What Is the Level of School Needed To Become a Security Guard

Numerous people planning to enter the security industry wonder if there are any minimum formal educational requirements to become a security guard. Typically, there are no specific school qualifications for security guards, but businesses and organizations that employ security officers (security guards are also called security officers) usually prefer to fill positions with applicants who have at least a high school diploma, or a GED equivalent, and are willing to undergo specialized training.

While some employers prefer to hire security guards with some higher education, such as a police science or criminal justice degree, many establishments give newly hired guards instruction before they start the job and provide on-the-job training. Although there are no academic requirements for this field, a two-year associate’s degree program or a one-to-two semester certificate program in a criminal justice-related area is helpful to aspiring security guards, particularly to those individuals who are not only skilled in written and oral communication and are analytically strong, but who are also able to assess current trends in the industry. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, security officer employment was expected to grow by nearly 15% over the 10-year period beginning in fiscal year 2008.

Aspiring security guards should also consider the fact that they will definitely enhance their potential for professional advancement if they advance their competence level. Meaning, if you are interested in entering into a career in the security industry, or are already working in the field, being actively engaged in pursuing extended instruction in a criminal justice or law enforcement segment can definitely help you achieve your professional goals. In fact, a large number of local community colleges and accredited schools around the nation will offer to aspiring security guards solid academic and professional courses in Homeland Security, Public Safety Administration, Criminal Justice, Legal Studies and Law Enforcement Concentration that can help them get the desired position when they decide to look for a job or are looking to maximize their income. With a growing need for educated individuals, these courses are essential to the security industry. After all, the future of public safety and criminal justice depends, in large part, on the students enrolled in today’s law enforcement programs. But before attempting to start a new course or a new program it is highly recommended that you first spend some time outlining the goals of your education and then check with possible employers that place a heavy emphasis on education to see if they have any advice for you.

Keep in mind that with different programs offering different levels of knowledge and having different price tags, it is important to research the educational factors that are important to you before deciding on one.

For an entry-level security professional, it may be more advantageous at the beginning of their career to choose to take a security officer specialized training course instead of the advanced programs mentioned above. An armed guard training course in areas such as weapons retention and laws covering the use of force is recommended. The aim here is to get you first working under senior security personnel and learn from them implementation of policies, laws, and protocols and more importantly, how to handle critical situations at times.

To summarize, no – you don’t have to attend school in order to get hired as a security guard. In fact, a career in Homeland Security, once the applicant passes a background check, can start with a high school diploma and many positions have on the job training options that can be entered into right away (note that all registered security guards must complete an 8-hour continuing education requirement every year that can be acquired through your employer or at a training facility). Nevertheless, there are most certainly rewards to professional education, such as a larger wage and an easier time getting hired.

Security Officer Training – Wisconsin

To be able to work as an unarmed security officer or security guard in the state of Wisconsin, there are several minimum specifications which must be met first. For this reason, anyone who would like to be certified as a security guard, must meet and maintain the following requirements:

  • The applicant should be at least 18 years of age, proof of age and identity must be provided. Two forms of signature identification are required:  one must be a government issued ID with a recent photograph of your head and shoulders. Qualifying government issued IDs includes a state driver’s license, state identification, military photo ID and passport.
  • Have a high school diploma or an equivalency certification
  • Applicant must be a citizen or legal permanent resident of the United States
  • Applicant must have no record of arrest involving misdemeanor
  • Applicant must pass a drug test and a criminal background check
  • Digital fingerprints are required. To schedule an appointment, visit the IBT Reservation Center or call 866-416-4896.

The cost for the digital fingerprints will be $56.25. Remember: you must submit your application to the Wisconsin Wisconsin Department of Regulation and Licensing (WDRL) within 14 days of being fingerprinted.

*Note: If you presently live outside of the state and subsequently are not able to have electronic fingerprints taken at an IBT site, you may submit your fingerprints using Form #2823. Again, you must submit all supporting documents of your completed security guard license application to the WDRL within 14 days of being fingerprinted.

Should there be no criminal record history and all supporting documents have been provided, a security guard license will be issued.

Armed Security Guard License

Virtually every state mandates their certified security guards to attain additional certification as a way to carry weapons, particularly firearms.

