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Federal Air Marshal Pay vs Covered FED LEO Pay


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  • Federal Air Marshal Pay vs Covered FED LEO Pay

    PAY - FAMS vs Covered LEOs on the General pay schedule. Using 2017 pay charts (San Francisco Locality - 38.17)

    FAMS start at pay band G and progress to pay band I. Pay band G (56,591.66 base), pay band H (69,025.58 base) and full performance pay band I (84,104.07 base)

    GL 5 (48,648 - base), GL 7 (55,372 - base), GL 9 (61,752 base), GS 11 (72,303 base), GS 12 (86,663 base) and GS 13 (103,053 base)

    1 - A GS 11 step 6 has a base of 84,351 (a few hundred above full performance level of a FAM).
    2 - On the GS scale there are longevity steps. Example - CBPO at SFR airport will be a GS 12 step 5 (98,220 base) five years after reaching full performance (GS 12). There are no longevity steps in pay bands.

    Premium pay
    FAMS are compensated with LEAP that compensates them with an 25 percent of pay over their base. The far majority of Criminal Investigators are compensated with LEAP and full performance is GS 13 (103,053 base).

    Full performance FAM at pay band I salary (base plus LEAP) would be $105,130.08.
    Full performance for an 1811 CI at GS 13 (base plus LEAP) would be $128,816.25. Five years after reaching Full performance an 1811 will be a GS 13 step 5 (116,792 base) and (base plus LEAP) total salary would be around $145,990.

    Many covered LEOs are compensated with AUO or BPAPRA which are normally compensated with 25 percent of over base. Example - Deportation Officer in SFR (full performance is GS 12) would be at $86,663 as a GS 12 step 1. Then add in AUO (25 percent) and that brings you up to $108,328.75. Deportation Officers also receive FLSA which amounts to around 9 thousand. So 108,328.75 plus 9k equals $117,328.75. Five years after reaching full performance (GS 12 step 5) total salary should be around $130,632.

    Per Diem -
    Because FAMS are constantly in travel status they are compensated with several thousands of dollars annually in per diem pay. I have been told that this runs in 10 to 12 thousand per year. This does help offset some of the lower base pay that FAMS receive but still leaves them far behind their LEO counterparts on the GS scale. Also, per diem is not calculated in retirement pay nor TSP/TSP matching.

    Full performance total pay comparison
    FAM Pay Band I with LEAP - $105,130.08 plus $12,000 (per diem) = $117,130.08
    GS 12 with AUO - $117,328.75
    GS 13 with LEAP - $128,816.25

    After 5 years at full performance level
    FAM - $117,130.08
    GS 12 - $130,632
    GS 13 - $145,990

    After 9 years at full performance
    FAM - $117,130.08
    GS 12 - $138,317.34
    GS 13 - $154,577.50

    I was discussing LEO jobs with my 21 year old son who is senior in college and works part time for TSA. We sat down and ran the numbers for different LEO jobs so I thought there might be others interested in what we found. Also, there is a bit of secrecy on TSA’s Pay banding.

    This is not meant to be a hit piece on the FAMS as it is a good job/career and are compensated well but financially they fall behind the most other Covered Federal Law Enforcement Officers. They are compensated at essentially the GS 11 step 6 level.

    Last edited by Exbpa340; 01-28-2018, 08:17 PM.
    “Right now I'm having amnesia and déjà vu at the same time. I think I've forgotten this before.” - Steven Wright

    US Army MP (95B) 1992-1997
    DOJ Agent/ DHS Officer 1997 to Present

  • #2
    Interesting post. First and foremost your son should want to get into a field that interest him. Assuming that's LE, it could be local, county, state or Fed. Even corrections. The satisfaction or gerneral 'I don't hate my job' should be right up close to number 1 priority. With that being said, FAM, FBI, local, or garbage man. Unless you find yourself in that other country of California, $117,000 is nothing to sneeze at either. Look at the tax situation, that money goes further in Nevada, Washington, and Texas than Illinois and New York.

    Your son may not want to fly all the time, or do investigations, be a street cop, Chase taillights, or serve civil processes. Hopefully he develops his mind and do what he wants to do. Also, you know what we LEOs are facing in the streets, and in the media. Do you want him to join this field right now?


    • Exbpa340
      Exbpa340 commented
      Editing a comment
      He decided sometime back to follow my footsteps and pursue a career as an LEO. He already earned his AS in CJ and has 9 classes to complete his BS in CJ (his choice). I’ve just tried to give him the best information based on my experience and let him choose his path. That being said I hope is goes federal and stays away from local uniform law enforcement.

    • scotty_appleton814
      scotty_appleton814 commented
      Editing a comment
      To each its own, he may need uniform law enforcement experience to get him in the federal door. All the same, I wish him luck and you be safe.

