Online Education in Loss Prevention: Certificate Program Coursework

Loss Prevention security guards work in retail locations to prevent theft by identifying suspicious behavior, often by blending in with the crowd. They work closely with law enforcement in the apprehension of shoplifters and directly impact the bottom line profitability of their retail employers. Online certificate programs in loss prevention prepare the graduates for careers in loss prevention by developing the concepts and skills required in this field.

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Online Certificate Coursework in Loss Prevention

Online coursework in loss prevention is conducted electronically and requires a high school diploma or GED, basic computer skills, requisite software and an Internet connection. Certificate programs are offered by community colleges, vocational schools and private security companies. Each certificate program offers its own curriculum and may use different course names than other related programs, but all programs will share common foundational course topics. Below is a list of possible topics that may be included in loss prevention coursework.

Criminal Justice

These courses instruct students on the basics of criminology. They may offer an overview of criminal law, the justice system, legal foundations, the penal system, ethics, offender processing and methods of theft. Some criminal psychology topics may be covered as well.

Loss Prevention

The principles of loss prevention are learned, including causes of loss, safety management and risk assessment. Students learn how to respond appropriately in stressful situations. Common equipment used in loss prevention, such as alarms, electronic article surveillance, closed circuit television and access control, may be discussed. In addition, topics covering electronics, technology and law may be covered.


These courses might emphasize the prevention of security problems and the importance of adhering to effective security measures. Store opening and closing procedures, stock shrinkage, merchandise flow, business disruption, foot and video surveillance, cash control measures, point-of-sale monitoring, sales floor monitoring and customer return issues are all topics that may be covered in a security class.

Loss Investigation

Courses in this topic area might include retail investigation basics, investigative interviewing techniques, statement taking, report writing, physical evidence preservation, evidence collection, legal proof elements, confidentiality, record keeping and court testimony. Graduates should know how to fill out forms required by local and state authorities.

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