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Security Guard Training Central

An online security training center with free information on security guard classes near you.

Learn how to become
a security guard today!


Learn the benefits of Guard Card classes and training programs, and the steps to complete the process.

PERC stands for Permanent Employee Registration Card, and is a requirement to become a security guard in the state of Illinois.

Becoming a licensed armed security guard is a prestigious position that often pays higher than unarmed positions.

Unarmed security guards act as a preliminary defense system, prior to police involvement. Security Guards are a vital part of the safety of public infrastructure.

Select your state below to find top Security Guard Training Programs and Schools near you:

Security Guard Training

Security guards are needed in many different venues across the country and around each state, from shopping malls, to offices, concerts, schools and apartment buildings, and even electrical distribution sites and nuclear power plants. Almost any place that draws a large amount of people, or has a resource which needs protection, requires security guards to be present and active. Security guards can work in the private sector (for individuals or private companies etc.) or may work in the public sector such as at an airport or in shopping centers. Some of the areas which requires security guards that people often forget about are power plants, gas companies, and other places where society’s resources are stored and distributed. Also, security guards are needed at special events, spectator sport events and especially campaign events across the country. Without security guards working in these areas we would have many more instances of crime and chaos in public areas, and resources in the country would go unprotected. Security guards act as a way to maintain law and order in areas where lots of people gather or many people filter through on a daily basis; they also serve to protect property in many different venues. In some ways they act as a barrier which prevents instances occurring that would require police involvement. Security guards are an extremely vital part of how our society runs in a relatively safe manner.

If you are thinking about becoming a security guard, or going through security training, you have come to the right place! Please allow us to thank you and congratulate you for looking into such a needed and valuable position in our society. Becoming a security guard is a wonderful way to be a contributing member of society as it brings a much needed element of safety to both public and private areas. Security guards are part of the infrastructure which this country relies on to protect people and their property from instances of criminal activity. Americans place high value on the safety of people and property, so any part of the system which acts to protect and serve is worthy of admiration and respect.

Perhaps you have been thinking about this profession for a while, or maybe you are just beginning your search into the possibility of security guard training. No matter what brought you to this site, we are glad you found it. Our hope is to provide relevant information about the security guard training process, training requirements, where to find classes, and how to find a job as a security guard, to any persons wishing to learn more about this noble career. This site contains information on such items as Guard cards, PERC cards, security gear, security classes, both armed security and unarmed security, security officers, security licenses, as well as information on security training, requirements, and jobs in all 50 states. We hope this information will assist you on your way to reaching whatever your security guard goals are, as well as equipping you with the needed knowledge regarding aspects of the job, training, and different certification or licenses.

Security Guard Jobs

Security guards are paid to protect people and property, and prevent criminal activity. This can be in a number of different locations and for many reasons. Luckily for those interested in working as a security guard: the demand for security guards across the country is high. It is becoming more and more common place to have security guards in all officer buildings, schools, apartment complexes, and medical centers in addition to shopping centers and airports (which is where the average person typically imagines the setting of a security guard). Security guards do a number of things in a number of different industries. The primary job of Security guards is to identify and prevent risky behavior in the location in which they work, decrease criminal activity by intervening before an criminal event may occur, communicate with and assist police in the instance of a crime, help people and law enforcement during an emergency situation in whatever capacity is necessary to ensure the safety of people and property. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the following list contains some of the most common industries which hire security guards to perform these duties:

  • General Medical and Surgical Hospitals
  • Elementary and secondary schools
  • Traveler accommodations (airports, hotels, resorts etc.)
  • Local government buildings, offices, people
  • Other business office buildings and their people
  • Event staff at large gatherings such as concerts or seminars
  • Spectator sports
  • Banks
  • Electrical power generation, transmission and distribution plants
  • Natural Gas distribution locations
  • Rail transportation
  • Performing arts companies
  • Apartment complexes, care homes, and gate communities
  • Private individual residents and people

All of the above places (and more) require the presence of a security guard or guards to maintain order and security for the people and property of the location. More and more jobs are being posted daily for positions such as these and new ones are being created all the time. Safety and security is a large priority for businesses, schools and people in general. We recommend you begin your online job search here.

