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Physical Security Certification and Certificate Program Information

Read about certificate programs that prepare students for careers in physical security. Discover what is needed to enroll in these programs, and browse the topics students learn in the classroom. See career and certification options along with employment outlook statistics.

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Essential Information

Security guards are responsible for protecting individuals from physical harm and protecting properties from potential theft or fire. While there are no strict educational requirements for the career, some aspiring security guards might consider enrolling in a Private Security Certificate program, which is specifically designed to train individuals to become entry-level security guards.

Candidates must be in good physical condition and have a high school diploma. Some private security certificate programs also allow students to transfer credits over to associate's degree programs in law enforcement or criminal justice. After completing an approved educational program, students might qualify to become licensed. In addition, they could apply to become certified.

Education Prerequisites

Students interested in enrolling in a private security certificate program are often asked to hold a high school diploma or GED. Additionally, interested individuals should be physically fit and able to take on the sometimes demanding physical duties of a security guard.

Program Coursework

Courses in criminal justice theory and procedure generally make up the backbone of private security certificate programs. The courses provide students with a basic background in criminal law, criminalistics and measurements of public safety. Students also receive training in the various methods of identifying potential threats, overseeing physical security operations and communicating threats to police officers.

Some examples include:

  • Introduction to the criminal justice system
  • Criminal law
  • Basics of criminal investigation
  • Physical security concepts
  • Physical security operations
  • Police, law and ethics
  • Criminology
  • Delinquent behavior

Popular Career Options

Graduates of a certificate program in private security have the education and training necessary to gain several different positions in the security field. Some options might include:

  • Security guard
  • Retail security patroller
  • Armored car guard
  • Private protection guard
  • Gaming surveillance officer

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), security guards and gaming surveillance officers should see 18% employment growth during the 2010-2020 decade ( This growth is about as fast as average. The BLS also reported that security guards earned a median annual wage of $23,970 in May 2012. Gaming surveillance officers and gaming investigators earned a higher median annual wage of $29,610.

Certification Options

Several states do require that security guards gain licensure by completing a training program and passing a background check. Those security guards who carry guns must gain additional licensure. Security guards can also elect to gain national certification from ASIS International.

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