How to Become a Armed Security Guard in New Jersey

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Becoming an armed security guard in New Jersey can be a rewarding and challenging career path, or even just a temporary job. The hazards are obvious, but the pay is reasonable–on average $12 to $18 an hour, but can be higher or lower based on experience and tenure. New Jersey recently changed all designations of security “guards” to security “officers.” The guidelines for such officers were previously under the Private Detective Act of 1939 but that was changed in 2007 to be known as the Security Officer Registration Act (SORA).

Enroll in a New Jersey Security Guard Licensing class. The class will prepare you for a variety of situations you may encounter as a guard. This course is mandatory for all security guards. It consists of two parts, the Pre-assigment course and the training. Pre-assignment is where you will earn your guard card. The training is 16 hours of on-the-job training.

Register at an approved training school to complete the 47-hour firearms course. The course consists of seven classroom hours of instruction on the use of force, followed by a written exam on the material covered, and 40 hours on the firing range. Once the firearm course is completed, you will receive a training certificate.

Submit your training certificate and registration application to the Department of State. You can make an electronic application to become a certified security officer to the superintendent of the New Jersey State Police Private Detective Unit at A non-refundable application fee of $50, plus a non-refundable registry surcharge fee of $50 ($100 total) must be submitted. Submit fingerprints and a written consent for a criminal history background check. You are responsible for the costs of these. Stay updated by checking under “SORA Updates” or by calling the Private Detective Unit at 609-341-3426.

Receive your permanent armed security guard license. The New Jersey State Police, Private Detective Unit will issue your license within 90 days of application and employment as an armed security guard. You must also complete an annual eight-hour firearms training course. This firearm course includes three hours of classroom refresher on the use of force, written examination, and five hours of weapons qualification. After this, you will take a proficiency examination. You must complete this course as a prerequisite for renewal of your armed guard registration. Your license will be valid for two years, provided you undergo the annual eight-hour training.


You must be at least 18 years of age, but no older than 65 years to become an armed security guard in the state of New Jersey. Most security agencies and employers will require that you be a high school graduate or have a GED. Be sure to stay healthy. Most positions require some walking, some lifting, and the appearance of a healthy, strong officer can be a deterrent to a would-be aggressor. You may not get hired if you appear out of shape.