How to Become a Security Guard

Each state has its own laws on what must be completed in order to work as a security guard, whether armed or unarmed. It is important to familiarize yourself with your own state laws and how to find security guard training within the state you live and wish to work. This site has a page for each state, this may help in finding minimum requirements and training sites in your specific state. Otherwise you may contact the Bureau of Security or the Division of Criminal Justice in the state in which you live to learn more about the various laws and requirements regarding work in the security sector.

Most states require that applicants be a minimum of 18 years old and be of legal status to work in the United States. Additionally, most states will also complete a background check and fingerprinting on individuals, a clean criminal record is required of individuals prior to being issued security guard credentials. Beyond this, the only major requirement is to complete security guard training and be properly certified to meet your state’s security guard requirements. Many states require training through a specific security guard training site prior to obtaining a job. There are some training courses offered online, but it is best to ensure that these online courses are accepted by the state in which you live prior to enrolling. Typically there is a minimum number of course hours required of a training program, as outlined by state law. After initial training is complete, and if a job is obtained there would then be additional hours of on the job training for the individual to complete. The number of on the job training hours to be completed is determined by state laws and differs from state to state. Some jobs may even require additional hours of training above and beyond what the state requires.

There are two types of security guard: unarmed security guards and armed security guards. There is more training required of a person who wishes to work as an armed guard (but typically it pays off in the long run as armed guards are often paid more than unarmed guards). In most states a person needs to be certified for unarmed security first, before applying to be trained as an armed security guard. One cannot simply skip or choose to be trained as an armed security guard, they must go through all the training steps and process of becoming an unarmed guard first, then go through the process of becoming an armed guard. This involves more hours of in class, as well as on the job, training hours. Both courses are required because the content of the 2 courses are very different from one another. In unarmed security guard training a person equipped with basic skills needed to work as security personal. Armed guard training involves specific training on firearms (use, care, laws etc.).

Unarmed Security Guard Training

Most states require a person to go through some sort of training course and certification process prior to being hired as a security guard. The license one receives through this training differs between states. For instance, in California the license a person receives after the required training is called a Guard Card. Once a person has their Guard Card they may apply for almost any unarmed security position. In Illinois and other states this license is called PERC Card. These cards also indicate that you have been fingerprinted and passed the criminal background check that needs to happen in most states in order to become certified to work as a security guard. Some states don’t require prior training, and training is done on the job. This is why it is important to know what the requirements are in the state you live and wish to work in. View the state page on this site for more information on the specific state in which you live.

The first step, then, to becoming a guard is knowing your state requirements. As stated above, most states require a person to be 18, have a clean criminal background check, and legally be allowed to work in the United States. The second step is signing up for and completing the initial training course for proper certification. Check out our state pages for further information regarding the state in which you reside. Often, these courses are offered in larger cities for a fee, and there is usually a fee to pay for the license upon completion of the course. Online courses are also available, but (as stated before) make sure that your state recognizes the online program before enrolling in order to prevent having to repeat training. Security guard training courses are usually around 20 hours’ worth of in classroom (or online) training. During these classes you will learn the basic laws a security guard must know, crime, legal basis of security, and how to manage people and property in a security guard capacity. The classroom setting will typically include book work as well as tests a person must pass in order to complete the course. Some course programs also help with job placement upon completion of the course. For this reason it may be beneficial to enroll in a course program in the city in which you live and wish to work, since there would be a better chance of the program personal helping you find work upon completion of the program. The third step would be to find a job. There are web posting for security guard openings, but it is also wise to check with local private security companies who hire out their guards to different sites. Once finding a job a guard will usually complete a certain number of on the job training hours which are required even after completing a training course and acquiring certification. For instance, California requires 16 additional training hours within the first 30 days of working as a security guard, and another 16 hours of training sometimes within the first 6 months of getting a security guard position. Other states have different requirements for the number of hours of training required.

