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Malls, apartment complexes, hotels, and convention centers all need security guards. Whether you’re interested in starting a business as a security firm or just becoming a security guard, you’ll need a security license to get started.

Types of Security Licenses

Depending on the work you’ll be doing, you’ll need one of the following types of security business licenses:

  • Private security guard company license
  • Armed security guard license
  • Unarmed security guard license

If you’re starting a security company, you will need additional business licenses, permits & tax documents, so check with your security licensing bureau to find out what else you need to apply for.

The Process for Becoming a Security Company

While obtaining the security license for a company will vary from state to state, the process will more or less be similar wherever you live. In Washington state, for example, all owners must be at least 21 years old and US citizens. They must have no criminal convictions related to being able to perform the duties of a private security guard.

To get a security license for a business, you must submit a security license application, as well as the associated fee. You’ll also need to get your fingerprints taken and/or a background check. Washington requires proof of three years’ experience working in the security guard business or related field. If you don’t have this, you’ll have to take an exam to prove your knowledge of the industry. You also need a certificate of liability insurance with at least $25,000 in coverage.

Becoming a Security Guard

If you’re not looking to start a security business, you can simply apply for a security license as an individual. There are online courses you can take to train you on all things related to security. If you will be an armed guard, you will have more rigorous coursework, as your state wants to ensure you know how to handle a weapon.

You’ll also need to have on-the-job training before you can get your security license, as well as pass an exam. Once you’ve jumped through these hoops, getting your security license is a breeze!

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