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Earn a Guard Card


How do I get a California Security Guard Card License?

All professional security guards that work in the state of California must be licensed and registered with the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (BSIS). To be properly licensed, the security guard must complete a standard course in the powers of arrest, weapons of mass destruction/ terrorism awareness, public relations, observation and documentation, Communication and its Significance, Liability/Legal Aspects and other elective courses that vary depending upon the training facility.

The BSIS requires an entire 40 hours of training. However, the training may be completed in three (3) parts. The training is split into parts to allow the guard to start working quickly, while still maintaining some of the highest standards in the industry.

The applicant is allowed to start working after successfully completing the first 8 hours of training (called the "Powers to Arrest" course), passing a written exam, passing a fingerprint/background check and submitting the BSIS application with appropriate fees.

The certificates of completion for the remaining 32 hours of training (Parts 2 and 3) are not sent to the BSIS. They are copied and logged by the employer in the permanent employee records. During an audit, the employer must present the BSIS with proof of complete 40 hours of training for every security guard employed or face severe fines for every guard who has not completed the required training.

The applicant may not start working as a security guard until he or she receives the security guard registration card in the mail, or the security guard registration number appears on the BSIS website. Most employers will not even interview a prospective employee unless he or she already holds at least the guard card.

California allows guard card training to be completed online. Security Training Center,® LLC. offers guard card training online and at our multiple training facilities.

Man Studying

Training Timeline

Guard Card Training Timelines

You may stand post after an 8-hour course and receive your Guard Card from the State of California. Afterward, you have 30 days to complete your first 16 hours of training and then another 6 months to complete the remaining 16 hours (for a total of 40 hours of training). You may elect to take all 40 hours of Security Guard Card training at one time.

Requirements to Become an Unarmed Security Guard

The general requirements for a Security Guard are:

  • 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)
  • Complete a 40-hour course of required training

There is no citizenship requirement to be an unarmed security guard in California. Employment requirements still apply.

Security Guard with a Cruiser

Continuing Education

The BSIS requires that security guards complete an annual Continuing Education/Refresher course every year. "The continuing education requirement, of an additional 8 hours annually pursuant to Business and Professions Code Section 7583.6(f) (1), commenced on January 5, 2005."

The certificates of completion for the continuing education courses are maintained by the employer and not sent to the BSIS. During an audit, the employer must present the BSIS with proof of continuing education training for every security guard employed or face severe fines for every guard who has not completed the required training.