Security Guard Training

Training Guide for Security Guards

Today, we want to provide a training guide for security guards. This advice on security guard training will provide everything you need to know. In recent years, we’ve learned that a security niche is a fantastic option even for those with no experience. After spending time in the military or perhaps looking for a first job, security is brilliant because it teaches life skills and offers a career. In previous guides, we’ve covered security guard resumes and security guard interview questions.  This article is called Security Guard Training Guide – What You Should Know!  So, let’s begin and find out what we should all know!

Answers to the Following Questions

By the time we finish this article, you should know:

  • What’s a Guard Card?
  • What’s a PERC Card?
  • How does unarmed training work for security guards?
  • What’s armed training like for security guards?
  • Is there a difference between training in one state and another?
  • How long will the training last?
  • What techniques will I learn?
  • How can I find a high-quality training school?

These days, many security companies are seeking entry-level employees. Therefore, this information will be pertinent to many in the industry. Of course, you also want the very best training, so you learn the skills that set you up for a career. Over time, your skills and experience will be important when applying for higher positions.

Without further ado, let’s start with the basics!

The Basics

Guard Cards and Perc Cards

As we’re going to discover later, every single state has its own set of requirements for security guards. When it comes to training, this is important to remember because it will shape your experience. In California, for example, the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (BSIS) say that all security guards must own a Guard Card.

Guard Card

As long as you’re over the age of 18 and don’t have a record with felonies or misdemeanors, you’ll be able to apply for a Guard Card. If you have a conviction, but it wasn’t for violence, don’t panic just yet. Often, the State will consider your own circumstances, as well as evidence of rehabilitation. In many cases, the applicant is offered a chance to explain their situation. If this is the case for you, we recommend remaining honest and simply telling the truth.

With your security guard resume, security guard license, security guard interview questions, and at all other stages, we always advise honesty.

Before Obtaining a Guard Card

Before obtaining a Guard Card, you’ll also have to take eight hours of training classes. These will be split between two courses: Weapons of Mass Destruction and Power to Arrest. From here, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will want to do a background check.

At this point, we should note that you don’t need a high school diploma or a GED. Furthermore, there’s no drug test with the BSIS (some employers may request this while hiring). Once the Guard Card has been issued, you need to make sure it stays in a good standing order. This is achieved with education.

  • Within 30 Days – 16 hours of continuing education
  • Within 6 Months – 16 hours of continuing education

At this stage, you’ve made brilliant progress in your new career. Once these initial 40 hours have been completed, all you need to do is take eight hours of training each year. This way, the BSIS know you’ve been through the relevant security guard training.

Permanent Employee Registration Card

Alternatively, Illinois uses what’s known as a Permanent Employee Registration Card (PERC CARD Essentially, this tells all employers that you’ve been through the required background checks and fingerprint submission process. If you plan to get a security job in Illinois, you’ll need this card before applying for any roles.

After visiting the Division of Professional Regulation website, you’ll be able to complete the application page. Sadly, this won’t guarantee a job in the state (if only!). Yet, it will show all employers that you’re ready to start immediately.

Requirements for the Perc Card

In terms of requirements, they suggest the following:

  • At least 18 years of age
  • A $55.00 fee
  • Proof of a Photo Identification
  • Your Social Security Number
  • Relevant Security Clearance Documents

In Illinois, they also request 20 hours of security guard training applicable to the role. If these hours are spent with a certified college or company, the hours will count towards the required amount.

As you’ve seen in this short section, different states will have different requirements so it’s important to do your research. With the basics covered, it’s time to delve into more detail regarding unarmed and armed security guard training.

Unarmed Security Guard Training

Where are you based? Just as we’ve seen already, this is a key question to this next section. Often, we receive questions asking how much training they need and how long it will take. Unfortunately, there’s no uniform answer since all states have their own requirements. Furthermore, employers will also impose their own regulations and restrictions for employees. For example, some will only hire security guards with more training than others.

From Alabama to Wyoming, you’ll find extensive lists on our website. These will outline exactly what you need to apply for the appropriate license and how many hours of training are required. Also, they delve into the types of security guard training you need to get started. For example, we’ve listed a handful below to give you an idea of the sort of process states impose.

