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A Step by Step Guide to Becoming a Security Guard

If you’ve thought about becoming a security guard, you probably already realized you’re going to have to go through some sort of training before becoming a qualified candidate.

Since every state will have their own rules and regulations, let’s explore what you’re more than likely going to have to do, at a minimum, to become a security guard.

For starters, you’re going to have to meet the minimum eligibility requirements, including:

– Be 18 years or older

– Must have a clean criminal record

– Must be drug-free

– Have a driver’s license

– Proof to legally work in the United States

– Reputable personal references

– Pass a psychological evaluation

The Required Training

The training will greatly depend on the state you’re applying in. For example, in California, the state will require you complete an eight-hour “Power to Arrest” training course. So if you wanted to apply with reputable companies, such as First Alarm Security, you could stand out above the crowd with the minimum required training courses.

On the other hand, in New York, you will be required to take an eight-hour course if you have no previous law enforcement experience, while some states won’t require any licensing or training at all.

Since all 50 states will have their own minimum requirements for those looking to enter the security field, it’s best to do your due diligence before considering a career. Refer to this map to find out what you need to do to meet your state’s minimum requirements. On average, be prepared to invest anywhere from eight to 40 hours in required training.

Keep in mind that when you do sign up for training, applicable fees will apply.

How Do I Find Training?

If your state requires training, you will be able to take any course at a local state-certified facility or on the Internet. If you don’t have the time to attend a class in person, you may want to go the online route to take the course in the comfort of your own home. Most of these training sessions will train you for the absolute minimum requirements. If you want to take it one step further and become armed, additional training will more than likely apply.

Once you go through the necessary training, you will now have the power to arrest a person on the property you’re protection and use a firearm, if the training was provided.

To find these courses, visit your local state’s Department of Justice or Bureau of Security website to find state-approved training facilities.

Where Can I Apply?

Most security guard jobs are going to be available through third-party security services. Most of the time, any job openings, along with the requirements necessary, will be posted on their website.

Just like any other job, you will be asked to submit a resume, a list of references and proof of any credentials if they ask for them. Generally, the best way to look for security jobs is through popular job search engines like and

When looking for a job, keep in mind that some companies may pay for your training if you’re the right candidate. When you apply, research the minimum requirements to see if you’re a qualified applicant for the job.

In the end, while every state will have their own requirement, the job is going to generally be the same. Most security guards will be employed in schools, hospitals, government facilities and hotels. Once you become a qualified security guard, you will be able to protect and serve any location that is looking for a security presence.

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