Career Guide: U.S. Marshal

U.S. marshals hold a significant place among law enforcement agents, possessing the broadest arrest authority among all federal agents within the criminal justice system. Only 94 professionals in the field carry the U.S. marshal title, as the president of the United States appoints one U.S. marshal for every federal court district in the nation.

U.S. marshals hold a significant place among law enforcement agents, possessing the broadest arrest authority among all federal agents within the criminal justice system.

The U.S. Marshals Service itself employs over 3,500 deputy U.S. marshals and criminal investigators. In total, 94 districts, 218 sub-offices, and four overseas field offices comprise the law enforcement agency.

Learn more about U.S. marshals and what it takes to become one in the following career guide, which details education, experience, and salary information for the law enforcement occupation.

What Does a U.S. Marshal Do?

The U.S. Marshals Service bears the responsibility of protecting federal courts and the judicial process. Founded in 1789, the agency was the first federal law enforcement agency in the nation.

Today, U.S. marshals and their teams provide many services, including apprehending fugitives, transporting federal prisoners, and overseeing the witness protection program. Marshals also take on missions that take them abroad. U.S. marshals possess broad authority and can even receive arrest powers from other countries.

Most candidates hold bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice, law enforcement, criminology, or sociology.

To become a U.S. marshal, a person must first become a deputy U.S. marshal. Most candidates hold bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice, law enforcement, criminology, or sociology. The agency also accepts one year of graduate-level study in a related field. Candidates must meet requirements for age, specialized experience, physical fitness, health, and background. Each applicant must also pass a structured interview and other assessments.

To become one of the nation’s 94 U.S. marshals, a candidate must receive a nomination, take part in a confirmation process involving the Senate Judiciary Committee, undergo a vote by the U.S. Senate, and accept an appointment by the president of the United States.

Learn More About U.S. Marshal Careers

To learn more about a U.S. marshal career, check out the U.S. marshal information page, which details what marshals do and the skills a person needs to work for the Department of Justice.

U.S. Marshal Job Description: What You’ll Do

U.S. Marshal Salary and Job Growth

The U.S. Marshals Service employs 94 U.S. marshals, plus 3,547 deputy marshals and criminal investigators. In total, including over 1,450 administration employees and detention enforcement officers, the agency supports a workforce of nearly 5,100 people.

The Department of Justice agency pays entry-level marshals an approximate salary of $45,371. Geographic location impacts a marshal’s salary, and promotion eligibility activates after one year of service. According to, the average salary for the entire agency exceeds $85,000.

Employee benefits include retirement, paid leave, health coverage, and life insurance. New opportunities with the U.S. Marshals Service largely depend on turnover due to retirement or career transition.

Learn More About U.S. Marshal Salaries

Visit this resource to learn more about U.S. marshal salary information, including what marshals make when they first enter the agency and what they can expect as far as promotions and benefits. Also, find out about U.S. marshal job growth and related jobs within the U.S. Marshals Service.

U.S. Marshal Salary: What You’ll Earn

Take the Next Step

Individuals interested in working for the U.S. Marshals Service or taking part in a new career in law enforcement or criminal justice can check out the following pages, which detail available degrees in both fields and available career paths.

Explore Law Enforcement Degrees

This resource explores what students can expect from a law enforcement degree, like courses in criminalistics, juvenile delinquency, and an introduction to homeland security. The page also covers the careers a law enforcement degree can lead to, such as a probation officer or police sergeant.

Explore Other Careers in Criminal Justice

From this page, prospective students can research other careers in criminal justice and how a person’s college major and degree level attainment can open doors to different opportunities. The resource takes a look at degrees in criminal justice, legal studies, public safety administration, homeland security, and paralegal studies.

Professional Organizations and Resources for U.S. Marshals

Professional organizations provide members with various resources that can help them grow personally and professionally. Member associations offer such benefits as networking, exclusive job boards, continuing education and training, and annual conferences.

They also provide members with a trusted source for industry news and the latest changes or developments affecting the profession or field. For marshals, law enforcement officers, and those who work in criminal justice, a professional organization offers collegial support, professional development, and a national voice.

  • American Jail Association AJA concentrates on issues specific to correctional facility operations. Member benefits include education and certification discounts, training seminars, and webinars. Members can choose from seven types of membership, including levels for professionals, former corrections workers, and students.
  • American Correctional Association Founded in 1870, ACA operates as the oldest U.S. association created solely for practitioners in the correctional profession. The association allows members to network with fellow criminal justice professionals at the winter conference and summer congress, plus opportunities for career development and voting privileges.
  • American Probation and Parole Association APPA serves as the national voice on behalf of its more than 90,000 community corrections professionals working in criminal and juvenile justice. Members also include students, educators, volunteers, and concerned citizens. Student members can receive discounts on training courses, plus full membership entitlements.