If you are looking to start your career as a Security Guard or make a career change, California is the perfect place to do so. The Security Industry is exponentially growing throughout the state, and it is looking to hire about 11,000 new Security Officer jobs by 2028.
In this article, we will share what you need to know on how to become a Security Guard in California, including the required training, salary expectations, and the best places to apply for jobs in this fulfilling career.
- How much money do Security Officers make in California?
- Who issues Security Officer licenses?
- Requirements to get a Security Officer license in California
- Security training requirements
- How to submit your California Security Officer application
- How to get a Security Officer job in California
How much money do Security Guards make in California?
It is an ideal time to get your foot in the door for this rapidly growing industry. California Security Guards earn an average of $30-40K per year, and get to work in a variety of exciting locations including movie sets, special events, or even as an armored truck guard, to name a few.
Are you looking for a job out of the country? Learn how to become a Security Officer in Canada.
Who issues Security Officer licenses?
The Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (BSIS) is responsible for licensing and regulating several industries, including private Security Guards. They exist to provide regulatory oversight to the Security Industry and protect and serve the public and consumers.
In its 2021 fiscal year, across all its participating industries, the BSIS reported:
- 595,818 currently active licenses and certificates
- 39,400 applications received
- 27,181 applications approved
- 22,090 renewals processed
Requirements to get a security license in California
Other than finishing your high school education, no other specific work experience is required; however, security companies require their Security Officers to be officially licensed by the state. Licensing eligibility criteria include:
- Being 18 years of age or older
- Submitting to a criminal history background check
- Completing the correct paperwork
- Meeting required and optional training requirements
How much does it cost to get a security license in California?
Your application and the licensing fee vary depending on the license type issued by BSIS. For example, as of July 2021, a Security Guard application fee is $55, and renewal fees are $40.
Getting your criminal background check
You must submit your Security Guard license application before doing your criminal history check to avoid processing delays.
Your criminal history background check is conducted through the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Justice (DOJ). To get started, download, and fill out your contact information and job details on the Security Officer Request for Live Scan Service form. This form has been pre-filled with the necessary information to ensure it is processed correctly and submitted directly to the BSIS.
There are processing fees associated with Live Scan, the DOJ, and the FBI, and as the applicant, you are responsible for paying these directly when you are fingerprinted.
Security Guard training requirements
To satisfy security license requirements, you must also take and pass the following training:
- The power to arrest training (completed before your application is submitted)
- 32 hours of Security Guard skills training within your first six months of registration.
- 8 hours of continuing training annually
All training must be through a Private Control Officer or a BSIS-approved training facility or course provider. Always keep at least two years’ worth of training records if requested by the BSIS or your employer.
Optional permits and licenses
Depending on what type of Security Officer job you want to get, you may be required to obtain additional permits, including:
How to submit your California Security Guard application
When you are ready to apply, you can submit an online or paper application:
Online applications are collected through the BreEZe system. This method bypasses the Cashiering Office and can reduce your application processing time by up to two weeks. The system will ask you to create an account, pay your application fee by credit card, then submit your application.
Paper applications can also be submitted by printing the application form and mailing it, along with your application fee to the BSIS at:
Bureau of Security and Investigative Services
P.O. Box 989002
West Sacramento, CA 95798-9002
Do not be in a rush when submitting your application. The process takes 4-6 weeks, assuming there are no concerns or missing information in your application. By submitting your application online, it is likely to be closer to four weeks.
Applications can get delayed when you submit your application via mail and are also dependent on when the BSIS received your criminal history results.
If you have not received your results within 60 days, call the BSIS at (916) 322-4000 or (800) 952-5210 or email the Bureau at email@example.com. They regularly experience high call volumes and suggest that email is the fastest way to get an update.
Common processing delays (new applications)
There are many reasons your application may be delayed. These include, but are not limited to:
- You have submitted an outdated version of the application form.
- There are missing required fields in the application.
- The name on your application does not match your paperwork or your Live Scan account.
- Other information in your application does not match your Live Scan account.
- You have not paid the application fee or paid an incorrect amount.
- The DOJ or FBI have rejected your fingerprints, and you need to be re-fingerprinted.
Your renewal notice will be mailed to your address on file (so make sure it is always up to date) approximately 90-days before your current license expires. By law, you must submit your renewal at least 60 days before it expires.
If you fail to submit your renewal at least 60 days before your current license expires, your license will be cancelled, and you will no longer be able to renew it. If this happens, you must submit a new application and go through the entire process to get your license back.
To renew, send a completed Security Officer Registration Renewal Application and your renewal fee to the BSIS or submit your renewal through BreEZe. Like new applications, you can save up to two weeks of processing time when you apply online.
Common processing delays (renewals)
There are many reasons a license renewal can be delayed. These include, but are not limited to:
- Submitting an outdated version of the application form.
- If you do not submit your renewal at least 60 days before its expiration date.
- Submitting your renewal request more than 90 days before the expiration.
- Failure to submit a timely change of address if applicable (any change of addresses should be done within 30 days of your move, not when you renew).
- There are required documents missing in your renewal application.
- You have not paid the renewal fee or paid an incorrect amount.
- The application is not signed.
Once licensed, you must keep your valid and current BSIS guard card on your person while on duty. This card usually arrives within three weeks of acceptance.
If you have not received your California guard card yet, you may present the pending receipt of your registration card once it has been approved by the BSIS.
How to get a Security Guard job in California
If you are looking for a rewarding career in the security industry, PalAmerican Security is one of North America’s fastest-growing, best-managed and most admired corporate culture security companies and is hiring new team members. If you think you have what it takes, register for a PalAmerican Career Fair or view available positions and apply online today.