A security Guard Card is a license which shows that you have gone through the proper training and have achieved certification to work in the capacity of a security guard. In the past security guard work was not taken as seriously as it is now. In this day and age, when safety is a high priority in our country, security guard work is taken much more seriously than it has been in history. Working as a security guard now is similar to working as a police officer. In fact security guard work is part of the infrastructure set up in our country to prevent crime. Police officers deal with crimes when they happen, or catch people in the act of a crime, while a security guard’s roll is to prevent crimes from happening in the first place. One could argue that security guard work (if done to its full potential) could be more important than police work since preventing the crime from happening in the first place is what is in everyone’s best interest. If this line of work interests you, and you are wondering how to get a Guard Card, you have come to the right place. Below we outline the benefits of Guard Card classes and training programs, and the steps to complete the process.
Guard Card Training Requirements
In order to obtain a security guard job a person needs the proper paperwork. In the states of California, Arizona, and Hawaii a person wishing to work as a security guard needs to first obtain a Guard Card. In CA this means taking a training course in security guard work to achieve a California Guard Card upon completion of the training.
According to the California Bureau of Security and Investigative Services fact sheet from July of 2012 the requirements of a person wishing to become a security guard are similar to that of most states: individuals must be at least 18 years old, they must have a criminal background check done through both the FBI and the California Department of Justice, and finally they must complete at minimum of 40 hours’ worth of Guard Card training. The training requirements are also laid out on the Bureau of Security’s fact sheet. The first requirement of Guard Card training is to complete an 8 hour training course prior to getting a job as a security guard. This course is called the “Power to Arrest” course. It can be done online or in person at various training sites or schools. There is an exam at the end of the course, passing this exam is the requirement for applying with the Bureau of Security for proper licensing.
After the 8 hour “Power to Arrest” is completed and the test is passed, individuals in Guard Card classes for security are then required to submit their online application to www.bsis.ca.gov/forms_pubs/online_services/online_licensing.shtml. The total cost of the online application process is $51.00. The application fee itself is 50 dollars and there is an additional dollar fee which is the online convenience fee.
The next step is to get fingerprinting done through Live Scan. The forms for Live Scan are found on the Bureau’s website, and these are the only ones that may be used. It is the individual’s responsibility to find a site to have the fingerprinting done, and also to pay the associated fees. As stated before, there is fingerprinting that needs to be run through the FBI and the California Department of Justice. The FBI charges $17 to process the fingerprints, and DOJ charges $32. This means that the cost of fingerprinting for the security Guard Card is a total of $49. In order to find a location to do the fingerprinting a person may follow this link: http://ag.ca.gov/fingerprints/publications/contact.php . The forms needed for Live Scan processing are located at this site for downloading: www.bsis.ca.gov/forms_pubs/livescan/guard.pdf .
After the California Bureau of security has gotten the application (which had proof of passing the 8 hour class), and the fingerprinting has been cleared through both the FBI and DOJ, then the cleared security guard will show up on a list on the Bureau’s website. Once the person appears on the Bureau’s website, Guard Card verification can occur by visiting: http://www2.dca.ca.gov/pls/wllpub/wllqryna$lcev2.startup?p_qte_code=G&p_qte_pgm_code=2420
A print out of the verification page on the bureau’s website will suffice as registration prior to getting the Guard Card. This printout can mean that the person with proper registration may now look for placement as a security guard and may use the proof of registration as their credentials prior to getting the actual copy of registration credentials by mail within 10 to 15 days. Security Guards must then always keep a copy of their registration with them along with a valid photo ID.
The California Bureau of Security still also accepts applications and fees by mail. For those wishing to do so need to submit completed security guard applications along with a $50 registration fee and a Security Guard Live Scan form signed by the Live Scan operator, including the ATI number. A $32 DOJ fingerprint processing fee, $17 FBI fingerprint processing fee must be paid at the Live Scan site. Send the application package to the following address:
Bureau of Security and Investigative Services
P.O. Box 989002
West Sacramento, CA 95798-9002
Getting Your Guard Card Online
Getting your security Guard Card in California can be as easy as taking an online course and getting your fingerprinting completed through Live Scan. The online courses are relatively cheap and only take a matter of hours. In no time at all a person can be on the job site as a security guard. There are a number of ways to complete the Guard Card training process. Some people choose to simply do the required 8 hour “Power of Arrest” training first. They then apply for their registration and complete the rest of the required 40 hours of training within the allotted time. Others may choose to pay for and do all 40 hours of training at once. Either way, a person can quickly accomplish the required security Guard Card classes and be out making a difference in the world.
A simple google search of ‘guard card online’ brings up many options for online training programs which are approved by the California Bureau of Security. Different sites offer programs at different costs, so it may be wise to shop around a bit. It’s important to ensure that a program is BSIS certified. This means that the state of California recognizes the programs validity. One of the more competitive sites as far as cost and quality is: http://www.palladiumonlinesecurity.com/. $15.99 is the cost for the minimum 8 hour starting requirement. They then have options for the required hours within the first 30 days of work and the hours needed to be completed in 6 months. They also have an option to pay for all 40 required hours at once.
The convenience of Guard Card online training hours is a benefit to people with schedules that may not allow for in-person courses. The flexibility of being able to learn when you have the time and even choosing to complete the Guard Card training during the hours of the day when you are most alert and can absorb the material being taught, is one of the nicest perks to Guard Card online programs. Some people are most alert at night, while others may think better first thing in the morning. It would be advisable to evaluate when you are at your best (mentally and physically) and complete the course work at these times. This way the information that will equip you while working as a security guard will be learned and remembered. Take the course work seriously, even if completing it online, as this is the information that will equip a person to become a good security guard.
The Guard Card Verification Process
Once a person has completed their minimum 8 hours of initial Guard Card training and their fingerprinting through Live Scan has been cleared, they will be listed on the California Bureau of Security’s website. This is how employers conduct Guard Card verification that you are (in fact) a certified security guard and can be hired for work. In order to find yourself or someone else, simply visit the BSIS site: http://www2.dca.ca.gov/pls/wllpub/wllqryna$lcev2.startup?p_qte_code=G&p_qte_pgm_code=2420 and search a name.
Keep in mind that the Guard Card training hours required in addition to initial 8, need to be completed in the time frame that California state law requires. If they are not completed in this time frame your certification will become invalid. 8 hours is simply the minimum to begin with, after the first 8 hours of training (along with a cleared fingerprinting from Live Scan) a person may apply and begin working as a security guard. Within the first 30 days of completing the initial certification, a person must complete an additional 16 hours of training. And then another 16 hours of Guard Card classes is required within the following 6 months. Completing all of these hours is the only way to keep a license valid.
Renewing Your Guard Card
In the state of California Guard Card renewal must occur every two years. Around 3-6 months prior to your Guard Card expiring, a security guard needs to download the renewal application, complete it and send it in with the appropriate fees. If your security Guard Card is renewed prior to expiring, the fee is $35. If your card has expired and it has been less than 60 days since the expiration the Guard Card renewal fee is $60. It is VITAL that a person renews their Guard Card on time, or within the 60 day grace period. If a Guard Card is expired past the 60 day grace period it can no longer be renewed. If the Guard Card expires the person must go through the entire training process again (along with getting re-fingerprinted etc.). It is important that a person is able to renew their Guard Card on time to avoid having to re-do their entire certification process.