The U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) is the country’s oldest federal law enforcement agency. The USMS serves as the enforcement arm of the federal court system. Each of the 94 federal judicial districts has a presidentially appointed U.S. marshal, backed by deputy marshals and criminal investigators.
From protecting federal judges and transporting federal prisoners to operating the Witness Protection Program and apprehending fugitives, deputy marshals serve a vital role in the nation’s security.
As part of their duties protecting federal judicial officials, deputy U.S. marshals provide security at courthouses and other facilities, detecting and intercepting weapons and other prohibited items. They also are responsible for serving federal felony warrants and apprehending federal fugitives.
Deputy U.S. marshals also escort federal prisoners who are moving between judicial districts, correctional institutions and nations. They may also be involved with tactical operations in response to homeland security incidents and national emergencies. Finally, deputy marshals help implement the Witness Protection Program to ensure the safety of witnesses who testify in cases involving organized crime and other high-profile criminal activities.
Employment of law enforcement agents, including police, detectives and federal agents, should increase by 7% from 2010 to 2020, according to projections by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). There should be greater competition for federal law enforcement jobs, with prospects better for bilingual candidates with military or law enforcement experience and advanced educational qualifications, such as a bachelor’s or master’s degree in public safety.
According to data published by the U.S. Marshals Service, entry-level deputy U.S. marshals are paid a starting salary between $38,511 and $48,708. The region of the country in which they work determines their actual salaries.
In addition to regional variations, other factors may influence an individual’s salary potential and job opportunities, including educational attainment and employment history.
Applicants for employment as a deputy U.S. marshal need a minimum level of education and work experience, along with meeting other qualifications, including:
Applicants must also meet physical fitness requirements and successfully complete a background investigation. In addition, they must undergo a 17½-week basic training program at the U.S. Marshals Service Training Academy. Basic training courses include firearms training, first aid, building entry and search, officer survival, search and seizure, defensive tactics and high-threat trials. The physical fitness test must be passed before applicants attend the academy, and students must arrive at the academy in excellent physical condition in order to successfully complete training.
Deputy U.S. marshals may be placed for duty at any of the 94 districts throughout the United States; they must remain at their initial duty station for a minimum of three years. After one year of service, deputy U.S. marshals are eligible for promotion to a higher pay-grade level.
For law enforcement professionals, a Master’s in Public Safety or a related field can be an excellent stepping stone to career advancement.