Becoming an armed security guard in the state of California.

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How to become an armed security guard?

California is the third-largest state of the United States of America in terms of area, while the largest in terms of population. It houses 58 counties and most important cities of America like Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and San José. These are highly populated cities that always attract tourists from other states. With a population of about 40 million people and incoming tourists, security has to be efficient 24/7. That’s why there is a demand for armed and unarmed security officers in both government and private sectors. This article will guide you on the processes, requirements, and training you have to go through to become an armed security guard in California.

Difference from unarmed security guards:

In California, the process of becoming an armed security guard is very different from the process of becoming an unarmed security guard. Unarmed security guards have to go through lesser training than armed officers. However, having the license and training of an unarmed officer before becoming an armed security guard will give an edge. The unarmed security guards must be older than 18 years old, must have passed the written exam, have passed a background check through a scanning center, have procured a BSIS issued license, and have received on-the-job training from a security agency. Once these requirements are met, he could be hired for several jobs like fire and ambulance driving, monitoring security cameras, controlling building access, etc. these jobs prove to be very helpful in securing a job in the future as an armed security guard.

Requirements for becoming an armed security guard:

Different states require different requirements to be met for a person to apply as an armed security guard. In California, the following requirements must be met:

  • The person applying should not be a minor, i.e., must be 21 years or older.
  • He must have a high school degree or diploma.
  • Be a United States citizen or a documented alien.
  • He must have experience in working in a security department, mainly unarmed.
  • He must pass a drug screening test as well as a background check to make sure he has never been involved in crimes.
  • Must have a license to carry a firearm or a gun.

The person that meets the following requirements can apply to become an armed security guard. A fee of $80 must be paid to receive a firearms license. This consists of 38$ for eligibility application, $32 for scanning and background check through fingerprints and $19 for FBI printing.

Training to become an armed security guard:

Training for becoming an armed security guard is different from an unarmed guard. An unarmed guard has to go through 3 phases of training that sum up to a total of 40 hours. While an armed security guard has to go through a 14-hour training that comprises of 2 parts.  The first part is 6-hour classroom training, the second part is 8 hours of field training. It includes.

  • Legal and moral aspects: it teaches when you are allowed to open fire legally and morally.
  • Firearms terminology: it teaches the fundamentals for firearms, which gun is used for what purpose etc.
  • Weapon handling and shooting: this course teaches you how to carry and use weapons, how to shoot ranges, how to aim, etc.
  • Emergency procedures: it teaches you how to handle an emergency that requires armed officers.

This training must be carried out by an authorized bureau agency. In California that is BSIS (Bureau of security and investigation services).

Armed security guard license:

Once the 14-hour training is completed, the applicant is eligible to receive the armed security guard’s license. In California, it is displayed on the website of BSIS. It is usually displayed within 2-3 weeks after the training has been completed. However, the process of giving out an armed security guard license is more strict than an unarmed guard’s license. The state does multiple background checks and scanning to make sure that the license is not going into the wrong hands. Different states have different protocols for handing out security licenses. In California, apart from carrying the armed security guard license, you also have to carry your firearm permit and gun license issued by the state to carry a firearm.

Jobs for armed security guards in California:

Once the license is received, you can apply for many jobs as an armed security officer in California. Some of them are listed below:

  • Bank security guard:

The most common job an armed security guard is hired for is guarding a bank. A bank guards and stores the money, jewelry, and other important assets of thousands of people. Burglars and robbers equipped with weapons are always on to some plans to rob the banks. An armed security guard has to resist these robbers.

  • Gunmen and snipers:

Armed security officers can also be private gunmen for agencies and security companies. They can also become snipers which is a very important and interesting job in the security sector.

  • Police officers:

Armed security guards can also apply for the job of local police officers. There are many posts like patrolling officers, detectives, etc. that require the person to be an armed security officer.

Income of armed security guards:

Armed security guards make money according to the job they are employed on. Their income varies according to their employer. However, the average income is 20-30 dollars per hour or 40-60 thousand dollars per year.


An armed security guard performs several jobs and the income varies accordingly. There is a huge demand for security guards in California and many companies are looking for new employees. If you are looking for a good job in the security sector of California, you must apply for armed security guards.

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