Becoming a Security Officer: Do Security Guards Go to School?

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A lot of individuals wonder if there are any academic requirements needed before they can proceed with starting their security guard career. Generally, the education required to become a security guard is a high school diploma. However, it can also help if you have continued training in law enforcement or criminal justice field.

Several local community colleges offer many relevant courses in public safety, homeland security, legal studies, and criminal justice that can help you if you are looking for a job or when you want to increase your income. Also, there are plenty of online sites that offer the same courses too. You can also try checking any potential employer first before you enroll for any courses to see if they can recommend you a job.

Here are some other things you need to know to guide you better into starting your security guard career.

Do You Need to Go to School to Become a Security Guard?

No. It is not required to attend school to become a security guard, but there are advantages if you do. You will be able to have an easier time to get hired or have an increased salary. However, you may need to take a security guard training classes to become qualified to search for employment.

Aside from taking a class, it may be more helpful if you choose to enroll for a training course instead, such as Luna’s training’s armed guard training course. You will be able to learn how to properly carry and handle a gun, a baton training course, or a course on using tear gas or pepper spray.

These kinds of courses will certainly help add to your credentials and impress any possible employers since they are directly connected to the job where you can be hired. There are instances that some employers required firearm training, and usually, it means they will give higher wages.

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What Do Security Guards Do?

The responsibilities of a security guard may vary significantly depending on the setting. In some cases, security guards stay “static.” They monitor closed-circuit security feeds, or they remain in the same site. Security guards also check employees as they enter and exit the premises. They also observe them as they process certain activities, like handling money or essential data. 

In mobile security positions, the security guards may monitor or patrol on foot or in cars.                                                                         

Here are some of the critical duties of security guards:

  • Patrol and monitor premises to protect it from theft, fire, vandalism, or other criminal activities
  • Make sure alarm systems are correctly working, and doors and windows are all secure
  • Provide documents about the activities, including disturbances, that usually happen every day. Clients then use the reports to evaluate possible damage from the disturbance
  • Closely communicate with law enforcement, fire departments, and emergency medical personnel
  • May interview witnesses and testify in court

How to Become a Security Guard

Meet all the requirements needed

You must be at least 18 years of age – to become a certified security guard in the United States, you should be at least 18 years of age. And if you want to be an armed security guard, then you usually need to be at least 21 years old.

Must have a clean record – Upon submitting an application to become a security guard, you first need to pass a background check to proceed through the process. You still need to have your fingerprints scanned and take a drug test.

Submit a high school diploma or GED – Although in most places, all you need is a high school diploma or its equivalent to be a security guard, some agencies would rather hire security guards who have two or even four-year degree in police science or criminal justice.

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Complete other requirements that your country or state need – Security guard requirements varies in different states and countries. For example, in the United States, you will need to complete training at a BSIS accredited training center in California.

Get a license or security guard card

Apply for a license in your place – Make sure to check out the requirements of your country or state to ensure you meet the required age, education, and other essential requirements.

In the state of California, these are the important requirements that you must comply to secure a BSIS guard card:

  1. Complete the training for “Power to Arrest” and “Weapons of Mass Destruction” and make sure to pass the examination.
  2. You and the facility where you trained or the private patrol operator should submit an online application for becoming a security officer. The system will send it electronically to the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services.
  3. Get scanned for your fingerprints and submit it electronically using Live Scan. You should only use the security officer Live Scan forms which you can download from the BSIS website or get a physical copy from the California Bureau. Make sure to check that the Live Scan form from the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services includes the right coding to guarantee that the Bureau will be able to receive the DOJ and FBI responses.
  4. Once the BSIS received your criminal history clearances and your application, you can now enter their website. You can confirm the approval from the Bureau by checking the Bureau’s “verify a license.” Once you submit your application and receive an approval to start training, you can already move forward.
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Enroll and complete your training – every country and state has its requirements for training, but generally, you will be learning about emergency procedures, property rights, and how to detain suspects. Training usually takes about 40 hours in total, and you must finish the first 8 hours prior to starting work. You will need to accomplish 16 hours after a month of training and the remaining 16 hours after six months of training.

Complete additional training requirements – Some security guard duties demand you to carry firearms, baton, or even tear gas training. With this, you will need to undergo another additional training to get a license to carry these particular weapons. Jobs that demand you to carry these types of weapons used to offer much higher pay. Keep in mind that this license will authorize you to bring a weapon while on duty, but does not allow you to carry a concealed weapon every day.

Register your fingerprints – Once you will be able to complete your requirements and application for your license, you will receive a fingerprint card that you might need to present to an agency-approved fingerprinting site to register your fingerprints.

After you receive your license, search for a job in a sector of your choice – you will have almost countless options when it comes to searching for a place where you can get a job as a security guard. However, the kind of place where you decide to work will significantly affect what your working days will look like. That’s why it’s necessary to think about this when you make a choice.

Here are some places where you can choose to seek employment:

  • Bars and nightclubs
  • Parks and sports stadiums
  • Schools and universities
  • Factories, government buildings, and military bases
  • Museums and art galleries
  • Office buildings, banks, hotels, and hospitals
  • Retail stores