What is a PERC Card?

A PERC Card is one of the types of certification criteria a person must meet and have in the state of Illinois to work as a security guard. To get a security guard license in the state of Illinois, a person must first attain their PERC Card. So what is a PERC Card? PERC stands for Permanent Employee Registration Card. This card is verification to a possible employer that an individual has undergone and passed state and federal background checks and fingerprinting (ensuring that they have not been convicted of any felony charges etc.). This ensures that every person working as a security guard (who has obtained this certification) has passed a background check prior to becoming employed as security personal. If a company hires an individual for a security position who does NOT have a PERC Card, both the company and the individual will be fined heavily, if caught. It is unlikely, therefore, that a person would be able to obtain any type of security position in the state of Illinois without first obtaining their PERC Card as security companies know the risk of hiring someone without the proper certification (outlined by Illinois state law).

An important point to remember is that having a PERC Card doesn’t automatically ensure that a person will get a job as a security guard, it only permits the person to apply and be considered for a position since they are equipped with the proper certification. A security company may, however, have many applicants with proper certification and will then choose accordingly based on their hiring criteria. The reason that the state requires an Illinois PERC Card prior to applying, is to ensure that anyone who IS hired, has undergone and passed both state and federal criminal background checks and fingerprinting. It ensures that this step has already been done, which prevents companies who may skip the background checks (because of time or money) from hiring a person who is convicted felon to work in a position of authority and security. Illinois state laws regarding the necessity of obtaining a PERC Card prior to applying for work in a security position were passed to protect the people of the state by making sure individuals in security employment have clean records (and therefore are hopefully good citizens and worthy of trust). Also, know that a PERC Card is not the ONLY required certification to work as a security guard. The PERC Card is only one of the proper documents needed. Security companies will also want to evidence of a completed security guard training course, or they may offer a training classes through their firm. Some firms may even offer PERC Card classes or training to begin the process. Either way, before actually working as a security guard a person must have a PERC Card AND have completed security guard training classes (which is typically a 20 hour course).

How to get a PERC Card

In order to get an Illinois PERC Card a person must first meet the minimum requirements to apply for one. If a person meets these requirements they may then properly and fully complete and submit a PERC Card application to the state of Illinois. In order to apply for a PERC Card an applicant must be at least 18 years old, they will need to provide their social security number, a photograph of themselves (which must meet the requirements which are outlined on the PERC Card application), they must submit the required security clearance documents and pay the corresponding application fee (the application fee is currently set at 55 dollars). There are a lot of steps listed above, so in order to make it a little more clear, the next section details a step by step process of how to obtain a PERC Card within the state of Illinois.

PERC Card Training Steps

Step one: A person who wishes to obtain their PERC Card to work as a security guard in Illinois must be 18 years old in order to apply. This person also must have a social security number and be legally able to work in the United States. If a person meets these requirements they may move on to step 2.

Step two: Download, print and complete the PERC Card application. The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Registration has the PERC Card application available to download on their website: The packet that you will download is an Adobe file which includes an instruction sheet, the actual application, an employee statement form, and a fingerprint submission inventory sheet.

Make sure that you read all of the instructions on the application prior to filling out and completing all the necessary steps. Also, the website requests that individuals print the PERC Card application on white paper and use blank ink when filling out the document. Complete every single part of the application, as it will be returned if it is incomplete or not completed properly. An application will also be returned if it is too hard to read, so make sure that the writing is neat and clear.

Step three: Schedule and complete fingerprinting for a full criminal background check to be run and submitted. The PERC Card application suggests visiting this website:, to find a fingerprinting vendor near you, and to schedule a fingerprinting appointment. The fingerprinting results will be sent to the ISP (Illinois State Police Department), but a receipt showing that the fingerprinting has been completed will be given to you at the time you complete it. This receipt needs to be submitted with the application and application fee to show that the fingerprinting portion has in fact been completed. In addition, there is a form in the application packet to be completed which is a statement that a person HAS completed the fingerprinting prior to sending in the application. It may be wise to do both, send in the receipt and complete and submit the FP form as part of the application.

Note: if you are an out of state person who is applying for an Illinois PERC Card, there are additional steps in the application (which are outlined on the application directions and within the paperwork). It is important to read all directions on the PERC Card application and make sure that each step is completed in the way the application outlines.

Step four: Send in the fully completed PERC Card application with the receipt that you have completed the fingerprinting, along with the $55 application fee to:

Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation
ATTN: Division of Professional Regulation
P.O. Box 7007
Springfield, Illinois 62791

Step five: Wait for clearance. A person whose application is accepted and whose background check has cleared will be issued the PERC Card. Keep in mind that this is NOT the only required documentation needed in the state of Illinois to obtain a security guard job. Those wishing to work as a security guard in Illinois need to have an IL PERC Card AND security guard license. A PERC Card is NOT a security guard license, it is simply a card showing that person has had a background check and fingerprinting, and has security clearance by the state of Illinois. The actual security guard certification process in Illinois typically consists of 20 hours of course work through a community college or security firm. It may be wise to wait for PERC clearance prior to completing security guard training classes, as the security certification will be useless without the PERC Card.

PERC Card Renewal

On the application which is required to obtain a PERC Card, there is a disclaimer about when a PERC Card expires and how it is to be renewed. It states that “this PERC Card shall expire May 31, 2012 and every 3 years following.” A person will be notified by mail about 90 days before their PERC Card is about to expire in order for them to renew it on time. For this reason it is important to always keep a valid address on file with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Registration. If you already have a PERC Card and are unsure when it expires you may look up your license on this website: This website also contains links for PERC Card renewal online, direction on how to renew over the phone, and other frequently asked questions about the PERC Card renewal process, or how to put a PERC Card on hold if you are not planning on using it for a time but would like to keep it active.

Also, it is important to note that if you have submitted a PERC Card application but did not complete the process you are NOT to apply again. Also, if your PERC Card expired you are NOT to submit another application. In both of these instances a person would need to contact the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Registration for further instructions on how to either complete an unfinished application process, or renew an old or expired PERC Card. Contact information for these situations is: (217) 782-0458 or (217) 782-8556. These are the telephone numbers for the Springfield, IL Department of Financial and Professional Regulations office, and should be used in rare instances such as the 2 listed above. Also, if you have a valid PERC Card, but the card was lost, you may submit a written request for a duplicate card along with a $20 reprint fee to this address:

Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation
ATTN: Division of Professional Regulation
P.O. Box 7007
Springfield, Illinois 62791

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

Featured Criminal Justice Schools