How Do I Earn a Security Guard License?
Do you want to work as a security guard? Do you have the license you need to work in the field? Depending on the state you'll be working in and whether you'll be carrying a weapon, you may need to earn one or more different licenses. Read on to learn more about what's required to earn a security guard license. Schools offering Criminal Justice & Security degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Earning a Security Guard License
Specific requirements for security guard training and licensing vary between states. A security company or private patrol organization in your area can provide you with additional information and state and local licensure requirements. After completing security guard training and meeting the necessary requirements, you'll be able to work as a licensed security guard.
Although some specific security guard licensure requirements vary between states, there are some general requirements that are common to many states. For example, in order to become a licensed security guard, you must be 18 years of age or older, have American citizenship, pass a drug test and a background check and undergo security guard training. To work as an armed security guard, you'll need to complete additional licensure requirements.
Basic Security Guard License Training
Security guard license training programs are available from community colleges, vocational schools and some private training schools. In these programs, you'll learn about the responsibilities of security guards as well as the limitations of their power and rights. As a new guard, you may be required to complete preliminary courses before starting work, followed by taking additional courses while employed. You can expect to study:
- Professional conduct and ethics
- Observational skills
- Investigative techniques
- Report preparation
- Emergency response
- Property rights
- Preventing crime
- Directing traffic
Armed Security Guard License
Almost every state requires their licensed security guards to earn an additional license in order to carry weapons, particularly firearms. Yet another license will be required to carry a concealed weapon, and some states issue a license to carry a baton, nightstick, pepper spray or stun gun. To qualify for a license to carry a weapon, you'll likely be required to have both state residency and United States citizenship. You must also be free of alcohol or drug dependencies. The length of the required training is set by the state, and training courses will include lessons on the following topics:
- Use and care of a weapon
- Safe carrying and storage of a weapon
- Conflict avoidance strategies
- Legal issues related to weapon use
Special Security Guard Licenses
As a security guard, you may need to earn an additional license to work in facilities requiring security clearances, such as nuclear or defense facilities. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that some states grant a special police officer certification, which will allow you to make limited arrests while on the job (www.bls.gov).
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