Becoming a Security Guard
24 January 2010
If you are thinking about entering a security career, it is essential you know exactly what you will need to do to get there. You need to know what is required of you, what kind of training you must undergo and how much time and money you will need to put into it. Knowing everything beforehand means you can make a fully educated decision about what is best for your future.
There are no official educational requirements you must fulfill to become a security guard. However, many employers do prefer the security professionals they are hiring to at least have graduated high school. Additionally, most states require you have a license to work as a security guard. To get a license, you have to be at least 18 years old, you must undergo a background check for any criminal convictions and you will have to go through a number of training courses about the various important aspects of being a security guard (the courses will range from training you how to detain criminals to giving you training on emergency procedures). How much training you need will depend on which state you are in. Courses you must undergo will be given as a set number of hours – you may have to undergo, for example, 8 hours of the first course to progress to the next one, etc.
Each course will be completed one after the other, and between courses you have a set number of days to get onto the next one, or else what you have completed so far will be voided. If you want to become an armed guard, you have to undergo additional compulsory training in most states. Often you also have to renew your license to be an armed guard regularly (once a year). On top of this, once you have been hired for a job, you may have more compulsory training to go through from the employer before you can start working, depending on the exact nature of the job.
It is possible to do a two year associate’s degree as a security guard or to do a one or two month certificate program, although these are by no means essential. Employers will look upon such additional training kindly and you are more likely to be hired for the better paying jobs that require a higher degree of responsibility. How much you have to pay for your training will depend on what exactly you do. Going for an associate’s degree will cost more since it lasts two years. The cost for getting a license varies between states, although it will not be much more than a few hundred dollars. It will cost you more if you want a license to be an armed guard, since you have to pay for this and the regular guard license too.