How do I Earn a Security Guard License?

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  • Written By: Jessica F. Black
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 26 November 2019
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A security guard license is usually required in most countries, but the process may vary depending on local guidelines. Each jurisdiction sets its personalized requirements for applicants, which usually involves special training, age limitations, and educational courses. Previous experience in a related field is often preferred, and applicants should review a list of jobs that qualify. Depending on the location, a minimal education certificate, such as a high school diploma, may be necessary to obtain a security guard license. The first step to earning a license should be researching all local requirements of the area that he or she intends to work in.

Reviewing various security job descriptions before training is important to determine if this line of work is suitable for the individual. There are different classes of a security guard license which usually pertain to whether or not the guard carries a firearm. Although a high school diploma or equivalency is usually required, some applicants choose to further his or her education in criminal justice or law, which can expedite the process of obtaining a security guard license. A minimum of 30 hours in a training course is mandatory in most countries.


Training courses are designed to prepare guards for a variety of situations that could possibly occur on the job. The topics covered in class may include theft prevention, use of force limits, ethics and professional conduct, first aid including CPR, emergency response, detaining suspects, and counter-terrorism. Courses usually involve written and physical activities, and are generally taught by a certified security guard.

Once training and additional requirements are completed, candidates must fill out a lengthy application and return it to a designated local bureau. Applications usually request candidates to disclose their personal information, criminal background, education, employment history, and personal references. Most companies request that applicants are fingerprinted during the application process in order to perform an accurate background check. Candidates should contact local law enforcement agencies to determine the closest location for fingerprinting. Application fees may apply in certain areas.

After the application is approved, a licensing exam is usually administered. Students must complete the exam and achieve the minimum grade set by a local organization. There are numerous jobs that do not require a security guard license, but possession of this certification will increase employment opportunities. Most companies offer a higher starting salary for those who have completed the licensing process, and licensed security guards usually have greater responsibilities.


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