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A person cannot simply jump into a phone booth, emerge with a suit, sunglasses and an ear piece, and start guarding very important people. Becoming a professional bodyguard requires a license that involves training equivalent to security guard training. The more training a person receives, the better equipped he is for high profile jobs.
Executive Protection Training
According to Jon Felperin, Director of the Center for Law Enforcement Training in Northridge, CA, only a licensed Private Patrol Operator (PPO) may contract to perform security work for a person or business. Felperin says that in most areas, the regulations that apply to security guards apply to bodyguards. Security guards are required to have 40 hours of mandated training and eight hours of continuing education every year. Felperin describes completing Executive Protection training as equivalent to going out on patrol for the first time. For a person to be truly effective as a bodyguard, Felperin says he must seek education and training as he works in the field in order to hone his skills and avoid the deterioration of his abilities.
PPO License Requirements
The Bureau of Security and Investigative Services states that a PPO must be at least 18 years old, possess at least one year of experience as a patrolman, guard or watchman, and pass a written examination. After passing a criminal history review by the Department of Justice, a PPO license can be earned. Only licensed PPOs can contract to provide bodyguard services. However, simply obtaining a PPO license will not allow a person to carry a gun in the open, which is a common requirement for hired protectors. In order to provide armed protection, a PPO license and exposed firearm permit are required.
Beware of Security Claims
Risks Incorporated is an organization that trains individuals in security tactics and bodyguard training. According to Risks Incorporated's website, the only legal requirements a person needs to be a bodyguard is a basic security guard or private investigator's license. The site warns that any investigation company that claims to employ "high-risk bodyguards" should not be immediately trusted as the licensing requirements are not stringent.
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Michael Staton began contributing professionally to several papers in South Carolina during 2005. He writes for "Upstate Be" magazine, covering local bands and writing his own weekly Internet column. He is also co-editor of a service industry magazine called "Industry." Staton holds a Bachelor of Arts in media studies from the College of Charleston.