Air Marshal Job Requirements in South Dakota

With the presence of Mount Rushmore and other scenic sites, a large number of tourists travel to South Dakota.  This multi-billion industry is the fourth largest private industry in the state.  Over 740,000 people boarded flights in South Dakota in 2012 with 95% of them doing so in Sioux Falls or Rapid City.

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Federal air marshals are strategically deployed on flights throughout the US, and their deployments change depending on the presence of specific threats.  Flights with high concentrations of international travelers are of particular interest to the Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS).

While no direct international flights land in South Dakota, the Joe Floss Field Airport in Sioux Falls gets flights from a number of hubs that receive international flights, including Chicago and Atlanta.  South Dakota is seeing increasing numbers of visitors from other countries such as China that could pose a security risk to the US.

Requirements for Becoming a Federal Air Marshal in South Dakota

Residents of South Dakota who want to become a federal air marshal must be familiar with the requirements to join the FAMS.  First, they must be qualified to become federal law enforcement officials.  These requirements include the following:

  • Having a valid driver’s license
  • Being a US citizen
  • Being between 21 and 36 years of old
    • Older applicants may be accepted if they meet the following conditions:
      • Being a veteran
      • Having served as a federal law enforcement official

The FAMS has its own set of requirements for those who seek jobs as federal air marshals.  Applicants can meet these requirements through having a college degree, experience, or a combination of the two.

Educational Requirement:  A bachelor’s degree in any field

Experience Requirement:  Three years of progressively responsible experience in the workforce.  The agency looks for the following skills in its applicants:

  • Organization
  • Problem-solving
  • Planning
  • Communication


Federal Air Marshal Training

Candidates for federal air marshal positions go through training at two different centers.

Federal Law Enforcement Training Center – This center trains candidates from a number of different law enforcement agencies in the basics of law enforcement.  Federal air marshal candidates spend 7 weeks at this training center.

FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center – Candidates refine their skills through training geared to the specific needs of the FAMS.  They do this by spending 16 weeks in the Federal Air Marshal Service Training Program II.  Skills that help agents succeed as federal air marshals include the following:

  • Behavioral analysis techniques
  • The highest standard of marksmanship in the federal government

Firearms proficiency is such an important skill for federal air marshals that they have to recertify every quarter.

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