Security Guard Training

Starting a career as a security guard? What an excellent choice! Security guards are highly sought for all over the United States, so your chances of getting proper training and a great job are very good.

Security guard

As a security guard you will fill an important role in society. Namely to protect people, properties and assets. Duties generally include deterring inappropriate or illegal behavior and observing for signs of criminal and disorderly activity as well as fire. This is done by maintaining a high visibility presence, patrol duty, watching alarm and video systems as well as direct observation. Finally it is the responsibility of a security guard falls within the mantra “observe and report” leading to taking action and reporting any incidents that may occur as appropriate.

Being a security guard is not an easy job though. Security guards are often exposed to physical and verbal abuse and it is therefor important that your are able to handle such situations appropriately. Moreover you need the ability to handle a demanding workload, long hours and monotonous work.

Note that security guards are bound by the same laws and regulations as any other citizen and can therefore not represent themselves as law enforcement.

Job requirements

Each state has its own requirements for being able to work as a security guard.  Select your state below to find out about security guard training in your area. Also be sure to check out the requirements for both armed and unarmed security guard training.

Unarmed security guard
requirements by state
Armed security guard
requirements by state

Job description

The job description will vary depending on the position. Armed guards have duties than an unarmed guard just as some jobs are stationary while others require patrol duty. Some guards also carry batons and/or pepper spray if the

Many security companies practice the “detect, deter, observe and report” methodology. Thus the duties of a security guard most often extend to:

  • Identify and prevent dangerous situations
  • Deter criminal activity
  • Communicate with and assist police enforcement
  • Respond to minor emergencies and assist in major emergencies

On the job you will often contribute to the prevention of theft, misconduct, safety violations, property damage, access control as well as handling and assisting in emergencies.

Security guard license

Many states require that you obtain a license before you can gain employment as a security guard. States like California and Illinois have the Guard Card and PERC Card respectively, proving that you have passed background checks, fingerprint scans. Oftentimes you also need to complete a basic training course before hiring. That said, some states don’t require license to work as a security guard. So don’t forget to check the employment requirement in your state above before you begin your quest.

Some states also offer online security guard training. The courses offered are often the most basic, but can be a convenient way pass exams and obtain a license so you can get started in the industry. I you do live in a state that allows online training, make sure the course you are taking is from a state certified so you get what you need to continue towards obtaining a license.

Employment opportunities

If you have or obtain proper qualifications your chances of getting a job are very good. Employment is mostly found through private security companies hired by people or companies seeking protection, but can also be found at companies hiring their own employees.

Common places of work include, but are not limited to, malls, department stores, hospitals, casinos, schools, government building, transportation industry (e.g. airports, railway and shipping companies), bars, restaurants, clubs and other establishments, private residences and company offices.


As a security guard you can expect a yearly salary between $18.000 and $38.000. The hourly pay is normally between $8 and $16. When you’re just starting out the salary will be in the lower end of the scale, but after just 1-4 years you can expect your income to increase. The median pay for US security guards is $24.000 per year.

If you gain employment as an armed security guard you can expect a higher salary. Armed security guards in the US make between $9 and $21 per hour or $20.000 – $53.000 a year. The median armed security officer salary is $29.000 per year.