How to Become a Security Guard in Iowa

How to Become a Security Guard in Iowa

If you want to learn more about what the job of a security guard in Iowa entails, read on!

We’ll walk you through the documents you need to apply for such a position, as well as telly what salary you can expect.

Security Guard Job Description and Requirements

In Iowa, security guards need to follow the regulations set forth by the Department of Public Safety.

If you want to run a security agency, you’ll need:

  • To pass a background check
  • A license
  • To issue identification cards to your employees
  • To have insurance for business operations and conduct

A firearm permit is needed by the agents who will carry arms.

The responsibilities of a security agent include:

  • Patrolling the property they guard
  • Keeping an eye on TV cameras and alarms
  • Writing reports about what they found during the checkups
  • Collaborating with law enforcement
  • Reporting any suspicious incidents
  • Ensuring the laws are respected on their employer’s property

Employers might require additional duties and tasks to be completed.

There are some minimum requirements a future security agent needs to meet:

  • Being at least 18 years old
    • Being at least 21 years old if they are armed
  • Receiving training for the position
  • Being able to walk and/or stand for various amounts of time
  • Having a high school diploma or GED

Becoming an Unarmed Security Officer

As already mentioned, security officers need to pass a background check and to register.

The registration costs $10.

You’ll receive an identification card valid for 14 days before you’ll receive the permanent one.

Each card is specific to the agency employing you.

You can however work for more security agencies, but you’ll need a card for each of them.

Becoming an Armed Security Officer

As you could already imagine, armed security officers need:

  • To pass the criminal background check
  • To have a state employee identification card
  • To have a  firearm permit

In Iowa, there are 2 types of permits for firearms:

  • Professional
  • Nonprofessional

The professional permit is for:

  • Private security personnel
  • Employees in roles such as:
    • Corrections
    • Bank transportation

Individuals having this permit can carry their weapon:

  • While at work, performing their duties
  • While commuting to and from the workplace

Individuals working as security guards may have a nonprofessional firearm permit, but in this case, the agency needs a professional permit.


  • At least 18 years old for a professional permit
  • At least 21 years old for a nonprofessional permit
  • A clean criminal record
  • No alcohol abuse
  • Complete some training

You may be rejected from having any firearm permit if there are documents that imply you could injure yourself or others with the weapon.

Chapter 724 of the state code describes more about how firearm training can be completed.

The classes can be offered by:

  • The National Rifle Association
  • Colleges,
  • Police departments,
  • Training schools

The instructor needs to be certified by either the National Rifle Association or the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy.

The classes can be specially designed for:

  • Security guards
  • Investigators
  • Special deputies

Training completed in the military for small firearms or for peacemakers can also be accepted by the Department.

These classes may contain range training, but range qualification is not mandatory.

This type of training can be used though as the annual renewal option.

To renew your permit, you also have the option to complete another training course that can otherwise be for obtaining the permit.

Firearms Permit Application Process

The application forms for the firearm permits are available at the Department of Public Safety.

The documents can be submitted either to the sheriff in your county or directly to the Department.

These are the documents you’ll need:

  • Proof you completed the training course for firearms
  • A release authorizing the licensing agency to do substance abuse and psychiatric treatment background check
  • For a professional permit, you’ll need employer signature and justification

Private Security Licenses

If you want to run a security agency you need:

  • Minimum age of 18
  • A clean criminal record, with:
    • No repeated violence
    • No felony convictions
    • No frauds
    • No illegal carry of a gun
  • A license
  • Bonds and insurance policies
  • To pay the license fee -$100

Peace officers need to be authorized by the appropriate executive if they want to engage in the security business.

Civil Service Security Guard

If you want to become a civil service security guard, you are exempted from credentialing.

For this position, you’ll need a commercial driver’s license after getting hired.

You’ll also need to be a citizen and at least 21 years old in some cases.

Salary Information

How much you’ll earn as a security guard, will depend on many factors.

They include location, experience, education, and even employer.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Des Moines $39,344
Cedar Rapids $38,654
Davenport $38,772
Sioux City $34,674
Iowa City $38,337
Waterloo $36,964
Ames $38,977
West Des Moines $39,344
Council Bluffs $38,517
Ankeny $39,344

Regional Salary in Iowa

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Ames, IA90$43,250$20.79$58,700$22,690
Cedar Rapids, IA790$35,670$17.15$60,750$22,790
Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL740$37,650$18.1$61,350$24,030
Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA2,210$36,660$17.63$62,340$22,100
Dubuque, IA130$34,770$16.72$55,640$23,050
Iowa City, IA210$37,570$18.06$61,860$22,630
Sioux City, IA-NE-SD320$37,410$17.99$60,970$24,090
Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA280$38,770$18.64$60,160$24,000
* 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.

Additional Information

The Program Services Bureau of the Iowa Department of Public Safety has further details about the job requirements.

As a security agent, you’ll need to stay updated with the rules, regulations, and laws.

USA Security Guard License by State

Leave a Comment