Almost every state requires a security guard to have a license. Security guards in most states have to undergo background checks, fulfill training requirements and submit successful applications for licensure. In addition, many states require drug testing. Although all states have similar requirements, specifics and enforcement of those requirements will vary by state. All prospective security guards should check with their state professional licensing boards to find out the prerequisites.
Take and pass the required training for security guards in your state. Training typically covers such subjects as observing and reporting; first aid; emergency procedures and evacuations; responding to fires; property rights; search and seizure laws; lawfully detaining suspects; and firearms training and qualification for armed guards. All security guards will need to pass the required training as set forth by state regulation before applying for licenses.
Undergo a background check and pass it. Most states will require prospective security guards to submit to fingerprint checks, usually conducted by the state police and run through the FBI national database to check for criminal history. In addition, some states may expand on the criminal background check and interview acquaintances, relatives and friends to ascertain character. Other states may include a credit check to determine responsibility and trustworthiness. Usually, a serious criminal history that includes a felony and instances of theft will result in denial of a security guard license.
Take the drug screening test where required. Some states will require licensing candidates to undergo drug screening to uncover any problems with substance addiction that may affect judgment and performance on the job. States that require a drug screening will deny a licensing application if a drug screening shows positive results for illegal substances or legally controlled substances without a prescription.
Submit an application for licensure. All states requiring licensing will have a formal application process. Contact your state's professional licensing board to determine what applications and forms you need, then fill them out and return them for evaluation. Some states have a process set up through the schools that offer security guard training. In some instances, the employer will provide you with the forms and will submit the application on your behalf.