In California, you must have a “Guard Card” from the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (BSIS) before you start working as a security guard. If you are interested in security guard employment in CA, follow these steps in order to be issued your guard card.
To become eligible for a security guard card, you must be at least 18 years of age and be able to pass criminal background checks performed by the California Department of Justice as well as the FBI (see the BSIS Security Guard fact sheet here).
An eight-hour training course titled “The Power to Arrest” must be taken before a card can be issued. This course is available online, but live courses are also offered in San Diego County. An end-of-course examination is required to receive a certificate.
Download a Security Guard Request for Live Scan form from the BSIS website. Fingerprints are required as part of the FBI background check. As such, the application must be taken to Live Scan provider authorized by the Bureau. A list of those providers are available from the agency. All fees are payable at the time of service, and are the responsibility of the applicant.
Once you have completed the DOJ and FBI background check requirements, you may attach your certificate of completion for the required training course to your application. Submit your paperwork to the BSIS along with an application fee of $50. Your application will be processed over the course of the next four to six weeks.
After receiving your license, you must then complete 32 hours of additional training within the next six months. This training is also available online, and will cover topics such as public relations, communication, legal aspects, and officer safety.
To keep your license current, you must complete an additional eight hours of continuing education each year. The additional 32-hour course taken during the first year does not count toward this requirement.
A guard card is valid for two years, after which time you must renew. You will receive a notice in the mail approximately 90 days prior to expiration. At that time, you must complete a renewal application and pay a renewal fee of $35.
You have a grace period of 60 days following your card’s expiration date. If you renew within that time frame, you must pay a $60 fee. If more than 60 days has elapsed, you will need to begin the application process all over again.
For more information on BSIS guard card and security services training, see our page here.
Security guards in the state of California have numerous opportunities, and can even choose to upgrade their skills to become an armed guard, tear gas user, or baton carrier. The more skills you display, the greater the odds are of landing a well-paying, respectable position as a security officer.