Security jobs in your ZIP code
In the state of California, security guards are licensed and regulated by the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (BSIS) under the Department of Consumer Affairs.
To get a Security Guard Job in California, You must complete a pre-licensing course to get your security guard license (guard card). This course is generally referred to as “guard card class” in California.
The guard card course is an 8 hour long class and can be finished in a day. The course has two components. (1) Powers to Arrest and (2) Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).
To work as an unarmed security guard, in the state of California, you must be
- At least 18 years old
- Complete a criminal history background investigation through the California Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); and
- Take a 40-hour course of required training. Among the 40 hours, the first 8 hours should be taken before getting the license and the remaining 16 can be completed after getting your job within 30 days and last 16 hours can be completed in 6 months.
The training and exam may be administered by a certified training facility.
The following information is obtained from the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (BSIS) website.
Registration Requirements for Unarmed Security Guards in California
A security guard must have in his/her possession a valid security guard registration or a screen-print of the Bureau’s approval from the Bureau’s web site at www.bsis.ca.gov, along with a valid photo identification, before working as a security guard.
Security guards are employed by licensed private patrol operators to protect persons or property and prevent theft. To be eligible to apply for a security guard registration, you must:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Undergo a criminal history background check through the California Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); and
- Complete a 40-hour course of required training. The training and exam may be administered by any private patrol operator or by a certified training facility.
40 Hour Security Guard Training Requirement
|Date of Completion||Training Hours Needed|
|Prior to Being Assigned on Post||8 Hours|
|Training Required within the First 30 Days||16 Hours|
|Training Required within the First Six Months||16 Hours|
|TOTAL HOURS||40 HOURS|
In order to speed up the security guard application and fingerprinting process, the following steps should be followed:
The security guard must have received the eight (8) hour "Power to Arrest " training and passed the examination.
The security guard applicant, private patrol operator or the training facility must submit the security guard application online at
http://www.bsis.ca.gov/online_services/online_licensing.shtml. The online application is sent electronically to the Bureau.
Breakdown of fees paid online:
The security guard applicant must submit fingerprints electronically using Live Scan. You must only use the security guard Live Scan forms downloaded from the Bureau’s Web site or obtained from the Bureau. The Live Scan form from the Bureau contains the correct coding to ensure that the Bureau receives the FBI and DOJ responses.
Breakdown of fees paid at Live Scan site:
Live Scan site locations are available at
Security Guard Live Scan forms can be downloaded at http://www.bsis.ca.gov/forms_pubs/livescan/g.pdf
Note: Live Scan sites may charge a Live Scan submission processing fee. The Bureau does not set the fee amount.
Once the Bureau has received the online application and criminal history clearances, the cleared security guard will appear on the Bureau’s Web site. The security guard, private patrol operator or training facility can verify the Bureau’s approval by checking the Bureau’s "Verify a License" at http://www2.dca.ca.gov/pls/wllpub/wllqryna$lcev2.startup?p_qte_code=G&p_qte_pgm_code=2420. Once the security guard registration has been cleared and appears on the Bureau’s Web site, a screen-print from the Web site may be made and used as an interim security guard registration. The security guard can then be placed on assignment. The actual security guard registration will be mailed to the applicant and should be received in 10 to 15 business days.
Security guards placed on assignment must keep the following documents with them:
- A valid security guard registration or a screen print of the Bureau’s approval obtained from the Bureau’s Web site.
- A valid photo identification
The Bureau will continue to accept the following:
- Submit your completed security guard application, a $50 registration fee and a Security Guard Live Scan form signed by the Live Scan operator, including the ATI number. A $32 DOJ fingerprint processing fee, $17 FBI fingerprint processing fee, and Live Scan site processing fee must be paid at the Live Scan site. Send your application package to the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services, P.O. Box 989002, West Sacramento, CA 95798-9002.
Applications for registration as a security guard are available from private patrol operators or training facilities certified by BSIS.
You may not carry a gun on duty without having been issued a firearm permit by the Bureau. Also, a firearm permit issued by the Bureau does not authorize you to carry a concealed weapon. You may not carry a concealed weapon on duty without a Concealed Weapons Permit (CCW) issued by local authorities, nor carry a caliber handgun not listed on your firearm permit.
To apply for a firearm permit, you must:
- Be a U.S. citizen or have permanent legal alien status.
- Pass a course in the carrying and use of firearms. The 14-hour (8 hours classroom, 6 hours range) training course covers moral and legal aspects, firearms nomenclature, weapon handling and shooting fundamentals, emergency procedures and range training. The course must be given by a Bureau-certified firearms training instructor at a Bureau-certified training facility. Written and range exams are administered at the end of the course. Costs of training are determined by the training facility. For a list of certified training facilities, call (916) 322-4000.
- Submit a firearm permit application, pay the $80 application fee, and submit a Security Guard Registration w/Firearm Permit Live Scan form (http://www.bsis.ca.gov/forms_pubs/livescan/g_fq.pdf) signed by the Live Scan site operator, including ATI number. A $38 Firearm Eligibility application, $32 DOJ fingerprint processing fee, $17 FBI fingerprint processing fee, and Live Scan site processing fee must be paid at the Live Scan site. Send your application package to the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services, P.O. Box 989002, West Sacramento, CA 95798-9002.
You may apply for both a guard registration and a firearm permit application at the same time to the Bureau along with a $130 fee.
Note: A firearms qualification card expires two years from the date it was issued. An applicant must requalify four times during the life of the permit: twice during the first year after the date of issuance, and twice during the second year. Requalifications must be at least four months apart.
TEAR GAS PERMIT
The law requires those who wish to carry tear gas on duty to complete a training course approved by the Department of Consumer Affairs. For a list of certified training facilities call (800) 952-5210 or visit the Bureau’s license look-up at http://www.bsis.ca.gov/online_services/verify_license.shtml and search by county.
To carry a baton on duty, you must be a registered security guard and complete an eight-hour training course from a certified instructor. For a list of certified training facilities, call (800) 952-5210 or visit the Bureau’s license look-up at http://www.bsis.ca.gov/online_services/verify_license.shtml and search by county.
If you have questions about registration as a security guard, call (800) 952-5210. If you have questions about your current guard card, call (916) 322-4000.
"Protection of the public shall be the highest priority for the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services in exercising licensing, regulatory and disciplinary functions. Whenever the protection of the public is consistent with other interests sought to be promoted, the protection of the public shall be paramount."