The Federal Air Marshal Service (FAM), which is under the Transportation Security Administration umbrella, operates 26 field offices throughout the nation. Although individuals who want to attain federal air marshal jobs in Texas must be willing to work at any one of the 26 FAM locations across the country, they can request as assignment out of a particular region. Texas is part of the Southcentral Region, which has field offices in the cities of Dallas and Houston.
Although the job of a federal air marshal is to fly under the radar and conduct law enforcement operations in a covert manner, these federal law enforcement professionals make the headlines once in a while, such as is the case of a Texas air marshal who was assaulted by a man aboard a Continental Airlines flight in 2010. The Alabama man, who was traveling on a flight from Amsterdam to Houston, was taken into federal custody and charged with assaulting a flight attendant and the air marshal.
How to Become an Air Marshal in Texas
Education and Experience Requirements – Individuals who want to become an air marshal in Texas must meet the minimum requirements for employment, which include being between the ages of 21 and 36 and being a United States citizen. These individuals must also be able to qualify, at the minimum, at the FV-G band (equivalent to the GS-5 band). This includes possessing a bachelor’s degree in any field from an accredited college or university or possessing at least three years of progressively responsible job experience. Individuals may also qualify for federal air marshal jobs if they possess a combination of education and experience.
Typical degrees for individuals interesting in attaining a job in federal law enforcement include:
- Public administration
- Public safety
- Homeland security
- Emergency management
- Criminal justice
Pre-Employment Requirements – Because federal air marshals serve as federal law enforcement officials, the pre-employment process is extensive and arduous. Specifically, candidates for federal air marshal jobs in Texas must be able to successfully complete:
- A security clearance, which includes a background investigation and a credit check
- Drug and alcohol screening
- Medical examination
Candidates must complete a multi-phase assessment process, as well, which includes completing an online application that includes a series of occupational assessment questions linked to the competencies associated with serving as a federal air marshal. The results of this competency exam allow the FAM to rank candidates.
Individuals who are chosen to continue the assessment process must then complete a FAM Assessment Battery, which includes writing, logic-based reasoning, and situational judgment components. Only chosen candidates are then invited to complete a panel interview.
Following the panel interview, candidates must also interview with a field office executive and complete a physical training assessment (PTA). The PTA is designed to assess a candidate’s level of strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular endurance.
The Training Process for Becoming an Air Marshal in Texas
The training process is a major component for becoming an air marshal in Texas. The air marshal training programs consists of:
- 7 weeks of basic law enforcement training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia
- 8 weeks of agency-specific training at the Federal Air Marshal training facility in Atlantic City, New Jersey
- A field office-based, standardized training program that is designed to provide new federal air marshals with structured reviews, ongoing monitoring, and dedicated training exercises; includes three, 28-day roster periods
Air Marshals at Work in Commercial Airports in Texas
The TSA and the Federal Air Marshal Service in Texas also recently made the news in 2013 when they rolled out the new TSA Pre-Check program at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. The TSA Pre-Check program, which is designed to expedite security screening benefits for travelers, is now available in 36 airports nationwide. It is yet another layer of TSA’s multi-layer approach, which includes federal air marshals, explosives-detection systems, behavior detection officers, and canine teams.
Major airports in Texas include:
- William P. Hobby Airport
- Waco Regional Airport
- Valley International Airport
- Tyler Pounds Regional Airport
- San Antonio International Airport
- San Angelo Regional Airport
- Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport
- Midland International Airport
- McAllen-Miller International Airport
- Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport
- Laredo International Airport
- Killeen-Fort Hood Regional Airport
- Jack Books Regional Airport
- George Bush Intercontinental Airport
- El Paso International Airport
- East Texas Regional Airport
- Del Rio International Airport
- Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport
- Dallas Love Field
- Corpus Christi International Airport
- Brownsville/South Padre Island International Airport
- Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
- Abilene Regional Airport