Security Guard Education and License Requirements

Getting educated to become an unarmed or armed security guard or security officer varies from state to state. The majority of states do require security guards to be licensed or registered in the state as part of the work requirement. A common requirement for each state is a security guard must be 18 years of age, pass an FBI or FBI-like background check and complete a classroom program. Security guard programs include learning to write detailed reports, self-defense, emergency response and detaining suspected violators. Armed security guards must carry the appropriate state licenses for possession of a firearm. Most security guard jobs do not require more than a high school diploma, however earning an associate or bachelor's degree may open up career advancement opportunities in security, including self-employment, as well as corrections and law enforcement. Those individuals with a desire to pursue management level positions in private security or government security may need higher education and might be interested in our B.S. in Organizational Security & Management degree program.

A popular trend for individuals looking to enter corrections or law enforcement, is to earn an associate degree in criminal justice or a related field while working as a security guard. Online colleges and universities can make it possible to complete an associate degree in 6 months to 1 year. Read more about associate degrees in criminal justice OR request free, no obligation information from an online criminal justice associate degree program below.

Security Guard Job Duties

Security guards patrol, observe, protect and report. Security guard can be can be armed or unarmed positions. This is not an easy career nor a career without risks of injury or death. Most security guard assignments may require either a patrol or static position. The primary objective of a security guard is to deter criminal activity on the premise they are working. A security guard may also interview witnesses or victims, prepare case reports, and testify in court.

Security guard employment is not difficult to find, especially for those individuals with prior law enforcement, military or security experience. Those with no experience may find many openings as well, but in roles with less responsibility and risk. Having the proper license and training for firearms could open up higher paying opportunities as an armed guard. Security guards find work in malls, banks, armored car companies, hotels, apartment complexes, hospitals, bars, schools and many other facilities. Airport security or TSA screener/security guard positions have become a popular option in the field of security.

Careers with more reputable security agencies usually require some higher education and/or previous security experience. Armored car guards fall into this category. An armored car guard is paid very well, however this is one of the most risky positions in security.

Security Guard Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2014-15 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median national annual salary for security guards and gaming surveillance officers is $24,020. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth. It may also be worth your while to investigate earning at least an associate's degree and pursuing a career in law enforcement where you may find better salaries and benefits.

California Criminal Justice Schools

Campuses: Reseda, Gardena, Santa Ana, La Puente

Degrees Offered:

  • Diploma - Criminal Justice - Private & Homeland Security

Missouri Criminal Justice Schools

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Campuses: Kansas City

Degrees Offered:

  • Diploma - Criminal Justice - Private & Homeland Security

Florida Criminal Justice Schools

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Campuses: Orlando

Degrees Offered:

  • Diploma - Criminal Justice - Private & Homeland Security

Online Criminal Justice Schools

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Campuses: Online

Degrees Offered:

  • BSCJ - Law Enforcement
  • MSCJ - Law

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Campuses: Online

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor of Arts - Law Enforcement Administration (Online)

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Campuses: Online

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor of Science - Public Administration: Law Enforcement

Minnesota Criminal Justice Schools

Campuses: Lake Elmo, Bloomington, St. Cloud, Eagan, Mankato, Brooklyn Park, Moorhead

Degrees Offered:

  • Certificate - Law Enforcement Academics
  • Certificate - Law Enforcement Skills
  • Associate's - Law Enforcement

Ontario Criminal Justice Schools

Campuses: Kingston, Burlington, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Oshawa

Degrees Offered:

  • Diploma in Police Foundations

British Columbia Criminal Justice Schools

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Campuses: Surrey

Degrees Offered:

  • Diploma - Law Enforcement Foundations

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Program outcomes vary according to each institution's specific curriculum and employment opportunities are not guaranteed.
Earning a degree may not qualify you for specialized careers that require more education or experience in the field.