How to get your Security Guard License in every state
How to get a Security Guard License in every state in the USA.
Do you want to become a Security Guard but don't know how? Every state has different training & licensing requirements. We have put together a guide for becoming a Security Guard in every state.
Licensing & training requirements can change, so it is important that you do check with your state before you start the process.
While every state has unique training and licensing requirements, all feature the same general requirements, which include:
- Be 18 Years of Age or Older
- Have No Violent or Felony Convictions
- Be of Sound Mind
- Carry a GED or High School Diploma
Alabama requires applicants to complete eight hours of board approved classroom training, which requires a passing score on a written examination. Many security companies throughout Alabama require additional training beyond the minimum 8 hours required by the state.
Alaska requires security guard applications to complete an 8 hour pre-assignment training course along with 40 hours of on-the-job training within 180 days after security employment. Once you complete the mandatory 8-hour training program, you can begin the application process; however, a license is not delivered until the 40 hours of in-service training are completed and signed off on by your employer. In order to maintain licensure, you must complete a minimum of 8 hours of continuing education every year.
While you do not need a license if you work for a company who directly pays you for your security guard services; however, if you’re working for an agency that assigns security work for a variety of companies, you must hold a license. To obtain a license, you must complete an 8-hour training program approved by the state , submit your fingerprints, complete the application and have the security guard agency who secures work for you fill out a special section within the application form.
According to the latest data gathered from the Arkansas State Police Department, there are no license requirements for unarmed security guards. In order to become a security guard in Arkansas, you must simply be hired and trained by a security company or employer seeking your services as a security guard. Even though there are no current licensure requirements, those who seek out training as a security guard are much more likely to secure high-paying work within this state. Therefore, undergo textbook and practical training courses to increase your employment opportunities and excel within this profession.
To work as a security guard, you must complete a 40-hour training program approved by the state, and pass a written examination. Eight hours of the training muse be done prior to gaining employment, 16 hours during the first 30 days of employment and 16 hours during the first six months of employment. You must also complete an application, submit fingerprints and pay the application fee. You may take the examination after taking the 8-hour Power to Arrest course. After doing so, submit the application (and supporting documents). Upon hire at a security guard company, you must complete the remaining training requirements within the specified time frame.
Learn More Here: https://www.bsis.ca.gov/
In the State of Colorado, you must carry a valid license to work as a security guard. Along with meeting general age, criminal check and citizenship requirements, applicants must also undergo a full physical examination and supply the state with a medical certificate confirming your physical fitness. Although there are no training requirements in order to obtain your security guard license, which is also referred to as your Merchant Guard License, you must provide the following with your initial application:
- Letter of Hire
- Colorado Bureau of Investigations Name Check Application & Fee
- Photo Identification
- Three Character References
- Signed Affidavit of Lawful Presence
There is no license required to work as a security guard in Connecticut; however, before you may begin employment, you must apply for and obtain a Security Guard Officer Certification Identification Card. In order to get this certificate, you must meet general age, criminal record and moral character requirements as well as complete an 8-hour security guard training program approved by the State Department of Public Safety. After completing the training program, you must submit an application (along with supporting documents and fees) to the Department of Public Safety. Once approved, the Security Officer Card is valid for two consecutive years.
In order to work as a security guard in the State of Delaware, you must obtain a license. To obtain this license, you must undergo a 16-hour security guard training program accredited by the State of Delaware. Upon completion, your instructor must sign a specific form to be included in your application. Be prepared to pay an application fee and an identification card fee, the latter of which is paid only after your application is approved.
Learn More Here: http://dsp.delaware.gov/pdfs/SBI/Employee%20App.pdf
District of Columbia
The District of Columbia requires all persons seeking to work as a security guard to undergo a state-approved security guard training program and earn a passing score on the state written examination. Examinations are proctored by Pearson VUE, and require scheduling after graduating from the program. You must register directly with Pearson VUE and pay the $50.00 examination fee for the Security Officers Examination. Upon passing with a 70 percent or higher score, you must then submit an application with the Occupational and Professional Licensing Administration. Upon approval of your application, a Security Officer Individual License is awarded to you. This license is valid for a period of two years.
