CareerExplorer’s step-by-step guide on how to become a security guard.

Step 1

Is becoming a security guard right for me?

The first step to choosing a career is to make sure you are actually willing to commit to pursuing the career. You don’t want to waste your time doing something you don’t want to do. If you’re new here, you should read about:

Overview
What do security guards do?
Career Satisfaction
Are security guards happy with their careers?
Personality
What are security guards like?

Still unsure if becoming a security guard is the right career path? to find out if this career is in your top matches. Perhaps you are well-suited to become a security guard or another similar career!

Described by our users as being “shockingly accurate”, you might discover careers you haven’t thought of before.

Step 2

High School

A high school diploma or GED is commonly the only formal education requirement needed to work as a security guard.

Step 3

Post-secondary Education (optional)

Though it is quite rare, companies may prefer to hire security guards with a two- or even a four- year degree in criminal justice, police science, or another applicable field. Program curricula may include investigation techniques, security management, psychology, juvenile justice, and criminal law. Most individuals who earn one of these degrees, however, tend to do so with a longer term view to employment beyond the security guard occupation.

Step 4

State Requirements

In the U.S., occupational requirements for both unarmed and armed guards are mandated at the state level. These requirements cover general preconditions, as well as security checks, training, licensing, and license maintenance/continuing education. Click below to access information specific to each state.

How to Become a Security Guard in Alabama
How to Become a Security Guard in Alaska
How to Become a Security Guard in Arizona
How to Become a Security Guard in Arkansas
How to Become a Security Guard in California
How to Become a Security Guard in Colorado
How to Become a Security Guard in Connecticut
How to Become a Security Guard in Delaware
How to Become a Security Guard in Florida
How to Become a Security Guard in Georgia
How to Become a Security Guard in Hawaii
How to Become a Security Guard in Idaho
How to Become a Security Guard in Illinois
How to Become a Security Guard in Indiana
How to Become a Security Guard in Iowa
How to Become a Security Guard in Kansas
How to Become a Security Guard in Kentucky
How to Become a Security Guard in Louisiana
How to Become a Security Guard in Maine
How to Become a Security Guard in Maryland
How to Become a Security Guard in Massachusetts
How to Become a Security Guard in Michigan
How to Become a Security Guard in Mississippi
How to Become a Security Guard in Missouri
How to Become a Security Guard in Montana
How to Become a Security Guard in Nebraska
How to Become a Security Guard in Nevada
How to Become a Security Guard in New Hampshire
How to Become a Security Guard in New Jersey
How to Become a Security Guard in New Mexico
How to Become a Security Guard in New York
How to Become a Security Guard in North Carolina
How to Become a Security Guard in North Dakota
How to Become a Security Guard in Ohio
How to Become a Security Guard in Oklahoma
How to Become a Security Guard in Oregon
How to Become a Security Guard in Pennsylvania
How to Become a Security Guard in Rhode Island
How to Become a Security Guard in South Carolina
How to Become a Security Guard in South Dakota
How to Become a Security Guard in Tennessee
How to Become a Security Guard in Texas
How to Become a Security Guard in Utah
How to Become a Security Guard in Vermont
How to Become a Security Guard in Virginia
How to Become a Security Guard in Washington
How to Become a Security Guard in West Virginia
How to Become a Security Guard in Wisconsin
How to Become a Security Guard in Wyoming

Step 5

On-the-job Training

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that most employers of security guards provide new-hires with supplemental on-the- job training specific to the needs of the employer and and/or its clientele.

Duration and depth of training will vary by employer and job duties. Curricula typically include protection and defense methods, report writing, first aid, and emergency protocols. Guards who carry weapons generally undergo more extensive training than those who are unarmed; they will most certainly learn firearm safety and laws regarding use of force.

Some employers implement the training standards set forth by the American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS) International, which recommends that trainees receive 48 hours of instruction in the first 100 days of service. Under ASIS International guidelines, trainees must pass examinations that assess proficiency in topics like crime prevention, emergency procedures, evidence management, and report writing. They may also be required to complete annual continuing education courses.

Step 6

Resources

International Foundation for Protection Officers
A professional organization that provides security officers with educational and training opportunities, resources, and an online library of the latest articles and reports on the security industry

Security Magazine
A professional publication for the security industry, including security officers, that provides the latest news and information

The National Council of Investigation and Security Services
A professional organization dedicated to lobbying for legislation that protects security companies and associations and their employees

The United Federation of Special Police and Security Officers, Inc.
A non-profit labor organization founded to protect the rights of security officers

How to become a Security Guard

Most security jobs which call for unarmed personnel are entry and typically require a high school diploma or GED equivalency. Candidates must typically be at least 18 years of age. Those who wish to enhance their employability and/or seek more senior positions may pursue post-secondary education, such as an Associate’s Degree in police science or criminal justice.

Upon hire, most security guards must complete training specific to the needs of their employer and/or, in the case of a security services firm, their employer’s clients. In the United States, training also varies depending on state regulations. Armed guards, of course, must undergo training in the use of firearms and very often have to also pass a firearms exam to obtain a license issued by the appropriate government authority. Increasingly, states are making continuing education a legal requirement for maintaining a firearms license. Background, criminal record, fingerprint checks, and drug testing are another common prerequisite of employment, especially for armed security guards.

Most education programs, whether they take place at an educational institution or private company, include instruction in best practices, emergency procedures, detention of suspected offenders, the use of force, communications skills, and state and local laws and regulations.