Armed Security Guard Training

Almost every states requires that a security guard have their unarmed certification prior to being able to be trained for their armed certification. This means that in some states you would still need to follow each of the steps in the section above, obtain your Guard Card or PERC Card, and have on the job training hours completed before being accepted into a training course that would equip and certify you to work as an armed guard. Some states or areas do, however, offer a combination security guard training course which does prepare you to be either unarmed or armed. This means that you would complete all hours of training for both types of security positions at the same time. In the armed security training courses individuals will be taught about legal issues regarding firearms including liability. In addition to learning about laws and liability of handguns students are also taught safety and mechanics of firearms, marksmanship, as well as care of weapons.

Security Guard License Renewal and Reciprocity

As with most security guard license and certification, security guard credentials do expire and need to be renewed. Each state differs on how often certification needs to be renewed and what needs to be done in order to renew a license. Armed guards are typically required to complete additional training hours when their certification is up for renewal (this keeps armed guards up to date with new laws or education regarding the use of weapons on the job), whereas unarmed guards will often simply need to pay any related fees associated with renewing their certification in order to keep in up to date. It is always important to know the specific state laws where you live regarding certification and renewal in order to maintain valid credentials to work in the capacity of a security guard.

If you are certified as a security guard in one state and are moving to a different state you may not have to go through a training program a second time. Often a state will recognize a license from another state (so long as it is valid and up to date) and issue certification for a fee. If it is an armed security guard license, however, many states may require additional training to ensure that the security guard is trained on their particular state laws regarding weapons in the work force. You can check with the state Bureau of Security or Division of Criminal Justice to find out if they have specific rules on reciprocity between states.

Security Guard Salaries

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (or BLS) is a great source to look at average salaries for any particular field of work. According to the BLS, the average salary of a security guard in the United States is just over 28,000 a year, which averages out to 13.48 dollars per hour. An average salary means that there are people in the work force as security guards who make more than the average and people who make less, and people who make money at every point in between. For security guards, the low end of the pay scale is $8.25 an hour. Only 10% of the people working as security guards are making an income as low as that. The high end of the pay scale for security work is $21.25 per hour (although there are jobs in the security industry which pay even more than that) this equals out to over 44,000 a year, which is a decent income for a person who does not have a college degree. Again, however, it’s only about 10% of security guards in the country that make a salary close or above the high end of scale. The majority of security guards in this country fall into a pay bracket somewhere in between those two numbers, which is how the 13.48 an hour average is calculated.

The industry or location where a security guard is employed greatly effects how much money an individual will make. On the low end of the pay scale are the usual jobs that people think of for security guards: schools, hospitals, airports, and other local government offices. While the jobs that pay more are in areas such as rail transportation, performing arts, and natural gas or power companies. These jobs are usually harder to come by, but pay much more. Working at banks, for event security, and spectator sport arenas pay more than the first group mentioned above, but not quite as much as the second group listed. These are great pieces of knowledge to keep in mind when searching for a security guard position. Often people forget about the employment opportunities of protecting local resources and industry, and think more of shopping centers and schools when looking for a security guard position. Thinking outside the box may mean more money in the long run.

Another factor in how much a security guard gets paid is location. Certain states have higher averages in pay than others. Some of this has to do with job demand in those states, and it also has to do with cost of living in states. States which have a lower cost of living tend to pay less than states with a higher cost of living. This has to do primarily with supply and demand. Companies always try to hire people for a job at the minimum of what a person will accept. In states with lower cost of living expenses, people are more likely to accept an offer for a job which has a lower salary, because the income will still cover their basic needs. People who live in an area where housing and other items are more expensive will hold out for jobs which offer enough to cover their needs. The chart below shows average yearly salaries of security guards by state.

average security guard salary by state Image courtesy of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Not only does the state in which you live influence the amount a security guard makes, but also the city in which a security guard is employed. Larger cities typically have higher crime rates, and a bigger need for people working in the security industry. Often jobs in large cities have a much more competitive pay than security jobs in smaller towns or rural areas. There are many factors that influence the income a person can make when working as a security guard. All of these should be taken into consideration by a newly certified guard while they are looking for employment.