  • #3
    FAmS is a good way to get into the federal door. I left a local PD after 6 years and joined FAmS for 5 before moving into the 1811 life. FAMS real problem is the pay banding and as the poster said once you hit I band (took 3 years, now I hear they are making guys wait longer, which is dumb)you’re done moving up. Unless the president gives a COLA or you get an IPI from you’re supervisor. FAMS in major cities with international trips (if you want them) will make more than the 12k but that is a good average. Add in night diff, Sunday pay and OT you’ll make some good money but you’ll be working for it.

    1811 life the pay as stated, there is no OT, almost everything is LEAP and only night diff and Sunday pay with only 1-2 agencies. So if you’re a good agent or the guy that leaves at 430 PM everyday you get the same good money. Is what it is. No one wants to work with the guys that leave at 430 PM and can never help out others. I don’t think those guys care though.


    • #4
      Now the only FAMS that are getting real good money 130-150k with LEAP are the guys that came on directly after 9/11 and came from federal agencies and were able to negotiate their pay. Those guys are retiring and you can hire two new G bands for every one old money maker. It’s extremely hard to get promoted as well. An SFAM’s only job is to approve time cards and travel vouchers (pays the per diem).


      • #5
        Oh and some guys love the travel and the only thing you really gotta do is stay awake most of the time.


        • #6
          Your base pay figures for the G and H bands are a little higher than they actually are.


        • #7
          One slight adjustment on the FAMS pay regarding the per diem is that the per diem is tax-free, so you end up pocketing maybe an additional $3,000 per year when flying.

          Another upside, from what I've heard about FAMS (at least at the office I am waiting in the "ready pool" for a job at) is that your schedule is pretty well set well in advance. Sure, flights can be cancelled and there may be occasional schedule changes, but I am told that you usually know your schedule 1-2 months in advance and you don't end up getting called outside of your regular working hours for much. This means that, as a FAM, you may end up having a more normal schedule than you would as a Special Agent or other LEO elsewhere, which ultimately impacts your family life much less than a job with another agency might.


          • Exbpa340
            Exbpa340 commented
            Editing a comment
            There are pros and cons to every job but your claim that somehow a FAM would have a set schedule and this would impact family life much less than other LEO positions is pretty hard to believe. You seem to be taking some artistic liberties. One complaint of almost every FAM or former FAM I have ever come into contact with has said that the extensive travel is extremely hard on the family. Much more so than other LEO jobs. Some people may thoroughly enjoy the travel and others may not. A set schedule where you are away from your family 50, 60 or 70 percent doesn’t seem all that appealing to me. I travel occasionally (overseas) for my job and enjoy it but I can pick and chose if I want to go or not.

            Correct - per diem is non taxable (because it’s not considered income).

          • bellyer
            bellyer commented
            Editing a comment
            Regarding the schedule, I am simply repeating what I was told by one of the FAMs I spoke with in the interview process at the office I am waiting for a spot at once hiring starts up again. I was told that the job is essentially 3 days a week of travel that may or may not be overnight, but most days you fly out and come back home, then 1-2 days back at the office for paperwork, training, other ground based activities. I was told that domestic travel would be the majority of the travel, but then approx. every 1.5 weeks, you would have an overnight international trip. Maybe the extent of the travel was being downplayed a little bit to make the job seem more appealing, but I was told by multiple FAMs at the particular office in different conversations that their schedules are not too difficult to plan out in-advance. I'm definitely not taking any artistic liberties; I'm simply repeating what I was told in the hiring process.

          • Exbpa340
            Exbpa340 commented
            Editing a comment
            Maybe you are right and FAMS has become the place to be for quality of life.

            This sounds very familiar... Many years ago FAMS needed to hire thousands of agents fast. They poached from other Federal Agencies and promised the world. One or two admin days a week, pay raises, easy work days... and they didn’t deliver on any of them. I heard the stories when all these agents that left came back. They told us how things really worked.

            One of the worst (If not the worst) Federal Law Enforcement Agencies to work for is the Secret Service. It is well known in the FED LEO community. The majority of the FAMS management came from the Secret Service. Not sure if that has changed but it was one of the reasons that FAMS management wasn’t well liked.

            Having said that... if my son was offered a spot with FAMS I would recommend that he take it. It would get his foot in the door and he could see a bit of the world. I would also recommend that he apply to the agencies where he wants to end up. FAMS is probably not a bad place to start but it might very well be a crappy place to end up. Just my 2 cents.

        • #8
          I don't know if you didn't have a good experience with it or not, but BP all day. It is the shape charge breaching of door opening in the dedefed government. Plus a hands on LE job that no other fed job can even comes close to. A good way to see the reality in the dirt before taking an 1811 or 1801 job down the road.
          "90 years of tradition unhindered by progress!"

          honor first


          • Exbpa340
            Exbpa340 commented
            Editing a comment
            He is already well along in that process.

          • battlewagon
            battlewagon commented
            Editing a comment
            Hell yeah!

        • #9

          Can an DHS agency 1811 lateral over to FAM?
          Last edited by Stay Frosty; 09-29-2022, 08:37 PM.


          • Forester87
            Forester87 commented
            Editing a comment
            Why would you want to do that?

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