EXAMPLE STATES for Security Guard Training

New York

To get a security guard license with the Division of Licensing Service, it starts with certain requirements. For an unarmed license, individuals will need to be 18 years of age, Have no felony convictions, and various other requirements. However, the important requirement for this section is eight hours of training at a state-certified school.

Even after this initial training, they request sixteen (16 hours of on-the-job training) with an employer. Once you have this, you should be able to obtain the license.


In Texas, the Department of Public Safety awards licenses. However, the training is more extensive than in New York. For those who want to learn more about what the training entails, this will be included later in the guide (so don’t panic!). Rather than the 24 hours required in New York, Texas requires 30 hours of state-certified training.


As we’ve already seen, a California Guard Card will be given to all those who complete 40 hours of training.

With this, you’re starting to see why it’s difficult to provide a general guide for the whole country.

New York

New York requests a total of 24 hours, while California increases this to 40 hours.


While states differ with their license application requirements, others have NO requirements at all. That’s right, Michigan is a state that doesn’t require individuals to hold security guard licenses. Instead, companies will do their due diligence while hiring and then register their employees with the Department of State Police.


Finally, working as a security guard in Florida will require a Class D License. 40 hours of training will cover courses such as report writing to crowd control (and everything in between!).

Armed Security Guard Training                                  Training Security Guards

Now, we reach the section for which many have been waiting. As well as talking a little about the requirements for armed employees, we want to discuss the training itself.

For example, what weapons will be used, what will tactical training include, and what classes can you attend?


In terms of licenses, most states will have their own licensing requirements. However, there is still a handful that does not have individual licensing procedures. For example, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Idaho, and the District of Columbia all fall within this category.

The list actually goes on, but most of these states will require the employer to register employees as a safety precaution. Additionally, some cities within states will have their own licensing requirements. For example, Springfield, Kansas City, Joplin, St Louis, and St Joseph in Missouri. If you want to learn the licensing requirements for your state, feel free to search online. Much like anything these days, you’ll find an answer in no time.

Security Guard Weapons Training

With armed security guard training, there are three main areas of concern:

  • Weapons retention                                                                               
  • Self-defense
  • Gun laws (use of the firearm)

Dealing with each of these in turn, the first step will be learning how to keep your gun safe while under attack. Although we don’t like to think about worst-case scenarios, it’s something you cannot ignore as an armed security guard. What happens when somebody reaches for your gun? With the right training, you’ll know how to deflect their attack and keep the weapon secure (and locked!).


Next, we probably don’t need to explain self-defense. However, this is an “everything you need to know” (so we wouldn’t be doing our job properly if we didn’t!). Just because you have a weapon, the aim isn’t to use it at every opportunity. Therefore, you’ll learn self-defense techniques both with and without a weapon. To gain experience and comfort, the firing range will allow for valuable time with a weapon. If you feel as though armed security guard training is just too much at this point, there’s no shame in walking away.

Finally, there are lots of laws regarding the holding and usage of a weapon for security guards. Since these are applicable at a state level, this will be something you learn in training. By knowing these laws, you not only protect yourself from breaking the law, but you also keep everybody safe (including yourself!).

Security Guard Weapons

What about the weapons themselves? In the US, armed security guards are able to carry a number of weapons. First and foremost, you’ll be trained with a handgun such as a Ruger-P series or a Colt 1911. In addition to this, we mustn’t forget non-lethal weapons such as a stun gun, baton, pepper spray, or a taser.

With the training you receive, you’ll need to be comfortable in the use of all these weapons. As well as using them, the courses will explain how they should be maintained and kept while not in use.

Example Class – Florida

As we saw earlier, those in Florida will need to complete a Class D Security Course. Today, we’re going to use this as an example so you see how it all works and what you can expect.

In total, you will need to train for 40 hours before getting a license and the length of the course will depend on the training school you choose. While some will offer 10-hour days across two weekends, others will split the curriculum over a longer period of time. Ultimately, the option you choose will depend on your needs. If you’re unemployed and want to get started immediately, select one over two weekends. This way, you’ll be ready to apply with your security guard resume in no time.

