Working as a security officer can be very rewarding. It is a dynamic career with many diverse job opportunities. Individuals who are interested in becoming a security officer typically need to complete training and licensing, and the requirements vary by state.
However, armed security guards require more extensive training, particularly in the safe handling of firearms which includes passing a firearms exam. In addition, security officers are often required to complete ongoing training on best practices, updates to local and state laws and the use of force.
Although there is not a specific degree that can be earned to become a licensed security officer, candidates applying for security officer positions often have an advantage if they possess an associate degree or higher. In some locations, a candidate having knowledge of a second language, such as Spanish, may have a competitive edge. In addition, some security companies prefer to hire guards who have previous experience in the military or law enforcement.
Specific Training And Licensing Requirements
Those working as a security officer should understand the requirements that their state has established for the position. Although each state features its own unique licensing and training requirements, the general requirements are typically the same across the board. These include:
- Having a high school diploma or GED
- Being at least 18 years old
- No violent or felony convictions
- Being of sound mind
Outlined below is a closer look at some of the specific requirements in selected states.
In the state of California, security officers must successfully complete a 40-hour training program that has been approved by the state, in addition to passing a written exam. Prior to beginning employment, they must have completed 8 hours of training, followed by 16 hours of training within their first 30 days of employment and an additional 16 hours during their first six months of employment.
Security officers are also required to complete an application, pay an application fee and submit fingerprints as part of the licensing process. After completing an 8-hour course known as Power to Arrest, they may take the official examination and submit their license application upon passing it.
In Arizona, security officers do not need a license if they are working for a company that pays them directly for their security guard services. Those who work for an agency that assigns them to security work for other companies, must obtain a license. This requires completing an 8-hour training program that has been approved by the state, completing an application, submitting fingerprints and having that security agency complete a special section on the application form.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Licensing oversees licensing for security officers. The required license, known as a Class D Security Guard License, requires the completion of 40 hours of a security training program that has been approved by the state, as well as the completion of an application that requires supplying documentation such as fingerprints for a background check, a color photograph, proof of training and the relevant fees and charges.
In Nevada, aspiring security officers need to obtain a registration card by filling out a paper or online application through the Private Investigators Licensing Board before looking for employment. To get this registration card, they must pass a written exam, but there are no training requirements to start the process. After receiving the card and gaining employment through a licensed security company, the officers must then complete specific training provided by their employer.
All security officers working in the state of New Mexico are required to hold a registration and license from the state. Security officers can apply for one of three levels of licensing. To obtain a Level One security license, 24 hours of training are required, and the applicant must be at least 18 years of age.
For a Level Two security license, the applicant must also be a minimum of 18 years old and complete 48 hours of training. To obtain a Level Three security license in New Mexico, applicants must be at least 21 years of age and pass 72 hours of an advanced-level training program.
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety and Private Security Bureau, those who plan to work as an unarmed security officer in the state of Texas are required to register with the state and must be in the process of being employed or currently employed by a security company that is licensed by Texas.
After gaining official employment with a private security company, officers must submit their application directly to the Texas Department of Safety’s Private Security Bureau either via mail or online. There are three levels of training they must successfully complete, depending on the position they hold with the company, and each has a specific number of training hours that must be completed.
Reach Out To American Protection Group
If you are interested in finding out more about the licensing process to become a security officer, contact the offices of American Protection Group. We have more than three decades of experience in all levels of residential, industrial and commercial security, and operate throughout the nation.