Security Guard Certificate and Certification Program Information

Security guard certificate programs teach students security basics, as well as communications skills and ethical conduct. They could serve as a foundation for a 2-year or 4-year degree program in criminal justice or a related field.

Essential Information

Age and education prerequisites typically must be met before applying for admission to a security guard certificate program. Most states require that security guards be registered before seeking employment in the field. Also, voluntary certification is available and could lead to employment or advancement opportunities.

  • Program Levels for Security Guards: Certificate
  • Prerequisites: High school diploma or equivalent, be 21 years old (depends on program).
  • Other Requirements: Registration often required before working.
  • Online Availability: Online courses and programs are available.

Security Guard Certificate

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 courses might include:

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

Employment Outlook & Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that between 2012 and 2022 employment growth for security guards and gaming surveillance officers is estimated at 12%,an average growth rate (www.bls.gov). Much of the projected growth is 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 2014, security guards earned an average of $28,040 per year.

Security Guard Certification and Continuing Education Information

Most states require that security guards be registered before they can work in the field. To register, applicants need to be at least 18, pass a background check and receive classroom training.

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

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