The Air Marshal Service is under the jurisdiction of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Armed air marshals travel undercover on passenger airliners to prevent and interfere with any criminal or terrorist actions that may take place during a flight. They also protect our nation’s airports.
Educational Requirements for Becoming an Air Marshal in Connecticut
Earning a bachelor’s degree in a field like criminal justice, homeland security, aviation management, police science, etc. is typically the first step toward a career as an air marshal. The Federal Air Marshal Service stipulates that candidates for air marshal jobs must have:
- A bachelor’s degree (although no specific area of study is specified, the above-mentioned majors are best suited to this line of work)
- Three years of job experience with progressing levels of responsibility (in which the candidate demonstrated critical thinking, leadership and communication skills in a position deemed equivalent to the GL-04 level for federal jobs)
In spite of its small size, Connecticut has 35 accredited four-year colleges/universities, including, one of the most prestigious universities in the country. The public university system has campuses in six different cities, making it convenient for anyone to get a degree. Connecticut residents can also opt to earn a degree from one of several accredited online schools.
The Nutmeg State has over 20 schools that have criminal justice programs from which an average of 799 students graduate each year. Any further education beyond a bachelor’s degree is an advantage.
Other requirements for Becoming an Air Marshal in Connecticut
In addition to the educational requirement, applicants must have the following qualifications:
- U.S. citizen under the age of 37
- Three years relevant experience, such as law enforcement, criminal investigations or aircraft inspections
- Good health
- Physically fit
Individuals whose applications are accepted must be able to successfully pass all of the following:
- Suitability assessment
- Panel interview
- Background investigation
- Drug test
- Medical examination
- Psychological screening
- Physical fitness test
Training Requirements for Air Marshal Jobs
The following two training programs must be successfully completed before being given an assignment as an air marshal:
- 35-days at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Artesia, NM
- 43 days at the Federal Air Marshal’s Training Center in Atlantic City.
The training program at Artesia focuses on basic law enforcement skills and tactics. The program includes classroom studies, a physical fitness course, and firing range practice. A great deal of emphasis is placed on physical fitness aimed at improving strength, flexibility, agility and cardiovascular health. A great deal of attention is also given to firearms training and target shooting. Course work includes subjects such as:
- Control tactics
- Close quarters defense strategies
- Edged weapon awareness
- Holster draws
- Investigative techniques
The training at the Air Marshall Center outside Washington, D.C. focuses on the specialized skills and knowledge needed by air marshals. A great deal of attention is again given to physical fitness and firearms proficiency. Air marshals must have A-1 marksmanship skills in order to be able to hit a target in a crowded airplane without injuring innocent passengers. Other subjects studied include:
- Terrorist/criminal behavioral traits
- Self-defense in an airplane
- Constitutional law/aviation law
- Aircraft specific strategies
- Emergency medical treatments
- Recognizing hidden weapons
After successfully completing the training programs, new highly trained air marshals are assigned to one of the 21 air marshal field offices in the United States.
Major Airports in Connecticut
Connecticut has approximate 21 airports; however, only two of them can handle large major airliners.
Bradley International Airport (BDL) – Located in Windsor Locks, a town halfway between Hartford and Springfield, this state-owned airport is Connecticut’s busiest and New England’s second busiest airport. It had 2,649,155 passenger boardings in 2010 and has a current average of 350 daily aircraft operations. BDL has three runways and is a dual-use airport with the U.S. Air Force and the CT National Guard. Delta, Jet Blue and Southwest are BDL’s main carriers with destinations to cities like Atlanta, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Orlando, Chicago and Dallas. The international terminal provides Air Canada flights to Toronto and Montreal. BDL’s 2,432 acres also hold the New England Air Museum.
Tweed New Haven Regional Airport (HVN) – located three miles southeast of downtown New Haven, it opened in 1931 and was named in honor of John H. Tweed, its first manager. HVN had 35,854 passenger boardings in 2010 and averages 113 daily aircraft operations. It is Connecticut’s main airport for US Airways with Philadelphia as its top destination.
Danbury Municipal Airport is the busiest of Connecticut’s small airports. It averages 228 aircraft operations each day and is home base for 265 small planes.