How to Become a Security Guard in New Mexico

How to Become a Security Guard in New Mexico

In case you were wondering if a security guard position is fit for you, you came to the right place!

With this guide you’ll learn more about the job itself as well as what it takes to become one in New Mexico, so read on!

Security Guard Job Description and Requirements

Usually, security guards are hired to watch over and protect properties from intruders.

Their duties involve:

  • Working together with law enforcement to report any suspicious incidents
  • Ensuring that the laws are respected on your employer’s property
  • Keeping an eye on TV cameras and alarms
  • Patrolling the designated area
  • Writing reports about what you found during your checkups
  • Interviewing witnesses in the case of criminal activity

In New Mexico they’re overseen by the state’s Private Investigations Advisory Board which recognizes several levels for these professionals:

  • Level 1 – must be at least 18 years old
  • Level 2
    • Can carry non-lethal weapons
    • Must be at least 21 years old
    • Needs a high school diploma or GED
  • Level 3
    • Minimum age of 21
    • Needs a high school diploma or GED
    • Can carry firearms
    • Can become the manager of a security company
    • Must undergo a psychological evaluation to prove they’re mentally stable

For each level there are slightly different requirements:

  • Different training
  • Passing a jurisprudence exam
  • Passing a background check

Training as a Security Guard

Each level of a security guard must undergo training as described by the Board who also lists the approved providers.

Level 1 training:

  • Lasts for 8 hours
  • Covers these topics:
    • Authority and responsibility
    • Legal training
    • Management and preservation of incident scenes

Level 2 training:

  • Has additional 20 hours
  • Must cover these topics:
    • Conflict management/ verbal and written communication
    • Use of force/ liability
    • Restraint and control devices
    • Defensive impact tools
    • Chemical agents

Level 3 training:

  • Has an additional 16 hours
  • Must cover these topics:
    • Firearm safety rules
    • Weapon manipulation
    • Firearm retention and equipment
    • Storage devices
    • Ammunition and storage
    • Hazards of firearms in the home
    • Training family members
    • Locking devices
    • Types of sidearms
    • Marksmanship
    • Mental conditioning/ tactics
    • Threat recognition/ judgmental shooting
    • Powers of arrest/ laws regarding firearms and deadly force

To carry a gun, you’ll need to qualify with the type and caliber weapon you’ll be working with.

The instructor must be:

  • Recognized
  • Certified by either one:
    • The Law Enforcement Activities Division of the National Rifle Association
    • The New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy

You’ll need to score at least 80% on a qualifying round to obtain the weapon permit and then requalify every year.

Passing the Jurisprudence Exam

This exam covers the laws and regulations and the passing score is 90%.

Candidates need to download it from the “Forms” section of the Board’s website.

After answering the questions, the form must be included in the application file.

Background Check Process

The background check is based on your fingerprints and the approved vendor is Cogent.

To proceed, you’ll need to apply online and choose where you want to have your fingerprints collected.

The fingerprinting is done electronically, and not using the fingerprint card like in most other states.

Candidates from out of state will also apply online.

They can however use the standard FD-258 card.

The fee associated with the background check is $44, regardless of where you come from.

Applying for the License

To apply for your certification, you’ll need to download the form from the Board’s website.

You’ll also need the following documents:

  • A copy of your driver’s licenses or a state-issued ID to prove your age
  • The ORI number from Cogent, for your background check
  • Written explanations or court document, if you answered “yes” to the background or fitness questions
  • Name change explanation, if this applies
  • 2 recent photos, 2×2
  • The notarized release form
  • The certification from the training course
  • The certification for their firearms or Taser training – for levels 2 and 3
  • The copy of the high school diploma or GED – for levels 2 and 3
  • A positive evaluation from a licensed psychologist – for level 3
  • The application fee:
    • Levels 1 and 2 – $50
    • Level 3 – $75

Private Patrol Operator and Manager Licenses

The private patrol operator is in business for himself or herself.

You’ll need:

  • A license
  • 4,000 hours accumulated in 5 years
  • At least 1 year as a supervisor
  • A liability insurance policy
  • To pay the application fee – $400

If you want to become a private patrol operations manager, you need:

  • Registration as a Level 3 security guard
    • A private patrol operator is also acceptable
  • To provide documents from your employer
  • To pay the application fee – $300

Salary Information

Generally, your salary will be influenced by:

  • Your experience
  • Your position
  • Your employer
  • The city you work in

Salaries are higher on average in cities like Albuquerque Rio Rancho, and Santa Fe.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Albuquerque $38,141
Las Cruces $34,629
Rio Rancho $38,019
Santa Fe $38,499
Roswell $35,729
Farmington $37,709
Clovis $36,701
Hobbs $36,369
Alamogordo $36,340
Carlsbad $35,729

Regional Salary in New Mexico

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Albuquerque, NM3,720$31,960$15.37$41,190$23,920
Farmington, NM370$29,940$14.4$38,770$23,920
Las Cruces, NM490$31,760$15.27$44,130$23,920
Santa Fe, NM540$32,930$15.83$44,930$27,360
* 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 Board can answer any additional questions you may have concerning the licensing process.

USA Security Guard License by State

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