How to Become a Security Guard in California

In California, the security guard career has become quite popular.

Just like in many other states, becoming a security guard in California requires training.

If you want to know more, have a look at the article below for more information.

Security Guard Description and Requirements

In California, this job entails patrolling and making sure a designated area is kept safe.

The daily job responsibilities in this field include the following:

  • Working together with law enforcement to report any suspicious incidents
  • Ensure that the laws are respected on your employer’s property
  • Keep an eye on TV cameras and alarms
  • Patrol a designated area
  • Write reports about what you found during your checkups
  • Interview witnesses in the case of criminal activity

To get a job in the field, you must also have the following skills:

  • Solid communication skills
  • Ability to decide fast
  • Empathy skills with the customers
  • Know how to use a gun if needed
  • Knowledge of public safety
  • Know the laws and regulations in California
  • Work well alone but also in a team

Training Required for Security Guards in California

Before you can start looking for a job, you have to attend a training course first.

The classes usually include theory and practice in the following topics:

  • Employer policies/ orientation
  • Post orders
  • Officer safety
  • Evacuation procedures
  • Access control
  • Trespass
  • Advanced arrests, search and seizure
  • Laws and regulations
  • First aid and CPR
  • Workplace violence
  • Handling difficult people
  • Crowd control
  • Preserving incidence scenes
  • Driver safety
  • Chemical agents
  • Courtroom demeanor
  • Supervision
  • Radio procedures
  • Parking and traffic control
  • School security guard training
  • Executive protection
  • Firearms training
  • Firearms requalification
  • Baton training
  • Fire safety
  • Air taser or stun gun

You need to be 18 years of age to get a certification from The California Bureau of Security & Investigative Services.

Your total training time should be 40 hours.

Out of these, 8 hours of training must be completed pre-service.

16 hours should be finished as soon as you enroll.

The last 16 hours should be finished within half a year.

The first 8 hours of training should include topics such as:

  • Powers to arrest
  • Terrorism awareness
  • Weapons of mass destruction

The following 32 hours should cover the below topics:

  • Public relations
  • Observation and documentation
  • Communication
  • Legal aspects and liability

Not less than half of the required classes must be completed within a month of enrollment.

Extra Permit Requirements

If you want to carry a firearm, you need an extra permit.

You’ll also need 14 total hours of extra training.

Out of these, 8 hours must cover theory while the rest should be practice.

The theory topics cover:

  • Moral and legal issues
  • Weapon handling
  • Emergency procedures

You will need to train in a facility that is approved by the Board.

For these permits, you will need to take a written test and a practical test.

This permit will need to be renewed after 2 years.

During each year you hold it, you will need to take extra education classes.

To be allowed to carry a baton, you also need 8 hours of training in an accredited facility.

How to Apply for a Security Guard Certification

All security guards need certification and they need to apply to obtain it.

To send in your application, you have to also submit the following paperwork:

  • Background check performed by the FBI and the California Department of Justice (DOJ)
  • $49 background check processing fee
  • Security guard application fee of $50
  • Firearm permit fee of $80
  • Online processing fee of $1

How to Become a Security Agency Manager

You can also choose to get a permit to be a school security guard.

To do so, you have to finish at least 20 hours of training.

Salaries for security guards in California

In this state, security guards are generally paid well.

You will be able to earn more if you start your own security company or have some years of experience.

There are places in California where this job is paid more, which includes the San Jose and San Francisco areas.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Los Angeles $45,990
San Diego $43,883
San Jose $51,033
San Francisco $50,830
Fresno $40,452
Sacramento $43,954
Long Beach $45,340
Oakland $48,390
Bakersfield $43,551
Anaheim $45,442

Regional Salary in California

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Bakersfield, CA1,770$35,580$17.1$45,650$30,380
Chico, CA290$36,290$17.45$45,400$29,970
El Centro, CA520$36,740$17.66$47,570$29,690
Fresno, CA3,230$34,810$16.74$42,990$29,310
Hanford-Corcoran, CA210$37,930$18.24$46,740$31,600
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA69,640$37,840$18.19$45,520$31,160
Madera, CA230$36,110$17.36$45,590$30,680
Merced, CA400$35,370$17$44,370$29,640
Modesto, CA930$35,820$17.22$44,820$30,600
Napa, CA770$39,500$18.99$48,260$33,020
Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA1,760$37,180$17.88$46,440$30,510
Redding, CA370$37,710$18.13$46,690$29,250
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA19,040$37,350$17.96$46,900$30,540
Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA9,250$38,340$18.43$46,130$31,780
Salinas, CA1,270$38,430$18.48$48,690$30,650
San Diego-Carlsbad, CA12,690$38,220$18.37$46,070$31,200
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA23,230$43,870$21.09$53,080$36,920
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA9,090$44,180$21.24$54,030$37,760
San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, CA670$51,670$24.84$104,190$30,980
Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA400$39,610$19.05$49,340$31,400
Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA1,030$37,320$17.94$46,570$31,400
Santa Rosa, CA1,340$39,740$19.11$47,850$33,510
Stockton-Lodi, CA2,560$38,210$18.37$48,100$30,750
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA700$38,420$18.47$46,910$31,760
Visalia-Porterville, CA500$34,970$16.81$44,090$30,120
Yuba City, CA310$36,050$17.33$45,270$30,620
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Security Guards, OCC Code 33-9032, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

As an entry-level, your salary will be lower compared to more experienced security guards.

Additional info about security guards in California

Being a security guard can be a rewarding position if you have the talent for it.

You may need some additional resources to help you in your job search.

These include the California Association of Licensed Security Agencies, Guards, and Associates.

Another reliable resource for security guards is ASIS International.

USA Security Guard License by State

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