Starting a career as a security guard will prepare you for a dynamic and exciting role where you can assist and protect the public, keep physically active, and discover many other rewarding qualities. WorkBC provides some great information about what qualities and skills are required to become a security guard. Paladin also provides some great reasons as to why you should choose a security career.
While there are many amazing reasons to start your career in security, there are a few first steps that you need to take to embark on your journey.
This article provides some tips to help you answer some of the most common questions related to becoming a security guard:
- How do I get a security guard licence?
- How long do you have to go to school to be a security guard?
- How much does it cost to become a security guard?
Question: How do I get a Security Guard licence?
Training is one of the most common components of obtaining a security guard licence in any province in Canada. The general process to become a licensed guard is to complete the required number of hours of provincially approved training, write and pass the test, and apply for a security licence.
We have compiled the generic steps to obtain a security guard licence. It is important to note that these steps can vary by province, so it is good to get familiar with your province’s specific requirements. We’ve provided some helpful links in this article.
1. Study the requirements on your province’s website
It is absolutely imperative that you go through all the requirements mandated by the province you reside in before you take steps towards obtaining your license. Based on which province you are located, a certain number of hours of ‘Basic Security Officer Training (BSOT)’ is usually required. Upon successful completion of BSOT, you will receive a ‘training completion number’ that you can use to apply for a security guard license test.
To get an overview of province-specific requirements in obtaining a security guard license, you can browse any of the following links that apply to you:
- British Columbia
- Newfoundland and Labrador
- Prince Edward Island
- New Brunswick
2. Apply for the test
Once you receive the ‘training completion number’, you have to book for the test. After the booking is completed, you will receive a date to write the security guard test. The exam is typically 90 minutes and you will need to provide valid identification.
3. Study for the test
Like any other test, preparation is key to passing this exam. The more prepared you are, the more confident you will be to write the exam. Some provinces provide practice tests and other great resources to help you get prepared.
Passing grades can be different for every province, make sure you understand what is required by referring to your province’s website (provide in the links above).
4. Acquire a digital copy
Once you pass the exam, you will be notified, and a copy of your security guard license will be mailed to you. However, the physical copy of your security guard license may take a while before you receive it. Therefore, acquire a digital copy as soon as possible so that you can start applying for jobs. As long as you have a valid digital copy of your security guard license, you can work as a security guard.
Question: How long do you have to go to school to be a Security Guard?
1. High-school diploma
A security guard’s role includes a myriad of responsibilities in the current day and age. It is expected that a security guard, when assigned to a role; is physically fit, can comfortably perform basic math, read, write, and communicate effectively.
Typically, a high-school diploma is required to obtain an entry-level job as a security guard. Once you complete high-school, given that you are of the right age (typically 18-19 depending on the province), the only thing in your way to becoming a security guard is the ‘security guard licence’. After acquiring your security guard licence, you can work as a professional security guard. Click here to find out how to prepare for a security guard interview. Once you have the job as a security guard, your journey to fulfill your dreams doesn’t have to stop there.
2. Determine your future
Usually, as you progress your career in security and law enforcement, you can obtain certifications to reinforce your credentials, depending on what aspect of the security field you want to pursue. Most, if not all, of these certifications, will require you to complete a certain number of hours as “work-time” in the security field before you can even qualify to write the test.
Your entry-level security job can work as a stepping-stone in accumulating the required hours of “work-time”. Even if your time working as a guard doesn’t contribute toward fulfilling the requirement for certification, the experience as a security guard alone will set you apart from other candidates without it, as you strive to move up. A few examples of such certifications are:
- Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
- Associate Protection Professional (APP)
- Certified Healthcare Protection Administrator (CHPA)
- Physical Security Professional (PSP)
- Certified Fire Protection Specialist (CFPS)
- Professional Certified Investigator (PCI)
- Certified Protection Professional (CPP)
Click here to find out some of the other fringe benefits of becoming a security guard.
3. Now we are talking big!
To top that off, it is ideal, but not required, to have some sort of post-secondary academic background in law enforcement to secure those sought after promotions. Of course, performance is a key factor in getting promoted; but in the long run, it is easier to squeeze in the time to ‘perform better’ than obtaining a degree or a diploma – so plan ahead!
Question: How much does it cost to become a Security Guard?
Depending on which province you are residing, the cost of becoming a security guard could range between $350 - $450. The total cost is essentially divided in the following manner:
1. Completing the Basic Security Officer Training (BSOT):
The first and foremost requirement in obtaining the security guard license is to complete the BSOT. It is a 40-hour long training module that enables prospective security guards to sit for the licensing test. There are certain agencies/security companies that provide this training at a cost of $200-$300.
2. Booking for the test:
You are required to pass the ‘Basic Security Officer Training’ test before you can apply for your license. This exam fee is $75-$80 plus tax (depending on the province).
3. Apply for security licence:
Once you pass the test, the next step is to apply for the security guard licence. The fee to apply for the security guard licence could range from $75-$85 tax included (depending on the province).
4. Uniform and equipment:
Uniforms and equipment (e.g. duty belt, flashlight, handcuffs, boots etc.) could cost another $150-$200. Every site has unique requirements in terms of equipment. Some sites are more demanding than others.
Having said that, Paladin Security offers company paid training and licensing. Additionally, all necessary uniforms and equipment are supplied to our officers free of charge.
Set yourself up for success
A career in security is described by many as rewarding and exciting. You have the ability to work in many industries and pursue an assortment of roles and responsibilities, such as;
- Healthcare security officer
- Mobile patrol guard
- Loss-prevention officer
- Campus security
- Patient watch sitter
The opportunities are truly endless. It just depends on where your passion may take you. Get a head start on your career in security or learn more about the security industry by connecting with your local Paladin Security office.
Or if you are ready to take the next step, read our blog on how to prepare for a security guard interview.