Becoming a fully licensed California security guard takes time, training and preparation. Passing the background checks and initial training is only the beginning. Security guard continuing education and on-the-job training must follow.

Initial Steps. The minimum age to become a California security guard is 18. Prospective guards need to first pass a criminal background check through the California Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Only then can training begin.

Training Requirements. Future guards must complete eight hours of online training before they can be hired and assigned to duty. These eight hours of training cover legal and liability issues and arrest procedures. After successfully passing final exams with a 100 percent score, students receive their Security Guard Card and have their fingerprints taken. Security companies can hire these guards at this level for simple security guard duties.

Advanced Training. The next step toward becoming a fully licensed security officer requires another 16 hours of online training. This training must be completed within 30 days after the Guard Card is issued or the guard begins employment at a security guard firm.

This additional training covers diversity and discrimination awareness, observation and patrol techniques, arrests and detention and trespassing laws.

Finally, an addition 16 hours of training is administered in court procedures, use of tear gas and pepper spray, preserving crime scene evidence, how to handle difficult people and other issues. These courses need to be completed within six months of receiving the Guard Card or guard employment.

Many security guard firms, such as Access Control Security (ACS), offer additional continuing education to its guards so their guards are up to date on the latest laws, procedures and security skills.

If you’re interested in becoming a security guard, ACS makes the process simple. To find out how you can become a security guard in California, go to or call at 877-482-7324.