How to Become a Security Guard in Tennessee

How to Become a Security Guard in Tennessee

If you’re searching for a new occupation, maybe that of a security guard is a good one.

This presentation will guide you through the few steps you must take to become a security guard in Tennessee, so keep on reading!

Security Guard Job Description and Requirements

Many security guards are required to stand or walk a lot or watch security cameras.

The list of duties and requirements for this position are actually a bit longer than that.

During your shift, you’re expected to:

  • Patrol the property
  • Keep strangers out
  • Watch the security cameras
  • Ensure the alarms are functioning
  • Collaborate with law enforcement when needed
  • Write activity reports
  • Report suspicious activity

The requirements are generally based on those for obtaining a license, as in Tennessee you’ll need one to work as a security agent.

The Tennessee Private Protective Services oversees this industry and issues licenses to:

  • Armed guards
  • Unarmed agents
  • Security companies through a qualifying agent

Unarmed agents are expected to:

  • Be at least 18
  • Be allowed to legally work in the US
  • Not have addictions
  • Be mentally stable
  • Have no criminal convictions in the recent 5 years
  • Undergo training

Training may be completed through an approved provider, and the following topics must be covered for at least 1 hour each:

  • Orientation
  • Legal power and limitation of power
  • General duties
  • Emergency procedures

Training should end with a test and the individual must receive certification.

Those who need to carry a “less than lethal” weapon also need training from a certified instructor.

These weapons include stun guns and chemical spray, but not only.

Unarmed security guards need to renew their registration every 2 years.

Becoming an Armed Guard

For this position you’ll need to:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Enroll in a training course that is at least 8 hours long
  • Complete a  marksmanship training – 4 hours

The training must cover these topics:

  • Legal limitations of firearms usage,
  • Safety,
  • Maintenance,
  • Handling

The marksmanship training ends with a target course approved by a commissioner.

You’ll need at least a conditional card to work as an armed agent.

Application Process for a Security Guard

The Department of Commerce and Insurance has the application form that you’ll need to download.

In some cases, requesting these forms by phone is also possible.

Make sure to attach the following documents as well:

  • 3 passport-style photos
  • Your fingerprints for the background check
  • Explanations if you answered “yes” to the criminal history questions
  • The application and registration fees
  • The fees for the permits

The fingerprints need to be collected electronically by Identogo by MorphoTrust.

You’ll need to register either online or by phone.

The fee associated with this process is $38.

Candidates that come from out-of-state will use the FD-258 ‘hard cards’ and the same vendor.

These cards will be sent to the vendor to be scanned.

Candidates will need to keep the ORI number.

The fees are:

  • Unarmed agents:  $50 application fee and $20 registration
  • Armed agents: $75 application fee and $30 registration
  • Conditional permit fee, only for the armed guards: $15

Applications are processed in 4 to 6 weeks.

Becoming a Qualifying Manager or a Qualifying Agent

The requirements for becoming a qualifying manager are:

  • A certificate of insurance
  • Age of at least 21
  • Having 3 credit references
  • Having the required experience or passing an exam

The experience can be:

  • 3 years as a supervisory, managerial, or administrative level in security
  • 3 years at the supervisory level in law enforcement
  • Accumulated in the armed forces

The exam will cover:

  • Physical security, administration, and personnel
  • Rules and regulations
  • Alarms, criminal justice, and procedures (including health and fire prevention)
  • Emergency procedures

PSI administers the exam, the passing score is 75%, and the associated fee is $125.

Those coming from out-of-state can also take the exam after making a special request.

The documents must be submitted along with the agency application.

Security Guard Salary Information

In some cities, the salaries of security agents are higher on average than in other cities.

Of course, other aspects will dictate how much you’ll earn as a security agent, such as the experience you accumulated.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Nashville $37,861
Memphis $37,754
Knoxville $37,379
Chattanooga $36,731
Clarksville $37,004
Murfreesboro $37,576
Franklin $37,729
Jackson $37,469
Johnson City $35,458
Hendersonville $37,804

Regional Salary in Tennessee

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Chattanooga, TN-GA1,730$32,900$15.82$57,140$21,400
Clarksville, TN-KY340$38,060$18.3$47,720$24,090
Cleveland, TN80$31,270$15.04$41,200$25,190
Jackson, TN360$28,440$13.67$36,700$18,080
Johnson City, TN390$32,970$15.85$44,800$23,470
Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol, TN-VA380$32,140$15.45$37,580$22,880
Knoxville, TN2,790$43,160$20.75$70,940$23,360
Memphis, TN-MS-AR7,700$32,320$15.54$43,820$23,140
Morristown, TN100$31,270$15.03$40,020$26,830
Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN9,560$33,160$15.94$44,700$22,340
* 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 Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance oversees the Private Protective Services.

The Department has the rules published online, and the agents need to stay updated should they change.

USA Security Guard License by State

Leave a Comment