Learn More Here: http://mpdc.dc.gov/page/security-officers-management-branch-somb
While Georgia does not require security guards to hold a valid license, in order to legally work in this state, you must complete a 24-hour classroom training program accredited by the Georgia Board of Private Detectives & Security Agencies. Upon successfully completing this program, you are not required to register or obtain a certification; however, if you wish to become an armed security guard, you must undergo specialized training, submit an application and become registered with the State.
Learn More Here: http://sos.ga.gov/index.php/licensing/plb/42
Unless the security company requires a license, security guards in this state are not required to hold a valid license. Unarmed security guards may work under the license of their employer, which means they themselves do not need to hold a license. If you must obtain a security guard license, you must meet unique eligibility requirements:
- Work as a security guard for a minimum of four years
- Submit fingerprints
- Undergo a 10 year background search
- Pass a written examination offered by The Board of Private Detective and Guards
Learn More Here: http://cca.hawaii.gov/pvl/boards/private/
To work as a security guard in Florida, you must obtain a Class D Security Guard License, which is overseen by The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Licensing. In order to qualify for this license, you must complete a minimum of 40 hours of a security guard training program that’s accredited by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Upon completion of this program, you must complete an application and include supporting documentation, such as:
- Proof of Training
- Color Photograph
- Fingerprint Submission for Background Check
- All Applicable Fees and Charges
Learn More Here: http://forms.freshfromflorida.com/16007.pdf
Idaho is one of the most unique states when it comes to working as a security guard as this state features no licensing or certification requirements in order to gain employment as an unarmed security guard. Although the state licensing division does not require security guards to become licensed, some local cities or counties may require certification or registration. In order to determine whether or not your city or county requires such actions, you should contact your local City Clerk’s office and inquire about their security guard registration or certification requirements.
To work as a security guard in Illinois, you must apply for and be approved for a PERC Card, which stands for a Permanent Employee Registration Card. In order to qualify for this card, you must first complete 20 hours of state approved security guard training, which is available at community colleges and vocational schools throughout the state. Once you’ve successfully passed the training program, you must submit an application, submit fingerprints for background investigation and pay all application fees. Upon acceptance, a PERC Card is rewarded and you may then begin seeking out employment as a security guard.
Learn More Here: http://www.idfpr.com/profs/SecurityCont.asp
Indiana is unique in its requirements as the state does not necessarily require an individual to hold a security guard license. According to the Statues and Rules IC 25-30-1-11, you may work as a professional security guard under the license of your employer; however, this is at the sole discretion of your employer. This means, it’s possible an employer may require you to obtain a personal security guard license in order to be hired. Even if you do not need to apply for a license, you are required to submit a photo ID and fingerprints to the State. If you are required to obtain a security guard license, you must meet the training requirements set forth by the Department of Public Safety for Indiana and meet all general requirements laid out in the beginning of this article.
Learn More Here: http://www.in.gov/pla/pisg.htm
To legally work as a security guard in Iowa, you must obtain a license by the state. While there is no examination necessary to earn a security guard license in Iowa, you must meet the minimum requirements set forth by Iowa Department of Public Safety, which includes:
- Passing a Security Guard Training Course Accredited by the Iowa Department of Public Safety
- Submit Fingerprints for a Background Check
- Have a Clean Criminal Record
- Successfully Pass a Drug Screen/Test
Learn More Here: http://www.dps.state.ia.us/asd/licensing.shtml
In order to work as an unarmed security guard in Kansas, you must hold a security guard license, which is governed by the State’s Attorney General Office. To begin the licensing process, you must complete a 32-hour security officer training program approved by the State of Kansas. Upon completion of this course, you are eligible for licensure by filling out an application with the Kansas State Attorney General Office. After submitting an application, documentation and necessary fees, your application is reviewed. If approved, a license is rewarded and you’re now able to seek out employment as a professional security guard within the state.
