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A Complete Guide to Getting a Security Guard License

Security guards are responsible for protecting property and preventing criminal activity.

Job descriptions vary depending on the place of employment and their position within the company.

Some of them work in an office where they monitor surveillance cameras and alarms, while others patrol a specific area.

surveillance camera

Regardless of the place of employment, this profession requires a lot of responsibility and some very special skills.

Although registration and licensing requirements vary by state, you will usually need to pass a credentialing process, especially if you want to hold a firearm.

Some states require only guards that work for contract security companies to hold a license while others have rules that apply to all guards- including those who work in the private sector.

There is a difference however between licensure and regulation.

While some states require all guards to pass a licensing exam, others only set standards for this profession and the employer is responsible for making sure that those standards are met.

Procedures also vary depending on the state where you want to practice and before starting your research it’s important to find out what institute regulates this profession in your area- sometimes this is harder than it looks.

security guards

Requirements for Security Guards

General Requirements

Although the standards vary depending on the jurisdiction and the area where you want to practice, many states set forward the following requirements:

  • security officers must be at least 18 years old if they work in an unarmed capacity and over 21 if they hold a firearm;
  • they need a high school diploma
  • security officers must have the ability to speak, read, and understand English
  • a record clean of felonies or job-related convictions for a minimum of seven years.

Specific Requirements

Some states may add other requirements for specific industries.

For example, security guards have to be over 21 to be allowed to work in a casino.

An employment history, a background check, drug screening, and fingerprinting are also required before employment.

Employers may also require additional skills, such as holding a driver’s license or speaking a second language.

Security Guard Training

The above requirements were recommended by ASIS International, an institute that also recommends that unarmed security officers be provided with at least 48 hours of training in their first 100 days of work.

Training should cover the following areas:

  • legal aspects
  • private security role
  • crowd control
  • CPR
  • access control
  • use of force
  • workplace violence
  • theft prevention
  • note-taking
  • testimony

Another crucial requirement is to stay fit and to receives training frequently.

Even if you leave in an area where there are fewer standards set for this profession, receiving adequate training is very important and, even if your employer doesn’t offer this you can complete a program at a local trade school or community college.

You may also turn to a national organization, such as Nonviolent Crisis Intervention, where you will receive the training you need.

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