Becoming a Security Officer in California: Step-by-Step Guide

Are you passionate about protecting others and ensuring safety? Dreaming of a career as a Security Officer in the Golden State? Look no further! Here’s your roadmap to success:

Step 1: Research and Requirements

Start by researching the requirements to become a Security Officer in California. Typically, you must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, and pass a background check. Different employers or security firms may have specific criteria, so keep an eye out for those too!

Step 2: Obtain Required Training

Enroll in a state-approved security officer training program. California’s Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (BSIS) mandates specific training for all aspiring officers. Training includes subjects like security laws, observation techniques, and emergency procedures. Completing this training is a crucial step toward your future career.

Step 3: Apply for a License

After successfully completing the training program, apply for a security officer license through the BSIS. Prepare all necessary documents and ensure you meet their requirements. The application process may include fingerprinting and a fee, so be ready for that too.

Step 4: Gain Experience

While not always mandatory, gaining experience can significantly boost your chances of landing a top-tier security officer position. Look for entry-level security jobs, internships, or volunteer opportunities to build up your resume. Experience will not only enhance your skills but also showcase your dedication to potential employers.

Step 5: Update Your Resume and Network

Polish your resume to highlight your training, experience, and skills in the security domain. Leverage your network, both personal and professional, to explore job openings. Networking can be a powerful tool to discover hidden job opportunities and get valuable insights from industry experts.

Step 6: Ace the Interviews

Prepare for security officer interviews by researching common interview questions and practicing your responses. Emphasize your problem-solving abilities, communication skills, and commitment to maintaining a safe environment. Show your enthusiasm for the role and be confident in your capabilities.

Step 7: Stay Informed and Continuously Improve

Once you become a Security Officer, stay updated with the latest security trends, laws, and techniques. Attend relevant workshops, seminars, or conferences to enhance your knowledge and skillset continually. A proactive approach to learning will make you stand out as a dedicated and reliable professional.

Start your journey to becoming a Security Officer today! Embrace the responsibility of safeguarding others and creating a secure world. Your commitment can make a significant difference!

Steps to Becoming a Security Officer

Security officers play a vital role in our daily lives whether we like to think so or not. They’re present at large special events, shopping centers, hospitals, major gathering places, banks, hospitality centers, and so forth. Security officers are the ever-so-present eyes, ears and boots on the ground and have the ability to proactively deter crimes as opposed to security cameras. Many security officers have prior police or military background, but that is by no means a requirement to enter the security field. 

So You Want to Be a Security Officer but Don't Know Where to Start

Becoming a security guard only involves a few prerequisites. The general requirements include:

  1. Must be at least 18 years of age.
  2. Pass criminal and background check through the California Department of Justice (DOJ) and the FBI. 
  3. Complete at least 40 hours of the required training. 

Power of Arrest & Weapons of Mass Destruction and Terrorism Awareness

A total of 8 hours of Power of Arrest and Weapons of Mass Destruction & Terrorism Awareness classes (4 hours each) are required to apply for California guard registration. 

Mandatory Courses

After completing 8 hours of POA and WMD/Terrorism Awareness courses, you will need to complete 32 hours of the following:

  1. Public Relations
  2.  Observation and Documentation
  3. Communication and its Significance
  4. Legal Aspects and Liability

Elective Courses

Individuals who wish to continue their education may elect to take any of the following:

  1.  Post Orders & Assignments [4 Hours]
  2. Employer Policies/ Orientation [4 Hours]
  3. Evacuation Procedures [4 Hours]
  4. Officer Safety [4 Hours]
  5. Arrests, Search and Seizures [4 Hours]
  6. Access Control [4 Hours]
  7. Trespass [4 Hours]
  8. Laws, Codes, Regulations and Ordinances [4 Hours]
  9. First Aid, CPR [4 Hours]
  10. Handling Difficult People [4 Hours]
  11. Work Place Violence [4 Hours]
  12.  Chemical Agents [4 Hours]
  13. Preserving the Incident Scene [4 Hours]
  14. Crowd Control [4 Hours] 
  15. Driver Safety [4 Hours]
  16. Supervision [4 Hours]
  17. Courtroom Demeaner [4 Hours]
  18. Parking/ Traffic Control [4 Hours]
  19. Radio Procedures [4 Hours]
  20. BSIS Certified Course in Firearms Training [8 Hours]*
  21. BSIS Certified Course in Baton Training [8 Hours] *
  22. School Security Guard Training [8 Hours]*
  23. Introduction to Executive Protection [4 Hours]
  24. Annual Firearm Requalification [4 Hours]
  25. Fire Safety Course [4 Hours]
  26. Course in the Use of Stun Gun or Air Taser [4 Hours]

Firearm Permit Fact Sheet

Individuals may apply for a firearms permit if they are U.S. Citizens or a permanent legal immigration status. These individuals must also be at least 21 years of age in addition to the following:

  1. Not be banned from owning or possessing any firearm pursuant to State or Federal 
  2. Must complete a criminal history background check through the FBI and the CA Department of Justice
  3. Complete and submit the Firearms Permit initial application to the bureau
  4. Complete the required training courses (including passing all required examinations and qualifications
  5. Pay the initial application fee
  6. Pass an assessment within the six months preceding the date the application is submitted to the bureau



Firearms Assessment

Individuals applying for a firearms permit must pass an assessment for the purposes of determining whether they possess appropriate judgement, restraint, and self-control to carry a firearm while on duty. The assessment and application will be valid for a the specific caliber for which they’ve applied for. Once a firearms permit is granted, the caliber will appear on the firearm permit itself. Permitholders may not carry a firearm with a caliber that does not appear on their firearms permit. If one wishes to add calibers to their permit, they must submit another application and undergo another assessment for that specific caliber. The following are requirements to add calibers to a pre-existing permit:

> Current and valid BSIS firearms permit

> Complete at least am 8-hour course on carrying a gun and use of firearm

> Pass a BSIS written firearm exam with a minimum passing score of 85%

> Completion of range training

> Submission of a form to add the caliber


Renewing a Firearms Permit

To renew a firearms permit, the permit holder needs to complete a firearms renewal application and submit payment to the bureau at least 60 days prior to the permit’s expiration date. Within that time, the permit holder needs to complete 4 range qualifications, 2 of which needs to be completed within a 12-month period of the permit’s 2-year term with no 2 being within 4 months of each other. As always, range qualifications must be completed at a bureau-approved firearms training facility. 


The permit holder needs to complete a 2-hour review training course in the se of force and de-escalation of force. This is in line with a bureau-approved trainer ascertaining whether or not the permit holder possesses appropriate judgement and restraint. Renewal applicants needs to pass the written firearms exam again with a passing score of at least 85%. 

Baton Permit

A baton permit may only be issued by bureau-certified baton training facilities to individuals ho completes the required baton training course or those who possess a valid and current BSIS-issued security guard registration. Baton permits are not subject to renewal.