Learn More Here: http://ag.ks.gov/home
As of 2015, the State of Kentucky does not require an individual to apply for or hold a license to work as a security guard within private or professional industries. However, when you obtain work as a security guard, your employer must register your name with the State. Although there are no training or licensing requirements, those who undergo classroom security guard training are more likely to be hired (and have a higher salary) than those who simply apply without any previous training or work experience.
In order to work as a security guard in the State of Louisiana, you must be licensed under your employer (i.e. security company). Upon being hired by a security company, you must undergo a total of 16 hours of security officer training. Once hired, you must complete the first 8-hour classroom training within the first 30 days of employment. The second 8-hour classroom training must be completed within 60 days of employment. Security officer training may be completed by your employer or at a state-approved training institution. To receive your registration card under the license of your employer, be prepared to submit an application and two copies of your fingerprints to the state. You must re-register with the company whenever you switch employers.
To legally work in Maine as a security guard, you do not need to be personally licensed; however, you must work for a security company who holds a valid state license. In simple terms, the licensing requirements are not placed on you as an individual, but rather on your employer. Although you do not need a personal security guard license to be employed in this industry, a security company may feature unique requirements, such as previous work experience or security guard training. Therefore, it’s imperative to undergo some level of training before seeking employment to increase your chances of being hired.
Learn More Here: http://www.maine.gov/dps/msp/licenses/pi.html
While you do not need to be licensed in order to work as a security guard in the State of Maryland, you must hold a state-sponsored certification. However, the application for a security guard certification may be done through your employer, which means the security company will forward your application for certification to the Maryland Secretary of State on your behalf. Be prepared to supply the security company with your contact information, fingerprint cards and an certification fee. Although there is no training requirements set forth within the state laws and regulations, those who have completed a security guard training program are considered valuable to prospective employers.
Learn More Here: http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/mdcode/
The State of Massachusetts does not require aspiring security guards to hold a license or certification. Although the state does not require such licensing or certification for unarmed security guards, employers may require previous training or relevant work experience. Because of this, many aspiring security guards in this state undergo intensive classroom training prior to seeking employment in order to gain higher salaries and greater employer interest. However, if you wish to perform the services as a private investigator, you must hold a Watch Guard Patrol Agency license, which is overseen by the Department of State Police Certification Unit.
Like many states, Michigan does not require a security guard to hold a license as long as he works with an employer who holds an active and current Security Guard Agency License. In other words, you do not need to worry about obtaining a personal license for this profession as long as your employer features a valid license. If you’re interested in being personally licensed, then you must apply for a Security Guard Agency License, which requires you to be at least 25 years old and have worked as a private security guard for at least three years or served in the U.S Military for at least two years.
In Minnesota, you do not need to hold a security guard license as long as you’re employed by a security company who holds an active Protective Agent License. Although you do not need a personal license to work under a parent security company, the hiring organization may feature unique requirements. The most common requirements to be hired by a licensed security company include passing a drug test, background check and hold a valid driver’s license. Even though you may not be required to have previous training, those who successfully complete a security guard training course are more likely to find employment within the state.
Learn More Here: https://dps.mn.gov/Pages/default.aspx
Although you do not need a license to work as an unarmed security guard in the State of Mississippi, local cities or counties may feature unique licensing or certification requirements. Therefore, it’s imperative to contact the local City Clerk’s office to determine whether or not you must register or become certified by the city to legally work as an unarmed security guard. In addition, security companies may feature training or previous experience requirements. As a general rule of thumb, seek out a training program within your state to enhance your likelihood of security gainful employment. However, if you need to carry a firearm, you must secure a Security Guard Firearm Permit by the Mississippi Department of Public Safety.
Much like many other states, there is no state-level certification or license requirements for unarmed security guards. However, many cities and counties within this state require certification or registration in order to legally work within their city limits. In order to determine if your city requires security guard certification, contact your local City Clerk’s office. According to the Missouri Business Development Program, Springfield, St. Joseph, Joplin, St. Louis and Kansas City require security guards working in their city limits to be licensed by the local government.