In order for an applicant in the state of Wisconsin to whom a preliminary license is being provided, he or she must have first effectively concluded the mandatory 36 hours of training which is in accordance with the most recent edition of Firearms-A Training Guide for Law Enforcement Officers.

An applicant to whom a permit renewal is being attained must finish a 6-hour refresher training course which more briefly addresses the contents of the 36-hour course.

An applicant who has not obtained an official document of competence within the 5 years preceding the date of application for a permit, must complete the full 36-hour course.

An applicant from another jurisdiction (state, province, etc.) to whom a preliminary permit is being provided in Wisconsin may satisfy the training requirement by properly finishing the 6-hour refresher course, as long as the following conditions apply:

  • The applicant had obtained a minimum of 30 hours of firearms training in the other jurisdiction.
  • The applicant was licensed by the other jurisdiction or a governmental agency to carry a firearm while on duty as a security person at any time during the 5 years preceding application for a permit.

A pamphlet describing the “Procedures for Certification of Proficiency to Carry a Firearm” can be obtained by clicking here.

Interested candidates for security guard in Wisconsin may contact:

Wisconsin Department of Regulation & Licensing
Mail To:
P.O. Box 8935
Madison, WI 53708-8935
FAX #: (608) 261-7083
Phone #: (608) 266-2112

Address:

1400 E. Washington Avenue
Madison, WI 53703
E-Mail: web@drl.state.wi.us

References: WDRL

Security Guard Training – Oklahoma

In order to obtain a Security Guard license in the state of Oklahoma, which is a two year, renewable license and issued by the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET), an applicant must first complete the required training, fill out an application, provide two current passport- size photos (three if applying for an armed security guard license), and go through a finger print background check.

Security Guard training Oklahoma consists of 3 phases and provides tailored training to future security guards to help them in their job to prevent, protect, and effectively respond to incidents and all hazard events.

Phases I and II are for unarmed security officers and require 20 hours of training each. There is a test at the conclusion of each phase. In both phases the applicant learns about the Oklahoma Security Act that covers a wide array of topics, including first aid, fire safety, being aware of terrorism threats, field notes, report writing, legal issues and public relations. Public relations and communication are particularly crucial considering that security guard jobs involve a high level of presence and interaction with the public.

Phase 3 is firearms training. The course is one day, 8 hours, with a written exam and live firing. Subject areas will include pistol safety and maintenance, principals of marksmanship,  handgun firing positions and legal issues.

Armed and unarmed security guards each must complete a minimum of eight (8) hours of continuing education training from an approved source, during the licensing period to maintain their license. For schools authorized to conduct Security Guard and Private Investigator training in the state of Oklahoma, please go to: Oklahoma Training Schools.

To apply for a security guard license in Oklahoma CLEET requires the following:

  • Application with attachments completed and signature notarized
  • Certified court Judgment and Sentence or letter of no record for each arrest and/or charge, if applicable. (All questions on page 2 must be answered)
  • Local Police Department and Sheriff Department Record Checks
  • Payment amount required. DO NOT MAIL CASH. NO PERSONAL CHECKS. (Money Order, Company Check or Cashier’s Check only)
  • Affidavit of Lawful Presence
  • If not a United States Citizen, verifiable documentation of legal residence.

Fees

In general, the cost for a Security Guard license is:

  • Unarmed Security Guard – $91
  • Armed Security Guard – $141

License Renewals

  • Unarmed Security Guard – $50
  • Armed Security Guard – $100
  • Late Fee (One day to six months) – $25

References

Oklahoma.gov

Security Guard Training – New Hampshire

In the state of New Hampshire the Permits and Licensing Unit is responsible for licensing all security guards and security agencies throughout the state. In order to be eligible to receive a license, the state of New Hampshire requires its prospective security guards to:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • U.S. citizenship or New Hampshire residency is not required
  • Complete all forms which have been submitted as per the Administrative Procedures Act, and present in person to the Permits and Licensing Unit.
  • Applicant must list three persons, unrelated to him or her, of whom an inquiry can be made as to their reputation.
  • Respond to all required questions in your application for Security Guard Employee. Failing to do so will postpone the processing of your submitted forms.
  • Again, you must deliver your application in person to: Department of Safety, Room 106 (Permits and Licensing), 33 Hazen Drive,Concord, NH. Applications are processed within 14 days of receipt. If you don’t receive a response after three weeks, then call (603) 223-3873.
  • Applicant must submit to a criminal background check
  • Applicant must submit to fingerprinting. *Two sets of fingerprints are required of applicants applying for armed security guard license
  • Once a year weapons qualification is required for armed security officers
  • The applicant for an armed security position must satisfy minimum requirements in the use of firearms at least once annually, including 4 hours associated with training in firearm techniques and safety.

