How to Become a Security Guard in Los Angeles

How to Become a Security Guard in Los Angeles

Becoming a security guard in Los Angeles is a relatively straightforward process, but it’s important to complete all of the necessary steps in the correct order. If you submit an incomplete application, it could take additional weeks or months to become registered as a guard. We’ve put together the following guide to help prospective guards navigate the licensing process in California, and find work as security guards in Los Angeles.

Broadly speaking, crime rates have risen in Los Angeles and the surrounding counties over the past few years. Local organizations are deploying armed and unarmed guards in greater numbers each year, making it an excellent time to enter the private security industry as a registered guard. Folks interested in protecting their communities can get real-world experience safeguarding residential properties, office complexes, warehouses, schools, and construction sites in Los Angeles.

Given the increased demand, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to find work as a guard quickly. The highest-paying and most secure opportunities go to guards who have taken additional training beyond the minimum requirements. If you’re serious about a long-term career in the security services industry, follow the advice laid out in this guide and differentiate yourself in this high-demand field.

Basic Requirements For Security Guards In Los Angeles

Prospective guards must meet some basic criteria before proceeding with training and paperwork. The Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (BSIS) is the state agency responsible for registering security guards who meet the requirements and have taken the proper training. According to BSIS guidelines, anyone who applies to work as a security guard in Los Angeles must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Have a clean criminal record
  • Complete a ‘Power to Arrest’ training course

‘Power to Arrest’ courses are offered by many providers, and can often be taken online at minimal expense. The courses instruct prospective guards on the relevant sections of California’s Business and Professions Code. By completing this course, you’ll develop a good understanding of the basic legal concepts involved in security guard work: best practices for detaining questionable individuals and liability issues for you and your employer.

The course also lets you explore security guard work without a substantial commitment of time or money. If you feel you’d be a good fit for the security industry, the course should pique your interest and help you proceed to the next steps in becoming an LA security guard.

five steps to become a guard in LA

5 Steps to Become Registered as a Security Guard in California 

1. Meet the Basic Requirements

As outlined in the previous section, guards must be eighteen or older and have a clean criminal record. Proof of age will most likely come in the form of a driver’s license, but any government-approved document that contains birthdate information will be accepted. Non-citizens can apply to become guards so long as they can produce birthdate documentation from the state or federal government and have the right to work in the state.

2. Pass Background Checks

To become a security guard in Los Angeles, you’ll need to submit and pass criminal record checks with both the FBI and the California DOJ. Many agencies that conduct background checks will have a comprehensive option that allows you to do both checks for one fee. If you take your guard training from a top-tier institution, there’s a good chance they will assist with all aspects of your paperwork – including background checks.

3. Complete ‘Power to Arrest’ Training 

As mentioned previously, prospective guards must complete a ‘Power to Arrest’ course before applying to register. The material can often be covered in as little as three hours. If you’re serious about becoming a security guard in Los Angeles, consider taking a more substantial course or investing in a comprehensive training program that includes ‘Power to Arrest.’ The more training you can take in advance, the more qualified you will be once you’re registered as a guard.

4. Submit Your Application & Supporting Documents

Officially the “Application for Security Guard Registration,” this document can be submitted online along with the required $55.00 processing fee. Once submitted, applicants can check online to view their security guard registration with the State of California after 4-6 weeks. When the registration is visible online, guards can print this out to act as a temporary “Guard Card” while waiting for the official hard copy to arrive via post.

Supplementary documents will include proof of veteran status, immigration documentation, proof of completing ‘Power to Arrest’ training, and either fingerprints or evidence of recent criminal background checks. Veterans enjoy expedited processing time for their applications. If you have taken advanced training that will allow you handle firearms while working as a guard, you’ll need to include that paperwork with your application.

5. Complete 32 Hours of Training Within 6 Months of Registration 

If you’re applying to work as a security guard in Los Angeles and taking a comprehensive training program, you should already have completed a good deal of the training hours required. From the time your registration (Guard Card) has been processed, you have six months to complete training from certified instructors. The mandatory topics covered in security officer skills training are:

  • Public Relations
  • Liability & Legal Aspects
  • Observation & Documentation
  • Communication & Its Significance

As part of your required thirty-two hours of training, you’ll need to select course topics from a list of electives. Consider your long-term career goals as well as the challenges you’ll face as a security guard in Los Angeles when you select from course topics such as:

  • Employer Policies & Orientation
  • School Security Guard Training
  • Preserving the Incident Scene
  • Post Orders & Assignments
  • Arrests, Search & Seizure
  • Parking & Traffic Control
  • Handling Difficult People

LA Guards Must Commit to Ongoing Training 

Security guards working in Los Angeles and throughout California must renew their registration every two years. To keep their registrations up-to-date, guards must complete a short application and pay a small fee. It’s important to note that renewal forms must be completed at least 60 days before guard registration expires.

BSIS guidelines require all security guards in Los Angeles to take at least eight hours of professional training each year. State-certified instructors cover a wide range of topics that can help you develop your skillset as a guard and secure higher-paying positions.

Firearms, first aid, and fire safety are three areas of training that can lead to new opportunities for security guards working in LA. Armed guards are paid substantially more per hour than their unarmed colleagues, and fire watch security guards are in increasingly high demand in California. Find out about employment opportunities for security guards in your community, and use your annual training requirement to steer your career in the most lucrative direction.

Los Angeles with TGA guard, logo and graphic

Become a Security Guard in Los Angeles With The Guard Alliance

The Guard Alliance Inc. has been proud to serve Los Angeles and surrounding communities since 2010. Based in California, we have grown to become one of America’s most reliable providers of armed, unarmed, vehicle patrol, and fire watch security guards.

We prefer to hire the best: showing preference for veterans, former police officers, and security guards with extensive experience and training. If you’ve already received your guard registration from the State of California, we encourage you to apply to join our growing team. We receive hundreds of inquiries each month from organizations in Los Angeles in need of security services – help us safeguard LA’s diverse communities by joining The Guard Alliance today.

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