Learn More Here: http://missouribusiness.net/article/security-guard/
In order to work as a security guard in Montana, you must hold a state-issued security guard license overseen by the Montana Board of Private Security. In order to qualify for this license, you must provide the state a completed Application for Private Security Guard, which requires a full-face passport-type photograph, recent criminal fingerprint background check, proof of age/residency, proof of employment by a licensed Proprietary Security Organization or Contract Security Company and proof of employer-provided training. Therefore, you only need to begin the licensing process after you’ve gained employment by a security company, who then must provide you with state-approved training.
Learn More Here: http://boards.bsd.dli.mt.gov/psp
Although there is no state regulations requiring a license for security guards to gain employment, there are several cities and counties that require licensing/certification in order to legally work within their city or county limits. In order to determine whether or not you live or work in a city/county which requires a local license, contact the City Clerk’s office for your perspective location. In addition to localized licensing requirements, some employers may require specific training or previous work experience.
Learn More Here: http://www.sos.ne.gov/licensing/private_eye/
Working as a security guard in Nevada can be tricky; however, the process to gaining legal employment is easier than one may originally believe. Prior to seeking employment, you must first obtain a registration card by filling out an online or paper application with the Private Investigators Licensing Board, which also requires a passing score of a written examination; however, there are no training requirements to begin this process. Once you’ve received your card and gained employment with a licensed security company, you are then required to undergo specific employer-provided training.
Learn More Here: https://nevadapilb.glsuite.us/
Whether or not you are required to hold a security guard license in New Hampshire depends on your type of employment within the state. For example, if you’re working with a licensed security guard company in the State of New Hampshire, you are under no obligation to obtain a license; however, if you wish to work for yourself (as a freelance or contract employee), then you are required to register with the state and obtain an individual security guard license by the State of New Hampshire Department of Safety/Division of State Police. In order to be approved for an individual security guard license (should you wish to work without being employed by a licensed security guard company), you must present a completed application and a two year $50,000 surety bond in your name.
While you are not required to hold a license in order to work as a security guard in New Jersey, in order to legally work in this field your employer must register you with the state. Although this registration does not require any previous training or experience, you are required to provide your current contact/address information, previous employers for the last five years as well as a background check via fingerprints. Once your application is approved by the state, you are then required to undergo a specialized security guard training program accredited by the State of New Jersey. Training is mandatory, and you are unable to work with a security company until you complete this training. The training program is currently 24-hours and covers all necessary topics to effectively perform the duties required of you.
Learn More Here: http://www.state.nj.us/njsp/about/pdf/060106_rulesregs.pdf
In order to legally work as a security guard in New Mexico, you are required to hold a license and registration by the state. There are three levels of licensing a security guard can apply for – each level requires specific training and work experience. While you may be 18 years old for the first two levels, the Level 3 Security Guard License requires applicants to be 21 years of age and pass advanced-level training programs. The training program for Level 1 Security Guard Licenses is 24-hours long, while the training program for Level 2 Security Guard License is 48-Hours, and the training program for Level 3 Security Guard License is 72-hours long.
Learn More Here: http://www.rld.state.nm.us/boards/Private_Investigations_FAQs.aspx
New York State
Although you are not required to hold a license to work as an unarmed security guard in New York State, you are required to hold a valid Security Guard Registration Card. To receive this card, you must pass an FBI background check, submit fingerprints for background check purposes and successfully complete an 8-hour pre-assignment training course, which must be approved by the Department of State. After you receive your registration card, you must complete an additional 16 hours of on-the-job training within 90 days of being employed as a security guard. Lastly, you’re required to complete a minimum of 8-hours of continuing education coursework each year to maintain your registration card.
Learn More Here: http://www.dos.ny.gov/licensing/
To legally gain employment as a security guard in North Carolina, you are required to obtain an official Security Guard License. In order to qualify for this license, you must not only meet the general requirements laid out at the beginning of this article, but you must also complete a minimum of 16-hours of classroom training. The training program must be approved and accredited by the State, as you must complete a minimum per-hour training for specific topics, such as The Security Officer in North Carolina, Legal Issues for Security Officers, Emergency Response and Deportment.