For the biggest training names, they’ll be available across the state. For example, classes will cover Palm Beach County, Boca Raton, Rivera Beach, Boynton Beach, West Palm Beach, Lake Worth, and more.


In terms of the curriculum, you’ll learn everything in a class. Whether you’re patrolling a perfume store, guarding a library, or providing assistance in a school/hospital, this still applies. Rather than learning just one area and being restricted for the rest of your career, the curriculum will cover a broad spectrum. The employer might choose a course more suited to their business, but you’ll still learn everything. As an example, the classes might cover:

  • Florida Security License
  • Laws
  • Terrorism Awareness                                                                                       
  • Observation Techniques
  • Ethics
  • Use of Force
  • Patrol Techniques
  • Communication
  • Public Relations
  • Crowd Control
  • Liability
  • First Aid
  • Report Writing
  • Emergency Procedures
  • Crime/Accident Scene Protection
  • Interviewing Techniques
  • Personal Security
  • Courtroom Procedures
  • Wanding/Search Procedures
  • Traffic Direction
  • Defensive Tactics

As you can see, the classes will teach every aspect of being a security guard. Often, there’s a misconception that training is all about dealing with loud and angry customers. In fact, it can be as simple as pointing a customer in the right direction. With this in mind, you learn what it means to be a security guard (ethics) and how to write the dreaded paperwork. This way, you’ll be more attractive when applying for security guard jobs.

Tactical Training

Before we go into specific schools and those that have been revoked/suspended, we want to dig into tactical training a little more. For the most part, weapons in security are seen as a last resort (nobody wants to pull a weapon unless there is a threat to life). With this in mind, defensive tactics will be an important part of the training.


With your training, you’ll learn important scientific theories such as the Law of Complimentary Opposites. This law is not as basic as it sounds. This law explains that the top is opposite to the bottom while the front is opposite to the back. In other words, if you follow a strike to the front with a strike to the back; the systemic effect on the body will be much greater.

If you didn’t understand why training was so important before, hopefully, you do now. Simple laws and tips like this could actually save a life in a serious situation. Learning striking areas and personal defense tactics will teach you how to remove threats without causing significant damage to individuals.

As well as the physical nature of self-defense, the mental aspect is just as important (this is “tactical” training, after all). Often, size doesn’t matter when the smaller man/woman is clever. However, in the field of security guard jobs, you’re likely to learn the importance of commitment. If you don’t go in or get out with 100% commitment, you’re likely to get yourself injured.

Over the years, as you climb the security ladder, training will hold you in high regard. If you maintain your license and even take extra classes, this will look excellent on your security guard resume.

Keep Your Training Updated

The more attention you pay to your tactical training, the less likely you are to run into trouble. Why? Because you’ll know how to deal with every situation. Not only to keep all other customers safe but yourself and the attacker too.

Furthermore, there’s a great saying that business is ‘95% people and 5% systems’ and this is no different in security. With armed security guard training, communication will therefore also be important.

 High-Quality Training Programs vs Revoked/Suspended Programs

When discussing the state license requirements earlier, you might remember we said that training programs need to be “state certified.” Sadly, this has grown in importance as more facilities and programs have been blacklisted.

Rather than upholding the profession, some academies and instructors have been cutting programs short or simply handing out certificates that haven’t been earned. This has a number of problems, but perhaps the biggest is the number of improperly trained security guards in key roles. We’ve all seen stories in the news of security guards making poor decisions and acting unprofessionally.

Not Cool!

Just recently, the Texas Classroom Teachers Association (TCTA) reported two schools and their instructors after they:

  • Shaved time off required classes.
  • Graduated students that actually failed the test.
  • Failed to follow state guidelines.

As soon as this problem was uncovered, the training companies not adhering to the regulations had their licenses revoked.

Meanwhile, the instructors found guilty were suspended and this has led to a huge list of untrustworthy services. When training, either on your own or with an employer, we recommend researching legitimate services. For a start, they need to be state certified.

