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Security Guard Certificate and Certification Program Information

Find out what you can learn in a security guard certificate program and if certification is required. See a few examples of classes and get information on basic admissions requirements and the employment growth for security officers.

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Essential Information

Security guard certificate programs teach students security basics, as well as legal, communication and ethical conduct. Certain age and education prerequisites must be met before applying for admission. After earning a certificate, graduates may qualify for state licensure, because most states require that security guards obtain state licensure before seeking employment in the field.

Although certification generally isn't a requirement to work as a security guard, it could provide employment or advancement opportunities. Recertification courses are also available to security guards already employed in the field. Certificates and certification courses could also serve as a foundation for enrolling in 2-year or 4-year degree programs.

Education Prerequisites

Prior to enrolling in a certificate program, students are generally required to possess a high school diploma or its equivalent. Programs may also require that applicants be 21 prior to enrollment.

Course Topics

Students may learn to work as both armed and unarmed security officers. Courses can prepare students to work at a variety of locations, such as schools, malls, retail stores, government offices and subway stations. Program coursework is designed to educate students about safety regulations and how to handle thefts and fires. Other coursework that might be part of a certificate program includes:

  • Security basics
  • Crime scene conduct
  • Legal responsibilities
  • Ethics
  • Communications
  • Public relations
  • Access control

Employment Outlook & Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that between 2008 and 2018 employment growth for security guards and gaming surveillance officers was an estimated 14%, which is faster than average (www.bls.gov). Much of the projected growth was attributed to increased concerns regarding theft and vandalism, as well as an increase in the use of private security firms. The BLS reported that as of May 2010, the middle half of security guards earned between $19,540 and $31,030.

Security Guard Certification and Continuing Education Information

Most states require that security guards be licensed or certified before they can work in the field. To qualify for licensure, most states require that applicants be at least 18, pass a background check and receive classroom training. Certification courses often instruct students on testifying in court, writing reports, firearm training, legal use of deadly force and crime scene preservation.

Security guards can also become Certified Protection Officers (CPO), a designation offered by the International Foundation for Protection Officers (IFPP). Certificates and certification might also prepare students to obtain an associate's or bachelor's degree in criminal justice or a related field.

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