In the State of North Dakota, you are not required to hold a personal Security Guard License should you work for a security company that holds a current license. While you may not be required to be personally licensed, many security companies within this state do require specific levels of training and experience in order to gain employment. Therefore, it’s suggested that you undergo some level of classroom and/or practical training before seeking employment. Doing so not only makes you a more attractive option for employers, but the more training/experience you have, the higher you take home pay will likely be.
Learn More Here: http://www.nd.gov/pisb/elig.html
To legally work as a security guard in the State of Ohio, you are not required to hold a license as long as you work for a security company who holds a valid license with the State. It is the responsibility of the security company to register you with the state within seven days of employment. This registration must be renewed each year. Be prepared to provide your employer with proof of high school diploma/GED as well as passing a criminal background check and providing your fingerprints. You may or may not be required to pay the registration fee; however, many security companies cover this fee as part of your compensation package.
Learn More Here: https://publicsafety.ohio.gov/links/PSU0004.pdf
In order to work as an unarmed security guard in the State of Oklahoma, you must carry a license, which is overseen by CLEET. To qualify for a security guard license, you must successfully pass a CLEET approved training program and provide necessary documentation, such as a fingerprint card, affidavit from the local court system proclaiming you’ve never been convicted of a crime as well as various other identification and eligibility documentations, which are explained in detail at the Oklahoma Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training website. Once a license is approved and delivered, you must reapply for the license every three years.
Learn More Here: http://www.ok.gov/cleet/Licensing/Security_Guards/
To work as an unarmed security guard in Oregon, you must hold a valid Security Guard License. To qualify for licensure, you must complete a minimum of 12-hours of classroom training by a state-approved institution or instructor. Always check with the State to determine if the program is accredited before paying. After you’ve completed the training program, you must complete an application, provide a fingerprint card and meet other general eligibility requirements set forth by the State.
Learn More Here: http://www.oregon.gov/DPSST/PS/pages/Gettingstarted.aspx
A license is required to work as an unarmed security guard in the State of Pennsylvania. In order to gain this license, you or your employer must petition the courts for a Security Guard License. This is among the most complicated licensing processes out of all states. Because of this, it’s recommended you obtain an attorney to assist you throughout the licensing process. Although there is no training requirements to petition for a Security Guard License, you should be prepared to pass a drug test, criminal background check and deliver a fingerprint card directly to the courts.
Learn More Here: http://www.pabulletin.com/secure/data/vol35/35-38/1708.html
To work as an unarmed security guard in Rhode Island, you are required to hold a valid Security Guard License, which is overseen by the Rhode Island Attorney General. Although there are no strict training guidelines to qualify for licensure, many experts in this field recommend completing a standard security guard program prior to seeking a license and/or employment. Along with meeting basic eligibility requirements, be prepared to submit fingerprints for a criminal background check as well as answer questions pertaining to your legal history.
A license is required to work as a security guard in the State of South Carolina. The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division oversees the licensing process; however, unlike other states’ where the individual applicant applies for the license, in South Carolina the security company must petition for your security guard license. You will not do this process. While you are required to undergo a total of 4-hours of security guard training, this training is provided by your employer, and it must be undertaken from a SLED certified instructor. Only after you’ve completed this employer-sponsored training program, can the security company file an application for licensure with the state.
Learn More Here: http://www.sled.sc.gov/documents/PI/Regulations2006.pdf
South Dakota does not feature any regulations or licensing requirements for the security guards working under a licensed security company. However, if you wish to start your own security company or work as a freelance security guard, you are required to obtain a Security Guard Agency License, which features strict training and insurance requirements. Although you are not required to hold a license when working with a licensed security guard agency/company, you should strive to complete a basic-level security guard training program. Doing so not only prepares you for this dynamic and demanding job, but prospective employers are more likely to show interest should you have this training on your resume.
To legally gain employment and work as a security guard in the State of Tennessee, you must obtain a license. In order to qualify for licensure, you must complete a minimum of 4-hours of state approved training. Along with the training requirements, you must have no convictions within the previous five years and you should be prepared to submit three fingerprint cards to the FBIT and TBI. Once a security guard license is rewarded, you must renew this license every two years.
