How to Become a Security Guard in Ohio

How to Become a Security Guard in Ohio

The demand for qualified security personnel in the United States is at an all-time high and is expected to increase over the next decade. It’s an excellent time to be entering the industry as an armed or unarmed security guard. Since demand is increasing nationwide, certified guards can be confident that their credentials and experience earned in one state can be applied to opportunities in other parts of the country.

Like most of the United States, Ohio is experiencing historically high demand for armed and unarmed guards. Increasingly, property managers in residential, industrial, and commercial settings are deploying security forces to protect personnel and property. These deployments have been very effective in the Buckeye State – with most of Ohio enjoying crime rates well below the national average.

Given the increasing demand for armed and unarmed security guards in Ohio, employment opportunities run the gamut from short-term deployments with relatively low pay, to more lucrative, long-term security positions that demand higher levels of training. In short: the more training and experience you can accumulate, the more attractive a candidate you will be to top-tier security guard companies. Connecting with a respected security guard company in Ohio is the best way to land gainful employment as a guard in the field.

Basic Requirements for Security Guards in Ohio

Before submitting an application, prospective security guards in Ohio need to have the following qualifications:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Complete a criminal background check conducted by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI)
  • Submit your fingerprints to the Ohio BCI

Once those qualifications are in order, aspiring guards can then begin their training. You’ll need to connect with a state-licensed training company. Many such trainers operate in communities across Ohio, and some offer online courses for folks in rural or remote regions.

Guards-in-training will need to complete 20 hours of state-approved courses, covering crucial topics such as first aid, report writing, basic public relations, and emergency procedures. The best training programs will include one-on-one instruction from experienced security personnel. Superior training will open up opportunities for more lucrative deployments, as both security guard companies and individual clients will always show preference for highly-trained security guards.

Security professionals are therefore encouraged to take additional courses in relevant topics such as advanced first aid or de-escalation tactics. These will not be required to secure employment but will make you a more attractive candidate, and a more capable security guard in the field.

Getting Certified 

Once your training is complete, you can submit your official application for an Unarmed Security Guard Card to the Ohio Department of Public Safety. With this application, you’ll be expected to pay a few fees, typically totaling less than $500. With your application, you’ll need to include passport-sized photos, a copy of your training certificate, and proof that your criminal background check and fingerprints have been processed by the Ohio BCI.

In Ohio, Unarmed Guard Cards typically take up to 60 days to process. Top-tier security companies are unlikely to hire you until you have obtained your guard card. During your 60-day waiting period, it is beneficial to make inquiries and connections with reputable guard companies in your area – read reviews from current guards to see which companies have the best opportunities and pay.

Becoming an Armed Security Guard

Unsurprisingly, there are additional requirements for prospective guards interested in security positions that require the use of firearms. Hourly rates for armed security guards are considerably higher, so the additional training you’ll undergo for armed guard certification will likely lead to higher-paying opportunities in Ohio.

armed guard requirements for ohio

In addition to all of the unarmed guard requirements listed above, armed guards will be expected to have the following credentials:

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Complete an additional 20 hours of firearms training
  • Obtain a concealed handgun license (CHL) through your county sheriff’s office
  • Pass a written exam and shooting qualification test

Firearms training can typically be taken alongside the core guard training program offered by most security guard schools in Ohio. This training must be administered by a licensed firearms instructor, include range time, and cover in detail firearms safety, marksmanship, and the legal specifics of armed security work.

Your armed security guard training will culminate in a written exam and shooting qualification test on a designated range. You’ll be expected to demonstrate the competent use of the firearm you will be using on the job. For this reason, it is essential that you learn about the firearm requirements for your intended deployment, and ensure all training and testing reflects the actual firearms you’ll be using.

With all of these requirements in order, you can submit your official application for an Armed Security Guard Card to the Ohio Department of Public Safety. This is a separate process from the unarmed guard application, and will need to be completed independently even if you have already obtained your Unarmed Security Guard Card.

Contact The Guard Alliance 

The Guard Alliance Inc has been proud to serve communities across the Buckeye State for over a decade, deploying armed, unarmed, vehicle patrol, and fire watch security guards who lead the industry in training and professionalism. As demand increases for private security services in Ohio, we will be excited to connect with certified security guards eager to serve their communities.

Once you’ve obtained your guard card, feel free to fill out an application on our careers page. We receive regular inquiries from property managers in Ohio who need security guards to deploy in a hurry – odds are, we can connect you with a deployment in your region shortly after we’ve received your application.

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