Someone who wants to become a security guard must first obtain a high school diploma, then engage in on-the-job training. Some states and employers may also request that the guard has a higher education degree in police studies or criminal justice.
While many employers and states request that security guards complete their high school education, some may accept applicants who have not. In a few cases, completing a 2-year or 4-year degree in police studies or criminal justice is necessary.
Individuals who meet the minimum academic requirements must engage in a training period. Certain states recommend that security guards have an 8-hour training period before engaging in any work. Others allow guards to learn on the job. Most security guards are able to learn their skills within a few weeks. During this time they focus on detaining suspected criminals, communication skills and emergency procedures. Many courses also focus on first aid, diffusing situations, public relations and any training that is relevant to the guard's specific assignment. Armed security guards need more training than unarmed guards. In addition to engaging in weapons training, they are periodically assessed on their firearms skills.
In most states, security guards must be at least 18 years old, they need to pass a criminal background check and they must complete their training period. Some jobs also require a driver's license.