Whether you want to jump right into the workforce or you’re looking for a career change, a job as a security guard can be rewarding and fulfilling. The road to becoming a security guard in Illinois is simple as long as you know what to do. In this guide, we’ll discuss how you can become a security guard in the state of Illinois, including the necessary training courses and licenses required.
Do You Need a License to Become a Security Guard in IL?
Yes, in Illinois, you are required to obtain a license to work as a private security contractor. The license is issued by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) and is known as a Permanent Employee Registration Card (PERC). You’ll need to complete a few steps before you can successfully apply for a PERC license, such as completion of the required training course and passing a background check.
How to Become an Unarmed Security Guard in Illinois
Here are the qualifications you must meet to become an Illinois security guard.
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Have a high school diploma or GED.
- Be a legal resident of the United States or have a valid work visa.
- You cannot have any felony convictions.
- You must complete an Illinois 20-hour basic security training course at a security guard training company approved by the state of Illinois. The course covers topics such as criminal law, patrol techniques, report writing, and emergency procedures.
- You must submit an application for a security guard license to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR). The application will require you to provide personal information, employment history, and information about your training.
- You must pass a criminal background check conducted by the Illinois State Police. The background check will review your criminal history, including arrests, convictions, and outstanding warrants.
- You must obtain a PERC (Permanent Employee Registration Card) from the IDFPR. The PERC card is a state-issued identification card that confirms you have met the qualifications to work as a security guard in Illinois.
Required Basic Training Course
To become a security guard in Illinois, you are required to complete a 20-hour basic security training course. This course can be completed online or in a classroom setting. The training program is usually completed over a two or three-day period and includes both classroom instruction and practical exercises. Once you complete the training, you will be issued a certificate of completion that you will need to submit with your security guard license application.
In this training course, you’ll get an overview of the security industry and its role in protecting people and property. You’ll also learn about the laws and regulations that govern the security industry, including criminal law, civil law, and constitutional law.
You’ll also receive more practical instruction, including how to conduct foot and vehicle patrols, monitor access points, respond to alarms, write accurate reports, communicate with clients and other security personnel, and handle difficult situations. The course also covers emergency procedures such as evacuation, shelter-in-place, and responding to medical emergencies. You’ll receive basic first aid and CPR training to prepare you to handle medical emergencies.
How to Become an Armed Security Guard in Illinois
The prerequisites and requirements to become an armed security guard in Illinois are much the same as an unarmed security guard. However, applicants must also complete a 20-hour firearms training course and meet the minimum age requirement of 21.
Required Training for Armed Security Guards
In Illinois, security guards who wish to carry a firearm on the job are required to complete a 20 or 40-hour firearm training course in addition to the 20-hour basic security training course. The firearm training course covers the legal aspects of firearm use, including the Illinois Firearms Owners Identification (FOID) card and concealed carry laws. The course also covers the safe handling and storage of firearms, as well as basic firearm maintenance and cleaning.
The practical section of the course teaches shooting techniques, including proper grip, stance, and sight alignment, as well as tactical and judgmental shooting. At the end of the course, you’ll be required to complete a range qualification test that measures your accuracy and proficiency with a firearm.
How to Apply for Your PERC License in Illinois
Applying for an Illinois PERC license is fairly simple. All of the steps below can be completed through the IDFPR online portal.
- Submit a Copy of Your Fingerprints. The IDFPR needs a copy of your fingerprints to verify your identity and perform a criminal background check. Fingerprints must be taken within 60 days from the date that the application is submitted and sent to an approved fingerprint vendor.
- Submit Your Social Security Number. Your SSN is necessary to identify whether you’ve failed to comply with a child support order, defaulted on a student loan, or defaulted on paying or filing taxes.
- Complete the PERC Application Packet. Complete the application packet and submit it via the online portal.
- Pay the Application Fee. Currently, the PERC application fee is $55.
Who is Exempt from the PERC License?
If you are already licensed as a detective, security contractor, alarm contractor, or locksmith in the state of Illinois, you do not need to apply for a PERC license to work as a security guard. Additionally, if you intend to apply for a Peace Officer License, you do not need a PERC license, but you must submit a Peace Officer Exemption Form (VE-PEC) with the state.
What Disqualifies You From Becoming a Security Guard in IL?
Before you begin the journey to becoming a security guard, take a look at the following items that disqualify you from becoming licensed.
- Being under 18 years of age.
- Not completing the required security training course and/or firearms training course.
- A criminal history.
- Felony convictions.
- Dishonorable discharge from the military.
- Physical or mental diseases that may interfere with security work.
- Previous denial of a PERC license.
- Failure to comply with a child support order, defaulting on a student loan, or defaulting on taxes.
How Long Does it Take to Become a Security Guard in Illinois?
The security guard training course itself only takes twenty hours to complete, which can easily be done over the span of a few days. The background check also takes about one to three business days to process. Both the PERC application and the security guard application could take a few weeks to process depending on the amount of paperwork the IDFPR has to go through.
If you plan to become an armed security guard, you’ll need to take either a 20-hour or 40-hour firearms training course. This training course can be completed over the span of a week or two, depending on the program.
Learn more about the Duties and Responsibilities of a Security Guard
How Much Can You Make as a Security Guard in IL?
The average salary for security guards in Illinois is on the lower side of the national average. The average salary for an unarmed security guard in Illinois is $14/hr, which generally equates to $29,000 per year. Armed security guards generally receive a higher salary than unarmed security guards. Armed security guards can make anywhere from $16-$19/hr, which equates to $33,000-39,000 per year.
A career as a security guard can be rewarding and present dozens of professional opportunities for you. NITA not only helps prepare you with the required pre-licensing courses but also offers continuing education and a tight-knit community to support you throughout your career. Jumpstart your career by partnering with NITA for all your security training needs.
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