There is no shortage of demand for security guards in Pennsylvania.
If you want to know what you need to do to enter this industry in this state, read on!
Article Table of Contents
Security Guard Job Description and Requirements
In Pennsylvania, the security industry is regulated at the state level, though individuals can submit their papers to their local authorities.
The Private Detective Act of 1953 is the main article of the law that describes:
- The requirements to watch and patrol
- The requirements to guard businesses
- The hiring standards for employees
This Act covers only unarmed agents, as the armed ones will adhere to higher regulations.
The most important requirement to work as a security guard is having a clean criminal record.
This criminal background check is done based on your fingerprints.
The Act refers to specific crimes that will disqualify an individual.
However, if you were granted an executive pardon, the Act doesn’t apply.
Other requirements include:
- Having empathy skills with the customers
- Knowledge of how to use a gun if needed
- Knowledge of public safety
- Solid communication skills
- Ability to decide fast
- Work well alone but also in a team
- Providing work history for the past 3 years
- Being at least 18 years old
Your duties as a security guard are:
- 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
Armed Guard Requirements and Application Process
Security guards who need to carry a gun must meet the requirements set by the Lethal Weapons Training Act 235.
In this context, nightsticks are considered a lethal weapon as they can cause serious physical harm.
To be allowed to carry the weapon, these agents need to undergo special training.
They can obtain one of these certifications:
- Non-firearms – just with the academic module
- Firearms – needs:
- The academic module
- The firearms module
- The meeting of additional requirements
To be accepted into the training program, you’ll have to:
- Pass the background check
- Undergo a physical exam
- Undergo a psychological exam
Current and former peace officers may benefit from various exemptions based on individual circumstances
For instance, a municipal police officer with at least 20 years of service who retired recently may benefit from:
- Waivers of initial training
- Waivers for the physical evaluation
- Waivers for the psychological evaluation
The website of the Lethal Weapons Training Unit has the forms and information for all the possible waivers.
Requirements for Security Businesses
Security businesses need:
- A license
- A surety bond
- Minimum age of 25 for the sole proprietor or member of the corporation or partnership
This person, called a qualifying agent, needs:
- At least 3 years of qualifying law enforcement or investigative / detective experience
- To submit their fingerprints
Different counties might have differences when it comes to the requirements and application process.
Background Check Requirements
The background check is done through Cogent, the vendor, and you can register online or by phone.
The fee associated with this process is $77.50, however, certain people with a certain work background may pay less.
Individuals who come from out-of-state will need to send 2 passport-type photos, to the Pennsylvania State Police.
Other requirements include:
- Taking a physical examination
- It includes measuring the functions of the heart and lungs, answering questions related to medication, and more
- This exam must be performed by a Pennsylvania-licensed physician
- Taking a psychological evaluation, under a Pennsylvania-licensed psychologist
- It has at least 2 components: a personality test as well as an interview and history
- The test is the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI)
- Undergoing training at one of the certified schools
- Paying the $30 fee after completing the training
The forms you’ll need for all these evaluations can be found on the website of the Pennsylvania State Police.
All forms need to be submitted regardless of the answer and results.
The psychologist can use other tests as too, but they’ll have to explain this.
The training is usually required after you receive the answer.
You can check the status of the application online.
Security Guard Salary Information
Security guards that just got hired will earn much less than those with considerable experience in the field.
Additionally, the salary will depend also on the city you work in.Annual Salary Range: Annual Salary by Location:
|Location||Avg. Annual Salary|
Regional Salary in Pennsylvania
|Region||Employed||Avg. Annual Salary||Avg. Hourly Pay||Top 10% Annual Salary||Bottom 10% Annual Salary|
|East Stroudsburg, PA||290||$33,270||$15.99||$47,590||$22,710|
|State College, PA||210||$32,440||$15.6||$52,910||$20,930|
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.
Pennsylvania’s administrative code also covers the standards related to the uncorrected and corrected vision.