( be straight forward and be prepared to sell yourself) Medical (don’t have anything wrong medically and drug test clean) criminal background ( don’t lie about anything and don’t have bad credit)

  • Brock

    Are there any kind of requirement relating to education such as a masters or bachelor degree?

  • dalton smith

    If im in the reserves as security forces would it be easier for me to get the job as U.S AIR MARSHALL

  • Ace

    Is it true that many Air Marshals have to retire early due to psychological stress from inaction?

  • jessica

    Hey I wanted to know if you have something in your background will that exclude you from being an air marshal?

  • Sal

    I am a police sergeant with 20+ years experience. I am 47 and in very good shape and hold a BA in Criminal Justice (received in 1991). With the experience and being in shape (5ft 11, 185lbs) would the age requirement be waived? Since I would receive a pension if I retired at my current job, I would not be looking for a second pension, just a second career.

    • BC

      Age would typically only be waived if you were already in the system as a 6C (Fed LEO) and doing a lateral transfer, the age max has been in place for a long time. They don’t want to hire you if you won’t be able to retire from the Feds as there is a maximum age and then you are forced to retire…

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