*First time armed applicants will need to call (603) 271-3575 to schedule an appointment for fingerprints prior to arrival.

Examination

  • Not required.
  • The training in New Hampshire may differ among companies however, all providers must instruct you in accordance with New Hampshire law.

Fees

Individual license –  $150.00
Criminal background check –  $25.00
Armed guard fingerprinting fee (for individual and employee licenses) –  $30.00

Licenses shall be valid for 2 years after the date of issue and shall be renewed every 2 years thereafter.

Security Guard Training – Pennsylvania

In order to become a security officer or security guard in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, there are several minimal prerequisites which must be met first. Therefore, anyone who wishes to be licensed as an unarmed security guard (SG), must meet and maintain Pennsylvania’s following requirements:

  • The applicant should be at least 18 years of age, proof of age and identity must be provided
  • The applicant should have a high school diploma or an equivalency certificate
  • The applicant must be a U.S. citizen or have authorization to legally reside and work in the country
  • The applicant must provide a legitimate photo ID which will be submitted to the Clerk of Courts
  • The applicant must submit to fingerprinting and allow them to be filed with the Pennsylvania State Police Central Repository (fingerprints may be taken via Livescan or hard copies).
  • The applicant must undergo a criminal background check conducted by both the Clerk of Courts and the local DA’s Office.
  • The applicant must take a 40 hour training course at a state certified training center. The training will include classes in such subjects as Public Relations ; Legal and Ethical issues ; Crowd Control ; Written Reports, etc.

The Pennsylvania unarmed security guard permit instructions are included in the Private Detective Act of 1953. The Act, including the amendments that have been made since 1953, requires that all individuals seeking employment in the security industry obtain licenses. Once this standard is met, a person is able to become employed as a commissioned security officer in Pennsylvania.

*Note: Your SG license will be valid for 24 months from the date of issue.

To be hired as an armed security guard in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, you must have a clean criminal record, and you must undergo a federal background check. You must also become Act 235-certified (Lethal Weapons Training Program), which means a security officer can legally carry a sidearm while on duty. Dr. Bruce Eimer, a licensed psychologist and certified NRA firearms instructor, has more on the subject.

The other requirement to qualify for the Pennsylvania armed security guard license is the successful completion of a 40 hour training course, which is mandatory under state law. The training includes firearm’s classes and allows the future armed security officer to practice with a 38-caliber gun and train using a shotgun.

Application

The standard application form for Agent Certification (SP 8-200) can be found at the Pennsylvania State Police Department website. The completed application must be presented by the applicant at any Pennsylvania State Police Station, except the Turnpike Stations. A non-refundable application fee in the amount of $80.25 made payable to the “Commonwealth of PA” is required. As soon as a job candidate qualifies, an additional certification fee of $30 is expected along with the successful completion your training course.

Applicants must also undergo both a physical and psychological examination (the exam must be done by a Pennsylvania licensed physician and psychologist) at their own expense to assess their fitness level for carrying and using a firearm. The physician and psychiatrist have to then simply complete and submit the appropriate forms within 15 days from the date of the exams.

The weapons permit in the state of Pennsylvania is renewable every five years.

Security Guard Training – Iowa

The Iowa Department of Public Safety (DPS) authorizes and issues armed and unarmed security guard licenses. In addition, the Des Moines-based agency makes sure that the certification prerequisites are satisfied before an armed or unarmed security officer permit is granted.

In order for a person to become a licensed unarmed security officer or security guard in the state of Iowa, there are a few minimum conditions which must be met first.

