Felons become security guard

Can an Ex-Felon Become a Security Guard?

Can an Ex-felon become a security guard? Ex-felons always believe that they cannot work as a security guard because they think no one would hire them. In this article, we’ll discuss whether or not an ex-felon can get a security guard license.

What is a Security Guard License or Guard Card?

Guard Card CA Registration License

Guard Card CA

A state agency issues a security guard license or guard card to those who want to work as a security guard. You need this license in order to call yourself a professional and licensed security guard. The license is issued when you fulfill certain instructions and complete particular courses. It shows that you hold the necessary skill set and knowledge to perform the job of a security guard.

Basic Requirements to Get a Security Guard License

In order to get the security guard license, you have to fulfill the following requirements:

  1. Be at least 18 years old.
  2. Must be a U.S. citizen.
  3. Sometimes have a security job offer from a licensed security agency.
  4. Letter from a security agency which is offering you a job as a security guard.
  5. Go through a criminal background check and drug screening.
  6. Get fingerprint scanning from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
  7. Complete unarmed training courses designed by the state.
  8. If necessary, pass a firearms training course.

For Unarmed Security Guard

You have to complete the training course and pass the exam as well. The minimum duration of the training course is 40 hours. There is an additional course called “Power of Arrest”, which is 8 hours long. After that, the next step is to submit fingerprints to the FBI.

For Armed Security Guard

If you want to be an armed security guard, you have to follow some additional requirements besides the unarmed security guard requirements. You have to complete the firearms training course designed by the particular state. In addition, you have to submit an application for getting licensed as an armed security guard.

What is a Felony?                                        felon, armed robbery

A felony includes serious and violent crimes like murder, fraud, armed robbery, and arson, etc. Having a felony conviction is a long process that requires pre-trial conferences, motion hearings, and a trial.

Do Felonies Ever Go Away?

When a person is convicted of a felony, it means that the crime is of a very serious nature. As a rule, a felony can stay on your record permanently. Everyone including employers, banks, and landlords can see any felony of which you have been convicted.

Felonies Expunged

To get rid of a felony record, you have to have it expunged. Expunged means erasing the entire record as though it never existed. The requirements for expunging a record vary state to state.

There are states that do not allow violent felons to expunge their records. On the other hand, there are states that allow young offenders to expunge their records. Also, there are states that ask you to get proof of rehabilitation.

Getting a felony expunged is quite a difficult process. Every state has very clear rules about what can and cannot be expunged.

How Long Does A Felony Stay On Your Record?

In order to expunge felonies, you have to go through a very strict process. Non-convictions can be reported for a period of 7 years. Whereas, convictions can be reported without any time limit. Thus, it is likely to show up on a background check even if it is older than 7 years.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) allows felony arrests to be reported on background checks for seven years after you are released from prison.  However, felony convictions can be reported as far back as the employer chooses to go.

There are several states that do not even allow felony convictions on applications. The twelve (12) states that restrict information on any case older than 7 years include California, New York, Colorado, Texas, Kansas, Montana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, Washington, and New Mexico.

Are There Any Limitations On Criminal Background Checks?

While there are no federal limitations, twelve (12) states (at the time of this particular article) have passed their own laws to limit how far back a background check can go. These laws go into effect depending on the salary of the position being applied for and limit the criminal background check for convictions to 7 years.

States that limit criminal background checks by salary:

  • Can be to $20,000: Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Washington
  • Up to $25,000: New York
  • $75,000 is the limit: Colorado and Texas
  • No salary cap: California, Montana, Nevada (credit only), and New Mexico (in certain cases)

However, once these salary limitations are exceeded, the 7-year limit is no longer applies and an employer will be able to view a full background report.

Can An Ex-felon Get A Security Guard License?

Yes, it is true that being an ex-felon keeps you from doing certain jobs but it does not mean that you would not be able to find any job.

If you want to obtain a security guard license as an ex-felon, you can apply to the Public Safety Commissioner in your state. There are some states that offer a Certificate of Rehabilitation to ex-felons who want to become a security guard.

The Certificate of Rehabilitation is basically a court document which states that the person has good moral character and is also obeying the laws. It shows that the person is rehabilitated and is no longer a threat to society.

The states that offer Certificate of Rehabilitation are:      Felons, Rehabilitation

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Nevado
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Virginia

Other states base their decision by keeping in view the type of felony as well as the length of time since the conviction.  Once an ex-felon has his or her Certificate of Rehabilitation, that nagging question of can an ex-felon become a security guard will no longer keep them up at night!

How to Apply for A Security Guard License After A Felony

Security guard agencies have to register that person with the Public Safety Commissioner. The commissioner holds all the rights to approve or deny the application because of a felony conviction depending on certain factors.

Remember, the commissioner cannot approve a person who has been convicted of a serious felony, sexual offense, and the crimes that question the person’s honesty and integrity.

There are some states like Maine and Kentucky that do not require any security guard license to work as a security guard. However, no felony convictions are allowed in states like Nevada, Tennessee, and Rhode Island to work as a security guard.

While applying for a security guard license, you should always be honest. If you do not disclose a felony and they found it during the background check, it is considered fraud and a punishable crime. Thus, in order to get a security guard license, it is important for ex-felons to honestly state their backgrounds.

If ex-felons become successful in expunging their records, the chances of getting a security guard license increases. In this case, ex-felons also state on the application that they have not been convicted of a crime.

In conclusion, we now know the answer to the question, Can an ex-felon become a security guard? If you want more information about this topic, feel free to contact Experienced Security Guard Training Help Center. Also, please check out similar articles right here on this website.


6 thoughts on “Can an Ex-Felon Become a Security Guard?

  1. jeremy

    very helpful info. while im not a felon nor have i been convicted of any crimes, i do know some good people who have been. thank you for helping these good people out who have been convicted of a felony

    1. securityguardsplus1 Post author

      Hi and Thanks for the question.
      You would still be able to become a security guard with a non-felony crime.

  2. Peter

    So let me make sure I get this straight, in some of those states if the salary is LOWER, the background checks are usually limited to reviewing the past 7 years? But if it’s a higher salary, they usually review your full history?

    P.S. that’s awesome about the cert. of rehabilitation! I never even knew something like this existed. My brother in law lives in Nevada and has one felony going back to 2009 (non violent drug charge), he’s always saying he had a hard time finding a job. I wonder if he knows about this, I’ll have to ask him, he’s a good dude!

    1. securityguardsplus1 Post author

      List of The Most Felon Friendly States
      This is a complete list of states with a 7-year background exception. It is very important to understand that some states have what’s called a salary cap exemption, meaning the exemption isn’t offered if a person’s expected salary is over a certain range, usually $20,000 but some states go as high as $75,000. The states which limit background checks to 7 years are:

      California – No Salary cap
      Colorado – $75,000 per year salary cap
      Kansas – $20,000 per year salary cap
      Maryland – $20,000 per year salary cap
      Massachusetts – $20,000 per year salary cap
      Montana – No Salary Cap
      Nevada – $20,000 per year salary cap
      New Hampshire – $20,000 per year salary cap
      New Mexico – $20,000 per year salary cap
      New York – $25,000 per year salary cap
      Texas – $75,000 per year salary cap
      Washington – $20,000 per year salary cap

      These are the best states for felons to live in, all others do NOT limit how far back an employer can run a background check.
      The above information is from Trusted Employees and Help for Felons. Remember, right here on this website, you will find even more information about Security Guard Requirements per State!

      Yes, please tell your brother and tell him about our website. Also, we can refer your brother to other help aids.


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