How to Become a Security Guard in Illinois

How to Become a Security Guard in Illinois

Pursuing a security guard career is noble and requires a distinct combination of knowledge and hard work. By learning how to get a security guard license in Illinois, you can open the doors to a profession essential for the safety and well-being of people and property in businesses and homes.

The road from aspiring to licensed security guard differs from state to state and can be complex. This guide walks you through the steps to becoming a security guard in Illinois and provides additional vital information to help you succeed in your career.

Prerequisites for Becoming a Certified Illinois Security Guard

Before you work through the training and licensing steps to become a security guard, you must meet several state requirements:

  • Age: Candidates must be at least 18 years old.
  • Citizenship: U.S. citizens or those authorized to work legally in Illinois can apply.
  • Education: You’ll need a high school diploma or GED equivalent.
  • Language: Illinois security guards must be fluent in written and spoken English.
  • Background: You must pass state and federal criminal record checks with zero felonies or convictions against your name.
  • Training: The state requires you to have completed an approved 20-hour security training course covering various topics.

Steps to Becoming a Licensed Illinois Security Guard

To become a certified security guard eligible to work in Illinois, you must follow these steps.

1. Take the Basic Training Course

Completing the 20-hour unarmed security officer certification course is the first step in the process and must be done through a licensed training provider. You can take these classes online or in an in-person classroom setting over two or three days. Aspiring security guards who are 21 years and older and who wish to carry a firearm must complete an additional 20- or 40-hour firearm training course.

The basic training classes cover numerous crucial topics through theoretical learning and practical exercises, including criminal, civil and constitutional law basics. Comprehensive training on effective patrols, access control, emergency protocols, report writing, client and team communication, and handling challenging situations will also be part of the course.

Candidates who successfully complete the 20-hour basic training course receive an official certificate of completion.

2. Apply for a PERC License

Applying for your Permanent Employee Registration Card (PERC) license in Illinois is relatively straightforward. You can complete the application through the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) website, where you’ll need to complete the following tasks:

  • Provide your fingerprints: These must be obtained through a state-approved vendor that can verify your identity and perform a background check to ensure you have no criminal record.
  • Submit proof of identification: The IDFPR requires applicants to submit identity documents, including a social security number, date and place of birth, and passport photo.
  • Pay the application fee: Applying for a PERC license involves an application fee, which you should find stipulated on the application form.

3. Apply for an IL Security Guard License

With your PERC license and basic training in hand, you can apply for your Illinois security license through the IDFPR online application portal. While applying, you must submit a copy of your basic training certificate, PERC license and other documentation. After application, it can take up to a few weeks to receive approval from the IDFPR.


Landing Your First Security Guard Job

Entering the job market once you’ve received your Illinois security guard license can seem daunting. However, this field offers plenty of job opportunities due to the high demand for security guards. Security is a high priority for many, from corporate companies to high-profile individuals and families, and finding fully licensed and qualified security guards who can provide monitoring activities or protection services can be challenging.

Several opportunities become available after you get your security license in IL, backed by your training and background checks. Finding a fitting appointment is merely a matter of being diligent and persistent in your job application efforts.

Finding Work as a Security Guard in the Private Sector

The private sector presents multiple job opportunities and roles for security personnel, including monitoring fire extinguishers at a facility and controlling access to a parking area at a security gate. Finding work in this sector is typically easiest through a professional Illinois security guard company servicing an array of clients.

These companies often provide additional on-the-job training to help you develop other essential skills and grow your career, making them an ideal starting point. Should the open position require vehicle patrolling duties, you’ll need a valid driver’s license to apply.

Finding Work as a Security Guard in the Public Sector

Working in law enforcement, correctional services or a military setting can be incredibly rewarding, but qualifying for positions like these requires more than your basic training program. Candidates applying for public sector security jobs must be at least 21 years old and have three years of relevant supervisory experience. In some cases, police training, public sector work experience or experience working as part of a sizeable team for a contract security agency may suffice as a substitute.

A clean criminal record, liability insurance and your peers’ verification of good character are required to work in the public sector. You’ll also need to sit for an exam comprising questions related to federal and state law, licensing requirements and the general practice of security. Candidates can access an online study guide to prepare for the exam and must pass with a minimum of 70% to qualify.

Illinois public sector security guard positions almost always require candidates to have a valid driver’s license, and many roles call for armed security personnel.

Typical Security Guard Duties in Illinois

Security guard duties vary significantly from one employee or site to the next. Those pursuing a security guard career in Illinois can generally expect to encounter duties such as:

  • Patrolling and inspecting locations: Routine foot or vehicle patrols and inspections may be part of your daily duties on different sites, including monitoring equipment, safety issues, unusual activity and potential hazards.
  • Logging and reporting activity: Depending on the site and your role, you may have to log each patrol and inspection and report incidents, hazards, maintenance issues and anything out of the ordinary.
  • Responding to emergencies: Security guards must respond rapidly to alarms, identify problems, execute emergency procedures, and communicate with supervisors and emergency personnel.
  • Assisting and talking to customers: Whether in an office or retail setting, Illinois security guards may be required to ensure sites are clean, interact with customers and provide assistance, like helping with directions or carrying items.
  • Monitoring CCTV systems: Working in a control room setting, monitoring on-site CCTV cameras and reporting suspicious activity could be part of your security duties.
  • Controlling site access: Often, unarmed security personnel are stationed at the security gate of a secure site to monitor, log and verify those entering and exiting.


Reasons to Become a Security Guard in Illinois

Following a security guard career can be demanding, but protecting people and property is a worthwhile and honorable pursuit. When you choose to forge a career as a security guard in Illinois, you can look forward to several career benefits, including:

  • High-demand position: Studies indicate that the demand for security personnel is higher than most occupations and offers you many employment opportunities.
  • Adaptable scheduling: Security guards work on a day, night, part-time or full-time shift basis, and there’s often an opportunity to adapt your shifts according to your lifestyle needs.
  • Rewarding service: Providing assistance, protection and security to people, businesses and homes makes others feel safe and can be incredibly rewarding.
  • Various roles and environments: As a licensed Illinois security guard, you’ll get to work in varying roles on different sites, making for an exciting career.
  • Ongoing learning: Most employers will offer you the opportunity to obtain further training, and the various work environments and duties will equip you with a wealth of skills.
  • More room to grow: The security guard field comprises multiple levels and growth opportunities for those just starting out, including specialist services and management roles.
  • Crisis management skills: Your training and experience will arm you with valuable emergency response and conflict resolution skills, which can prove helpful in your personal life.

Make a Difference as Part of The Guard Alliance Team

See your security guard career flourish when you join our Illinois security company, which is dedicated to providing the best professional security services to companies and individuals across the state. The Guard Alliance is a minority-owned private security company providing armed, unarmed, on-site, vehicle and fire watch security guard services. As a result, you have the chance to learn a host of skills within a broad spectrum of work environments when you work for us.

Our team members receive ongoing training and support to increase their skill set and expand their career opportunities. Join our reputable, growth-focused Illinois team and progress in your security career by reaching out to our human resources team today through our online application form.

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