  • The applicant must be at least 18 years of age
  • The applicant must have a high school diploma, or an equivalency certificate
  • The applicant must be a U.S. citizen
  • The applicant must be of good moral character and have no convictions for an aggravated misdemeanor or a felony
  • The applicant must not be an abuser of alcohol or controlled substance
  • There will be fingerprints submitted. Most law enforcement agencies will roll fingerprints. You may expect to pay a $30.00 processing fee.
  • The applicant will also have a background check done to ensure and establish that the future security officer is in fact honest and will not misuse the level of security clearance given to them.
  • The applicant must attend a mandatory state certified training course and successfully pass a written examination, which is given monthly by the Iowa Department of Public Safety at the Wallace State Office Building
    East Ninth and Grand, Des Moines, Iowa 50319. Phone: 515-281-849.

Some of the topics and classes that the future security guard will come across in this training include, ethical issues ; the use of force; lawfully detaining a suspect ; reporting to official agencies, etc. Once these standards are passed and courses completed, a person is able to become employed as a commissioned security officer in the state of Iowa.

Similar to the unarmed security officer license, the applicant trying to work as an armed security guard must also acquire a permit as an armed security guard before being employed within the state of Iowa.

Anyone who wishes to be licensed as an armed security guard, must take firearm’s training including marksmanship and target practice and meet and maintain the following requirements:

  • The applicant must be at least 21 years old
  • The applicant will provide a current photo and submit to a background check
  • The applicant will not have any felony convictions or aggravated misdemeanors in his or her record
  • Applicant will be fingerprinted
  • Applicant will participate in state authorized training and successfully pass a written exam.

After obtaining the armed permit the security guard in the state of Iowa will be ready to be employed in the protection field with professionalism and trust as well as with an understanding of the procedures they need to take in emergency situations.

*Note: The license will be valid for 24 months – a two year license is $100.00 – and must be reapplied for at least 30 days prior to the date of expiration.

Security Guard Training – Kentucky

The state of Kentucky doesn’t license security guards. As a result, any business which has an authentic business license can provide security officers in Kentucky. Keep in mind however, that each individual company has it’s own standards.

In order to be eligible for an armed security guard position in the state of Kentucky, the applicant must be associated with a registered agency or company and meet the following requirements:

  • Must be over 21
  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Be of good moral character
  • Should have passed the background check criteria
  • Drug testing is also required
  • The applicant must not have been dishonorably discharged from the United States military
  • The applicant must not have been convicted of a felony
  • The applicant must complete and sign application –  fee of $25.00
  • A completed and signed intent to hire from the company/agency is required
  • The applicant must effectively conclude an accredited training course in such subjects as Legal basis for security and rights of security officers ; Basic law pertaining to criminal justice and the Kentucky Penal Code ; Firearms qualification; Fire prevention ; Crowd control, etc.

The training course must contribute towards the administration of a written exam along with qualification on the firing range.

Security Guard Training – Montana

The state of Montana normally requires its future security guards submitting an application for license to:

  • Be 18 years old for unarmed guards ; 21 years old for armed guards
  • Applicant must be a citizen or legal permanent resident of the United States
  • Applicant must have a high school education or its equivalent
  • Applicant must be employed by a Montana state licensed security or proprietary company. The hiring company must train their unarmed guards. A basic training conducted may include the following subjects: Observation skills ; legal aspects ; incident response ; report preparation ; patrol and observation ; First Aid overview.
  • Applicant must successfully pass an FBI and Montana Department of Justice (DOJ) background check
  • Applicant must submit application with all required information and fees
  • Applicant must submit a full-face passport-type photograph of head and shoulders
  • Applicant must submit a completed fingerprint card. Upon request, the Montana Board of Private Security office will mail you (*see contact info below) a fingerprint card and self-addressed envelope. Fingerprint cards are also readily available from most local law enforcement agencies and the Montana DOJ.

Send the completed fingerprint card along with a check or money order made payable to the “Montana Department of Justice” and mail it to Montana Criminal Records, 303 North Roberts, PO Box 201403, Helena MT 59620-1403 (plse check with your local post office and include accurate postage prior to mailing).

