US Marshal Job Description and Career Opportunities in California

Due to the large size and equally large population of California, the US Marshals Service is organized into four districts: Northern, Eastern, Central, and Southern:

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Northern District of California – The U.S. Marshals Service in the Northern District of California consists of the state’s northern counties, including the major cities of San Francisco, Eureka, Oakland, and San Jose.

The U.S. Marshals Service Northern District, along with the Northern California Regional Intelligence and the FBI, oversees www.northerncaliforniamostwanted.org, a website that profiles fugitives in the Bay Area.

The Northern District has also worked alongside local law enforcement agencies to perform county-wide sex offender sweeps that target individuals who are wanted for various crimes or who are not in compliance with sex offender registration laws.

Eastern District of California – The U.S. Marshals Eastern District of California includes the counties in the state’s northern portion, which includes the major cities of Sacramento and Fresno.

Similar to many other U.S. Marshals Service districts throughout the United States, the Eastern District of California is part of the Pacific Southwest Regional Fugitive Task Force, which made news several times in 2013 for their arrest of at least two federal escapees. In 2012, the task force arrested an America’s most wanted fugitive on second-degree murder charges.

Central District of California – The U.S. Marshals Service Central District of California includes the state’s central counties, which include the major cities of Pasadena, Los Angeles, Santa Ana, Riverside, Lompoc, and Santa Barbara.

The Central District is part of the Central District of California Sex Offender Investigator Branch, the U.S. Marshals Service Special Response Team, and the Pacific Southwest Regional Fugitive Task Force who, along with a number of local law enforcement agencies, participated in Operation Safe House, a task force that targeted active sex offenders on GPS supervision.

Southern District of California – The U.S. Marshals Southern District of California includes the southern counties of Imperial and San Diego, which include the major cities of San Diego and El Centro. A number of major task forces are coordinated by the Southern District, including the San Diego Regional Task Force, a multi-agency task force that targets persons wanted for violent crimes and narcotics offenses in the San Diego area. Since its inception in 1994, this task force has resulted in the arrest of more than 16,000 fugitives.

Qualifications for U.S. Marshal Jobs in California

The job description of a U.S. marshal job includes the following minimum requirements:

  • Must be a United States citizen
  • Must be between the ages of 21 and 36
  • Must possess a valid driver’s license
  • Must successfully pass a background investigation
  • Must successfully pass a medical examination
  • Must successfully meet the requirements of the GL-7 level

Candidates for U.S. marshal jobs can meet the GL-7 requirements through either education or experience, or a combination of the two.

Education requirements include possessing a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, provided they can show proof of academic superior achievement. Superior academic achievement means possessing a 3.0 overall GPA, a 3.5 GPA in courses related to the last two years of their major, and graduating in the upper third of their class.

Candidates who cannot meet the requirements of superior academic achievement may also qualify through education if they have completed at least one full year of graduate-level education in such fields as:

  • Criminal justice
  • Criminology
  • Sociology
  • Criminal justice administration
  • Police science
  • Emergency management
  • Homeland security

Candidates who cannot meet the formal education requirements at the GL-7 level may qualify for U.S. marshal jobs in California if they possess at least one year of specialized experience at the GL-5 federal level, which includes work in criminal investigations and law enforcement.

Finally, candidates may qualify for U.S. marshal jobs if they have an appropriate combination of education and experience.

Pre-Employment and Training Requirements

Hiring with the U.S. Marshals Service is usually done through structured hiring events. Individuals who want to become U.S. marshals should check the U.S. Marshals Service website for career opportunity announcements. The USMS notes that recruitment campaigns cannot be predicted because they are often dependent on a number of factors, including retirements and funding.

Candidates for U.S. marshal jobs in California must be able to successfully complete a number of pre-employment requirements, which include a competitive examination, a physical fitness assessment, and a structured panel interview. The hiring process may take anywhere between 9 and 12 months, depending on the various assessment phases.

Training must be completed within 160 days of applying for a deputy U.S. marshal job. The mandatory training program includes 17 ½ weeks of basic training at the U.S. Marshals Service Training Academy in Glynco, Georgia.

New deputy U.S. marshals may be placed in any one of the agency’s 94 districts throughout the United States, and all new U.S. marshals must remain at their initial duty station for at least 3 years.

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