How to Become an Air Marshal

The air marshal program is part of the Transportation Security Administration. It is the responsibility of an air marshal to recognize and prevent acts that would harm passengers or airplanes in the United States. Air marshals may also work with The National Counter Terrorism Center and the National Targeting Center. Marshals need to be in excellent physical shape, be observant and work well independently.

Understand what an air marshal does. They often work undercover on airplanes and work alone. They need to be confident in their abilities and work well under pressure. The training program is vigorous.

Apply to the program. Contact the Transportation Security Administration for detailed application information. You must be under the age of forty and be a United States citizen. A background check will also be completed.

Undergo a physical exam and psychological screening. To become an air marshal you will need to have normal hearing and color vision. You will need to be free from any medical problems which would interfere with your duties. An air marshal will undergo tests to determine if there are any psychological concerns that would interfere with responsibilities.

Complete the first phase of training. Once accepted into the air marshal program you will begin the first part of training. This phase focuses on law enforcement classes, behavior observation and classes in marksmanship. Students will learn what to watch for to identify a potential problem.

Finish the second phase of training. In this phase an air marshal will perfect the skills they learned previously. Students will work on defense techniques and work through scenarios to ensure they know how to react in a certain situation. Exams and proficiency tests will need to be passed.

Get assigned. After finishing the air marshal training program a new marshal will be assigned to one of twenty-one field offices. Specific work responsibilities will then be given.


Past experience in law enforcement or security is desirable when applying to be an air marshal.


The work of an air marshal can be extremely stressful. An air marshal travels frequently and may receive little advance warning when they are needed to travel.

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