Security guards are pivotal to maintaining order and ensuring safety in our day-to-day lives. Schools, banks, apartment complexes, concert venues, and more all rely on security guards to protect the public and personnel in these spaces. Because there are so many places that require security guard services, a career as a security guard can be easily achievable.
Working as a security guard can be incredibly fulfilling and rewarding. Fortunately, a career as a security guard is closer than you think. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about getting your California guard card so you can begin your new career as a security guard as quickly as possible.
What is a Guard Card?
In order to become a registered security guard in the state of California, you must first get your official guard card issued by the California Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (BSIS). A guard card is a license issued by the state of California that certifies you’ve undergone the necessary training to become a security guard. You cannot begin your career as a security guard in California without undergoing this process.
Requirements of a California Guard Card
In order to receive a California guard card and register as a security guard in California, there are certain requirements you must meet. There are no exceptions to these requirements.
- You must be at least 18 years old.
- You must undergo a criminal background check through the California Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
- You must complete a 40-hour training course.
How to Become a Security Guard in California
Becoming a security guard in California is a fairly simple and straightforward process. To apply for a guard card, you must first complete 8 hours of pre-licensing courses which consist of Power to Arrest training.
Once the first 8 hours of training are complete, you can submit your guard card application to BSIS.
As a registered CA Security Guard, BSIS requires an additional 32 hours of training that need to be completed within 6 months from the initial registration.
The timeline for this training is as follows:
- 16 hours within the first 30 days and
- 16 hours within the first 6 months.
You will be required to complete the first 16 hours of training within 30 days. The first required 16 hours of training consists of 8 hours of BSIS Mandatory training and 8 hours of BSIS Elective Courses Training.
BSIS Mandatory training includes topics on Public Relations, Observation and Documentation, Communication and its Significance, and the Liability and Legal Aspects of being a security guard. The elective training from the CA BSIS includes industry-related security topics.
Once the first 16 hours are complete, you’ll need to finish up the remaining 16 hours of training within 6 months. This additional 16 hours of training follows the same guidelines: 8 hours of BSIS Mandatory training and 8 hours of BSIS elective training.
Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming a Security Guard in California
What Qualifications are Needed?
To be an unarmed security guard, you must be able to meet the guard card requirements, complete the 40-hour training courses, pass the necessary exams, and submit your application to BSIS.
To become an armed security guard in the state of California, separate firearm training is required. Security guard prospects must complete 14 hours of training, consisting of 8 hours in the classroom and 6 hours on a Bureau-approved range. Once training is completed, your firearm permit will be valid for two years, but you must requalify once per year.
How Long Does it Take?
To become a licensed security guard in California, you must complete a total of 40 hours of training. However, only 8 hours of training are required before you can submit your guard card application and be hired as a security guard. So, you can begin working as a security guard while completing the remaining 32 hours of training.
All 40 hours of training don’t need to be completed at once. In fact, you have 30 days after the initial 8-hour training to complete the next 16 hours of training. The final 16 hours of training can be completed within 6 months of the start of training.
What Disqualifies You from Becoming a Security Guard?
Violent crimes and felonies disqualify you from becoming a security guard in California. Other convictions and misdemeanors are handled on a case-by-case basis.
How Old Do You Need to Be?
You must be 18 years or older to receive your California guard card and become a licensed security guard.
Do You Need a License?
Yes, you need to qualify for the California guard card to become a security guard in California. If you intend to work as an armed security guard, you’ll also need to undergo firearm training and receive a firearm permit.
How Much Does it Cost?
You’ll be expected to pay $55 for the BSIS guard card application as well as $49 (+ additional fees) for fingerprinting services. You’ll also need to pay for your security guard training courses which will vary in cost depending on where you go.
How Much Can You Make as a Security Guard?
Several factors influence how much you can make as a California security guard. Tenure, experience, firearm permits, and more can influence your yearly salary.
As of January 2023, the average salary for an armed security guard in California is $49,594. Lower-level positions pay about $39,116, while higher-level positions pay around $62,769. Unarmed security guards make $39,213 on average. Lower-level positions pay around $39,213 while higher-level positions pay around $48,715.
Where to Get California Guard Card Training
NITA is an approved BSIS Training School License #ATG 2939 to provide 32 hours of BSIS-required training online for your convenience. Learn everything you need to know about crowd control, public relations, liability and legal issues, fire safety, incident scene control, and more. Our courses will help you quickly meet all the training requirements needed to become a security guard so you can start your new career right away.
Start Your Security Guard Career Path Today
Ready to start your new career as a security guard in California? Choose NITA as your trusted partner and receive the necessary training supported by a world-class team of instructors, become part of a community of other security professionals, and find your new dream job. We’re ready to help you succeed.
You might also like: