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How to Become a Security Guard in California

Becoming a Security Guard in California is similar to a lot of other states: you need to meet basic requirements such as age, language proficiency, and other usual security licensing requirements of this nature.

Furthermore, to get a Security Guard license in California, you need to take a government approved Security Guard licensing course:

  • This security licensing course is called "Power to Arrest."

In CA, the government body that controls a California Security Guard's license (BSIS Guard Card) is the Bureau of Security and Investigative Service. So, it is the BSIS that will have to approved the CA Security Guard Power to Arrest licensing providers.


The BSIS approved providers is any Power to Arrest course taught by California Local Education Agency (LEA) certified institutions.

On top of this, you will need BSIS approved on the job training courses after you get hired.

Once you submit the proof of your ability to meet the requirements to the BSIS, you will get your California Security Guard license and officially be registered as a Security Guard with the state of California with your BSIS Guard Card.

California Security Guard License Requirements

BSIS Guard Cards California

  1. Age: You must be 18yo or older.

  2. Criminal Record: You cannot have a criminal record of any kind or be under investigation for a crime. You will need to submit a request form for a California Department of Justice record check and an FBI record check in you application.

  3. Fingerprints: You need to submit your fingerprints to the BSIS.

  4. U.S. Citizen: You need to be an American citizen or be legally allowed to work in California. You will have to submit a copy of government ID to the BSIS.

  5. English: You must be able to speak and write in English.

  6. California Approved Security License Course: You need to take a CA approved security course called Power to Arrest before getting hired. This course needs to be certified by California Local Education Agency (LEA) to be accepted by the BSIS.

  7. Ongoing Security Training: You will be required to take a 32hr security training course within six months of obtaining your Security Guard license. After, You will need 8hrs a year in ongoing security training.

  8. Specialized Security Guard: There are multiple specialized security fields you can enter, such as armed security. These fields require CA approved education.

  9. Submitting: The documents you submit can be sent to the BSIS via mail or online uploading/ Guard Card online California.



P.O. Box 989002, West Sacramento, CA 95798-9002

California security license

What Does a California Security Guard Do?

California Security Guards Patrol Vacant Locations

California Security Guards will do foot patrols of locations for a set number of times per shift.

A common task for a California Security Guard will be checking mechanical rooms for any unusual signs or potential health and safety issues.

California Security Guards watch for hazards and fill out hazard reports (California Guards write a lot of reports).

Guards in California document and report maintenance issues to supervisors.

Many California security sites require Guards to monitor fire extinguishers to ensure that they are not overdue for inspection (official reviews are done by maintenance personnel).

California Security Guards write a lot, including filling in logs as their shifts progresses with what activities are being done at what times. California Guards will have their own security notebooks and will constantly note all unusual sightings, occurrences, and incidents.

California Security Guards will respond to alarms and act accordingly as per the Emergency Response plan set in place by supervisors. This may include,

Evacuation of the security site.

Checking alarm system on the way out for information about where the problem is occurring.

Contacting supervisors.

Responding to incidents and completing all reports as necessary.

California Security Guards Protect Sites with Customers

If a California Security Guard is working in a team environment, they will usually meet for a pre-shift briefing at a set location. Once the meeting has been completed the California Security Guards will go directly to their designated sites.

In California security site locations with customers, Guards will do a lot of patrolling. This can be in a building or outside in places such as parking lots.

California Security Guards are usually responsible for site cleanliness when there are no designated cleaning staff. This means as a California Security Guard, expect to be cleaning a lot of trash.

Monitoring CCTV cameras will be a big part of a California Security Guard’s job. This will be on a continuous basis with follow ups on issues seen.

When it comes to security sites in the service industry, California Security Guards will have to assist customers in various non-security ways. This can be giving them directions or carrying items for them. Furthermore, California Security Guards will often be expected to be friendly, outgoing, and talkative with customers in their security sites.

A constant security issue for California security sites with customers will be smoking, alcohol consumption, and narcotics. California Security Guards will often be making sure people aren’t smoking in non-smoking areas, consuming alcohol, or narcotics. For the latter, a California Security Guard will usually report the issue to local police.

If the California security site is a residence, responding to noise complaints will be a big part of the job.

Of course, catching shoplifters will be a constant for a California Security Guard in a site with customers.

California Security Guards Work at Security Gates

California Security Guards will patrol parking areas to make sure vehicles are registered at that security site.

Every person entering through the security gate will produce valid photo ID to the California Security Guard. The Guard will determine if the individual may pass.

During medical emergencies, the California Security Guard will direct traffic to allow easy access for California EMS vehicles.

California Security Guards Deal with Medical Issues

Emergencies at a California security site can happen at any time, day or night. On going communication will be key for all California Security Guards involved to get through the emergency with the best possible outcome.

California EMS/ ambulances will often be called by California Security Guards.

The California Security Guard that places the 911 call will relay info regarding who, what, where, why, and when.

California Security Supervisors will usually take lead on these incidents and direct other California Guards to specific tasks to perform during the emergency.

California Security Guards will always remain calm and professional. Furthermore, they will assist however they can.


About the Author

California security

Peter Sandru is an Instructor & Co-Founder of NDIL with over 15 years working in security. Peter has spent more than a decade conducting security operations throughout the world, primarily for corporations, law firms, and government agencies. Peter has assisted in the creation of numerous security training programs in various capacities.


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