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.
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.