To be or not to be….an armed guard that is. In today’s landscape there has been an upward trend for armed guard services. You may ask yourself, what exactly are the benefits of being an armed guard and how does one go about it. Let's unpack this together.
The first step in the armed guard process is to become an unarmed guard. Working as an unarmed guard will give you an idea of what the role and expectations are for a security guard. Once you decide that this is a career you enjoy, and would like to pursue, the next step would be more training. An armed guard needs additional training but there are some significant benefits that come with this career advancement such as....
- Armed Guards Are Paid More: A higher salary is an important reason to go for additional training, but it is certainly a plus. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for security guards was $29,680 as of May 2019 but salaries range between less than $21,250 and more than $50,310. Many companies pay higher salaries to armed guards but if you’re already hired by a security company it is best to ask your boss if they are willing to raise your salary if you carry a gun.
- New Job Opportunities: Becoming an armed guard will give you better job opportunities and higher chances of finding a better-paid position. This additional qualification will make you eligible for more jobs and it will likely make it easier for you to find employment.
- Armed Guards are Respected More: People tend to respect guards that are carrying a firearm more and feel more at ease when they know that an armed guard is around. However, a firearm also gives you additional responsibility and you must be well-trained because if someone takes your firearm from you this can put you at risk. Becoming an armed guard can help you feel more protected, but it also has its cons. When situations occur, you may be forced to use your firearm. For this reason, training for armed guards also teaches you how to minimize the occurrences where you must use your gun.
If you want to become an armed guard, it’s important to take your training very seriously and it is vital to understand the risks and benefits of carrying a firearm. You also must develop the ability to keep calm in stressful situations and to make correct decisions fast.
Now, if you understand all that carrying a firearm entails and think, yes, this is for you. Let’s take a look at what a person needs to become an armed guard.
Initial Training Requirements:
- Unarmed Guard Security License
- 8 Hour Pre-Assignment Training- A general introductory course. You must complete this course and submit a copy of the certificate issued to you with your security guard application.
- 16 Hour On-The-Job Training (OJT)- A course relevant to the duties of guards, requirements of the work site, and the needs of the employer. You must complete this training within 90 days of employment as a security guard.
- Handgun Safety Course
- Pistol Permit: A pistol permit is a state license however it is issued under the authority of county licensing officers. An applicant must decide what type of license will be sought.
- How to Apply:
- You must apply in the county in which you live or are principally employed.
- To complete the State of New York Pistol/Revolver License Application (PPB3), you will need to provide:
Personal information such as your:
- Full Name; DOB; Social Security Number; Address; Physical Description; Criminal History; Mental Health History; Character References; Form Identification
- The most common types of pistol permits are:
- Carry concealed
- Possess on Premises
- Possess/Carry During Employment
The cost of a license varies by county, and you should expect it to take a minimum of four months from the time of application.
- 47 Hour Firearms Training- You must possess a valid NYS Pistol Permit and security guard registration to enroll in this course. Upon successful completion of this course, submit a copy of the certificate with your application for an armed guard registration upgrade.
Annual Training Requirements:
8 Hour Annual In-Service Training- This course must be completed each calendar year you hold an armed security guard registration. Your registration is issued for two years, therefore, you must complete two 8 Hour Annual In-Service training courses within your registration effective and expiration dates to be eligible for renewal; and
- 8 Hour Annual Firearms Training - This course must also be completed each calendar year you hold an armed security guard registration. Your registration is issued for two years, therefore, you must complete two 8 Hour Annual Firearms training courses within your registration effective and expiration dates to be eligible for renewal.