Learn More Here: http://www.tn.gov/regboards/pps/usgoReqs.shtml
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety and Private Security Bureau, those seeking to work as an unarmed security guard within the state are required to register with the state. IN order to qualify for registration, you must be either currently employed or in the process of being employed by a Texas-licensed security company. Once you’re officially employed by a private security company, you must submit your application directly to the Private Security Bureau division of the Texas Department of Safety – this application may be mailed or submitted online through the PSB website. Take note: you are required to complete a specific number of training hours in order to qualify for the type of license you need. There are three levels of training. The type of training level you’re required to complete is dependent on the position you hold within the security company.
Learn More Here: http://www.dps.texas.gov/rsd/psb/News/peace_officer.htm
To work as an unarmed security guard in Utah, you are required to hold a license. All security guard licenses are awarded and overseen by the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing. In order to qualify for a license, you must meet basic eligibility requirements as well as complete a 24-hour state-approved classroom training program with a final examination score of at least 80 percent. Once a license is rewarded, you are required to renew it every two years.
Vermont requires all unarmed security guards to hold a license by the Board of Private Investigative and Security Services. To become eligible for a security guard license you must not only meet the basic eligibility requirements, but also complete a 40-hour classroom training program, which must be from an approved institution or instructor. The instructor must be board-approved and have a minimum of two years experience working as a security guard. Upon completing the training, you may submit the application directly to the state or your employer may submit an application, and its required documents, to the state on your behalf.
Learn More Here: https://www.sec.state.vt.us/professional-regulation.aspx
Although you are not required to hold a license to work as an unarmed security guard within the State of Virginia, you are required to register with the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice. In order to qualify for registration, you must complete a minimum of 18-hours of classroom training on specific subject matters. The training program must be approved/accredited by the Department of Criminal Justice. Once a registration is rewarded, you must renew your registration card every two years by completing a minimum of four hours of continued education at an approved training institution.
To work as an unarmed security guard in Washington, you must hold a valid license issued by the Washington State Department of Licensing. In order to become eligible for such a license, you must successfully complete the pre-assignment training requirements as well as pass all written examinations. Upon passing the training program, you can only submit your application for licensure once you are employed or in the process of being employed by a licensed security company. In order to apply for this license, you must submit the Private Security Guard License Application, application fee and a fingerprint card directly to the company you wish to work for. It is the company’s responsibility to file this information with the state.
Learn More Here: http://www.dol.wa.gov/business/securityguards/sggetunarmed.html
Although you are not required to hold a traditional license in order to work as an unarmed security guard in West Virginia, you are required to register with the state. To become eligible for registration, you must successfully complete 18-hours of security guard training as well as meet basic eligibility requirements set forth by the state. In addition to meeting the basic training and eligibility requirements, you must also have been employed for a minimum of one year as a security guard under a licensed security guard company. However, you may also qualify if you have one year of verifiable relevant training or work experience.
In Wisconsin, you are required to register with the Wisconsin Department of Regulation & Licensing to legally work as an unarmed security guard. If you are working under a security company who is currently licensed, you may operate under their license; however, if you may be required to obtain a Private Security Permit in order to work as a freelance or contract security guard. It’s the responsibility of your employer to file all applications and documents with the state; however, if you are not working with a security company, it is your responsibility to fill out and supply the state with the Private Security Permit application before starting work as an unarmed security guard.
Learn More Here: http://dsps.wi.gov/Licenses-Permits/PrivateSecurityPermit
Although there are no state-level regulations and licensing requirements for those wishing to work as an unarmed security guard within Wyoming, specific cities and counties may feature their own set of requirements regarding licensing and/or certification. Before starting work as an unarmed security guard, contact your local police station to inquire about such regulations or requirements. Even if there are no training requirements, you should seek out classroom training to boost your appeal to prospective employers as well as to increase your ability to perform the unique and dynamic functions of this career.