FEES FOR LICENSURE:

Application fee: $25
Fingerprint Card Fee: $29.25
(please note that all fees are non-refundable)
DO NOT SEND CASH

*MONTANA BOARD OF PRIVATE SECURITY
301 South Park Avenue, 4th Floor
PO Box 200513
Helena, Montana 59620-0513
Phone: (406) 841-2348 Fax: (406) 841-2309
email: dlibsdpsp@mt.gov
website: www.privatesecurity.mt.gov

Applicants requesting armed security guard status in the state of Montana are required to have a higher amount of training than the unarmed security guard, since they will be armed with a weapon. The security guard armed training will include:

  • Training in legal and ethical issues
  • Training in the state laws involving the use of force
  • Limited types of arrest
  • Detainment of suspects

Applicants requesting armed status must also successfully pass a target and marksmen training, administered by a Board Certified Firearms Instructor. A firearms training completion certificate must be submitted with the application to the Montana Board office.

When the application is complete, Board staff will process and issue the required permits. Please allow 30 days processing from the date that the Board has a complete, routine application.

Security Guard Training – Maine

In Maine, a security guard who will perform security guard functions within the State, does not have to be certified provided that he or she is hired by an authorized security company. So to put it differently, the certification prerequisites fall on the security company or proprietary security organization utilizing the employee, rather than the employee of that company or organization. Nevertheless, the employer may demand that certain criteria be met.

No individual may be employed as a security guard in the State of Maine by a security company unless the individual meets the following minimum requirements:

  • Is at least 18 years of age or older
  • Is a citizen or legal resident alien of the United States
  • Has not been convicted of a crime punishable by one year or more of imprisonment or, within the past 5 years
  • Has not been dishonorably discharged from the military in the last 5 years
  • Is not a drug abuser or drug-dependent person
  • The applicant shall be asked to submit to a criminal background check to ensure that he or she meets all of the requirements to be a security guard
  • Applicant must have good moral character

Applicant must also submit an application in order to receive his or hers security guard license which contains the following:

  • Full name
  • Full current address and addresses for the prior 5 years
  • The date and place of birth, height, weight and color of eyes

Training Curriculum

The level of instruction security guards receive varies. But if a training course is provided or required, a basic training conducted may include the following subjects:

  • Patrol and Observation
  • Responsibilities and ethics in citizen arrest
  • Incident response, including response to medical emergencies
  • Restrictions on searches and seizures
  • Trespass law

For more information on Security Guard Licenses, you may visit mainelegislature.org or consult the Private Investigator Guard Handbook on the License and Permits page on the Main State Police website.

You can also visit:

State Police Licensing Division

State House Sta #164

Augusta, ME 04333

or call Maine State Police Licensing Division at 207-624-8775.

Security Guard Training – Indiana

In order to become a security officer or security guard in the state of Indiana, both the armed and unarmed security guard must be certified in the State of Indiana to be able to work in the security sector.

With regards to the unarmed security officer license, the applicant applying for an unarmed security license must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Have a high school diploma or an equivalency certification
  • Proof must be provided of legal U.S. citizenship or residency
  • The applicant will undergo drug testing
  • The applicant will be finger printed
  • The applicant must have no criminal convictions which includes misdemeanors as well as felonies
  • The applicant must submit to an FBI style background check

If all of these preliminary specifications have been satisfied, the security officer candidate must undergo a minimum level of security officer training. This instruction should be made available from a facility that is accredited by the Indiana Department of Public Safety.

The required training curriculum includes the following subjects:

  • Legal and ethical issues
  • Professionalism with the public
  • Effective communications
  • Detainment methods
  • Emergency preparedness (reporting to law enforcement in emergency or criminal situations)
  • Medical emergencies including CPR

The training course is designed to enable the unarmed security guard to appropriately manage everyday scenarios and emergency situations with certainty, until law enforcement officials or fire officials arrive.

*Note: The armed or unarmed security guard may also be asked to have a valid Indiana driver’s license for some types of security employment.

In order to become an armed security guard, the same minimum requirements must be met as that of the armed security officer. There are additional requirements for this enhanced license however, which are as follows:

  • The applicant for an Indiana armed security guard license must be at least 21 years of age
  • The applicant must also complete additional weapons and firearms training that includes marksmanship, shooting range training and firearm’s safety.

Once issued, the armed security officer permit can be retained only by completing a refresher training course every 12 months.