The requirements to become a security guard vary by state or country, though they are generally much more relaxed than they would be for a full law enforcement certification. In most cases, security guards have no more power or authority than the average citizen and so may require very little specialized training. In other cases, if a guard is armed or working in a highly technical environment, more training is nearly always required.
A person must usually meet some minimum requirements to get this job, including age and education. At the very least, he or she must at least be 18 years old in most cases. The completion of high school or an equivalent is usually required, although these requirements vary from employer to employer.
Depending on the situation, some places may require specialized classes for anyone who wants to become a licensed security guard. Licensing may not be required in all cases, but it does add some credibility to the person's authority. The classes usually review issues such as property rights, detention of suspects, and other criminal justice elements. This class or classes can usually be completed in just a few weeks.
In some cases, such as those working in retail outlets, very little other training will be necessary in order to become a security guard. Some guards, for example may simply patrol parking lots or keep an eye on things at the door, and very few specialized skills are required. At most, what may be required in these situations is a valid driver's license.
To become a security guard authorized to carry a weapon, some additional training will also typically be necessary, centering around weapons handling and safety. In some cases, even a psychological profile may be required. Pay for armed guards is usually higher than it is for unarmed guards.
In other cases, highly technical training and surveillance techniques can be required in order to work as a security guard. These applications are especially important in casinos and some museums. In these situations, substantially more training may be required. In casinos, for example, not only will guards learn about surveillance technology, they will also be taught some of the most common cheating techniques. Because so much training and expertise is needed, salaries are usually higher in these positions.
Those looking to become a security guard generally do not do it for an extremely long period of time, unless they are in one of those highly technical fields. Many who work retail or guarding warehouses may not make much more than the required minimum wage. Still, for those looking for part-time employment, or are using the position in preparation for another career move, it may be a good occupation.