Breakdown of Requirements for Obtaining a Security License
Before starting your career as a security guard in California, you need to obtain a Security License, and be active on the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (BSIS) website. In order to be BSIS approved, you must complete the 40 hours of mandated training, pass a background check, and Live Scan. The state of California has strict requirements for all unarmed and armed security guards to legally work, and you need to obtain four different types of licenses to remain working long-term. However, you may start working as a security guard after obtaining the first license, (Level I) as long as you are actively working on the remaining three licenses. (If you do not finish all four levels within six months your Security License will be revoked.
In addition to the eight hour level one training class, you will need to pass a background test and Live Scan before you can begin work. Once you are approved, your name will appear active on the BSIS website and you can bring a printed copy to your prospective employer, or your actual Security License (once it arrives) to show proof of certification. Classes, schedules, and pricing can vary, depending on which option you choose, the type of lessons that you get, and which company you go with. Classes are typically eight hours, however some of the training schools break the training classes into two four-hour days. In order to be fully certified, security guards must complete the full 40 hours of training.
Typical structure and curriculum are as follows:
Module I (Unarmed Security Guard License) is an eight hour class where you are trained to work as an unarmed security guard, in private protection, or for the California government. Training includes lecture, video, and hands-on instruction.
- State Powers to Arrest Class, Overview and Role of the Security Guard.
- Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) interactive DVD and workbook (BSIS mandated) Awareness and Counter-Terrorism.
Module II – Armed Security Guard License (8 hours)
- Public Relations
- Observation and Documentation
*This training is required within the first 30 days
Module III (8 hours)
- Communications and its Significance
- Legal and Liability Aspects
*This training is required within the first six months
Module IV (8 hours)
- Criminal Law in General
- Crimes Against Property
- Crimes Against Public
- Exclusionary Rule
- Fifth and Sixth Amendment
- The Shopkeeper’s Privilege
- All Radio Procedures
- Criminal Trespass
Module V (8 hours)
- Crowd Control
- Handling Difficult People
Please call APS at 1-866-770-0004 for additional information or visit Armed Security License or Unarmed Security License