According to the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of security guards and gambling surveillance officers topped 1 million in 2020 with projections for 15 percent annual job growth through 2030. The job growth numbers are faster than the average for all occupations–with an additional 165,000 projected to be added each year.

In California, there were almost 160,000 guards employed in 2020 with nearly 60,000 in the Los Angeles/Long Beach/Anaheim area and over 21,000 in the San Francisco region. San Luis Obispo security guard wages were the second-highest in the nation with an annual mean wage of $61,090.

Testing and Training. To become a licensed security guard, you’ll first need to be at least 18 years old and pass a criminal history background check by the California Department of Justice and the FBI.

A prospective security guard must then complete an eight-hour online power-to-arrest training course. If successful, the individual can apply for a “guard card” from California’s Bureau of Security & Investigative Services. The guard is then eligible to begin work in a limited capacity at a security guard company. To become a fully licensed guard, individuals must complete 32 hours of online training in a variety of security guard skills within six months of receiving a guard card.

Training doesn’t end there. Guards are required to receive eight hours of continuing training each year. Additional training courses are required to carry tear gas, firearms and batons. Security firms such as Access Control Security will require more training as needs arise.

Security guards will continue to be in demand as security concerns in all different sectors of society increase.

If you’re interested in a rewarding career as a security guard in California, Access Control Security provides online guard licensing options. Go to or call 877-482-7324 to learn more.