Revoked Security Guard Training Schools

In New York, as an example, lots of companies have been either revoked or suspended over the past decade. This includes:

Miracle Security Guard Training School
On Time Security Training School
Security Career Institute
Tri John School
GM Security
Access Global Security Corp

Trusted Schools for Security Guard Training

We don’t want to finish on a negative note, so we have a short list of the best schools around. Even if you have no experience as an armed security guard, these schools will help with your security guard license. With the right security guard training, you’ll draw the attention of the very best employers.

List of Approved Security Guard Training Schools

In New York, the Division of Criminal Justice has released a full list of approved security guard schools. For example, this includes:

Albany – Albany Medical Center, New York State Park Police, Independent Security Svcs, Keeplock Security Svc, The College of Saint Rose, and Sabourin Security Academy.

Bronx – Above All Security Training, Focus Career Solutions LLC, Andrews International Inc, and Monroe College.

Kings – CAMBA, Bohlen Technical Center, Brimstone Protection Training, and ISS Security Training.

New York – Beth Israel Medical Centre, ALS Security Academy, Center Security Training, Elite Pavillion, and Frick Collection.

Queens – Securit Training Academy, St John’s University, TSC Training Academy, and Premier Training Academy.

In their PDF, you’ll see a full list of successful training schools. As professional services, you’ll kickstart your career in the right way.

Security Guard Training Schools

In addition to New York, there are other schools across the country.

Alabama – DSI (600 West Adams St, Dothan, AL 36303)
Arizona – Blackstone Security (2085 South Cottonwood Drive, Tempe, AZ 85282)
California – PACWEST Security Services (3303 Harbor Blvd, A-103, Costa Mesa, CA 92626)
Florida – AllStar Security Guards (431 E Commercial Blvd, Oakland Park, FL 33334)
Georgia – AK Security Services (245 North Highland Ave. Northeast #230, Atlanta, GA 30307)


There we have it, a full and complete guide to security guard training. As well as learning all about the California Guard Card and the Illinois Perc Card, we went through security guard license information, armed security guard training, and even built upon the knowledge from our security guard resume and security guard interview question guides.

As long as you remember that your state is unique, you can look at the requirements right here on this website and learn more about how to get started. With this guide as your starting point, don’t forget to leave your email address for any other information on the website.


Though the security guard training niche has lost some reputation in recent times, there are still some wonderful schools maintaining the high standards we all want to see. If you visit one of these schools, you can become a successful security guard yourself. For those looking for a way into the industry, training is essential. Why not make some calls and get started today? Good luck!

8 thoughts on “Training Guide for Security Guards

    1. securityguardsplus1 Post author

      Yes, in general, the starting salary for an armed security guard is a little bit more than an unarmed security guard. But as with everything else, there are exceptions to this!

  1. Peter

    Perhaps I’m still a little confused. So you DO need a guard card to work as a security guard? If so do you need it before you apply for a security guard job?

    1. securityguardsplus1 Post author

      Yes, you will need to be licensed (have your Guard Card) in order to work as a Security Guard. BUT, you can be hired as a Security Guard without one. Also, it may depend on the state where you are seeking the position (some states don’t require a Guard Card. Please read our Articles on Security Guard Requirements for your particular state.) Some companies may hire you and then pay for your Guard Card classes. Now, if you already have your Guard Card, this shows the company you are serious about being a Security Guard and they will be able to fill the position faster. If you already have your Guard Card and the other applicant does not, who do you think the company will hire first?

  2. Tina

    My brother has recently expressed interest in becoming a security guard and we have been trying to provide support to him and I found this article and thought this would be extremely helpful. I’m definitely going to forward this to him I read through it and saw a bunch of information that would be very helpful. It’s nice to know that there are actually reputable schools out there that he could maybe even think about attending if this is a career path that he wants to choose.

    1. securityguardsplus1 Post author

      Yes, please tell your brother about our website. We have tons of information just waiting for him to read. We also have an eBook coming out soon with all kinds of help for your brother. It will be a step-by-step guide to becoming a security guard. We will have Actual Interview Questions that will more than likely be asked and we even have the answers that were given. As far as the schools, we have a list of the Approved and Revoked schools. We are also planning on helping our serious visitors by paying for some of their classes. So, let your brother know about all of this good news or better yet, tell him about our website. Stay tuned!


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