Training to Become a Security Guard

While many people think that security guards have it easy – and they sometimes do it still needs to be realized that there is often some training involved. While some states have very few requirements, other states demand a rather lengthy program of training before being certified or licensed. Security guard training is a must, especially for those who want to advance in a career in security. In some cases, an employer will provide their own security guard training, and in other places, special schools will provide the classes.

Basic Requirements Needed to Become A Security Guard

The requirements for age may also vary per state and type of security job. Some states only require security guards to be 18, but others require at least 21. Also, many security guard positions only require having a high school diploma or a GED, but better positions will demand more – often just a related Associate’s Degree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some states do not have any educational requirements for unarmed guards.

Some states do not have any training requirements, such as Alabama, although some cities may be different. In that case, the company doing the hiring provides any instruction that they want you to have. They will also require that you do not have any felony convictions, be emotionally and mentally stable, and you will need to be physically fit. Some states, such as Illinois, requires that you pass a background check and get a security clearance before even applying for your security guard license.

Security guards who are going to be working in a casino will usually need to have more education than just a high school diploma, but do not need as much as a Bachelor’s Degree. They will need to receive security guard training that involves using surveillance equipment, how to detain suspected criminals, emergency procedures, and more. Casinos usually prefer those with prior experience in some field of law enforcement.

Security Training Differs Between Armed and Unarmed Guards

There is a large difference in the amount of training needed between unarmed security guards and those who are going to be armed. In the state of New York, for instance, security guard training starts out with an 8-hour course that must be taken prior to any security assignment. This has to be followed-up with 16-hours of on-the-job training, which must be given within the first 90 days of working for the company. Then, if the guard is to be armed, there is a 47-Hour Firearms Training Course that comes after that, which must be successfully completed before being allowed to carry. Every year after that, an 8-hour course must be completed in-service. Police officers (or those with similar experience) who are presently, or have been recently employed, do not need to go through the training process.

California is similar to New York. It requires 40-hours of training with a state-approved curriculum prior to being given a security guard card. Afterwards, more hours are needed to train for gun and baton. Each year afterwards, an 8-hour course must be completed to keep the card.

Texas, on the other hand, requires that you be employed first, then apply for your security guard licence, which will take between two to four weeks for approval. In Arizona, if you are directly employed by a corporation and only work for it, you do not need a license at all.

Security Officer Training for Bodyguards

Classes for those who want security officer training to be a bodyguard are also available from some security guard schools. These security training courses involve the mandatory classes (in California) for guards, and then many others are also available. This includes security guard training courses in Arrest, Search & Seizure, Access Control, Trespass, First Aid, CPR and AED, Handling Difficult People, Crowd Control, Taser, and more. Advanced classes may be taken, too, which may include self-defense, Handcuffing and Control, Dealing with the Paparazzi, and more.

Making a career in the field of security can be done more easily if you have a degree of some kind. Of course, if you get a security guard post that allows time to study, this is ideal. This will enable you to get eventually get positions of greater responsibility and higher pay. Going into government security jobs is another way you can get a sizeable salary.

Specialized Security Positions Require Specialized Security Training

Other specialized types of security require special training. This would include providing security for airports (TSA), Homeland Security, military bases, cybersecurity, nuclear reactors, government bases or facilities, the Secret Service, and much more. In addition, you will also need to have a secret clearance, which may take up to two years to get. Those who already have a clearance from the military are given preference.

Quick Facts About Security Guard Work

Title: Security Guard
Pay Statistics:

  • Mean Average of All Types – $26,430
  • Hourly Average – $12.70

Education Required: H.S. Diploma (some states have no minimum requirement)
Training Required: Depends on the State may be between none up through an Associate’s Degree. Training for most states is between eight to 40 hours and can be usually be obtained in less than two weeks.


Department of Homeland Security
Cybersecurity (DHS)
Clearance Jobs
NY State Training Requirements
Allied Barton Security
Henley-Putnam University (specializes in security training)
Security Info Watch Online Magazine

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