Deciding to become a Security Guard is the first step towards an exciting and rewarding career. Not only is the training useful in case you are involved in a crisis, but the role will improve your people skills, problem-solving skills and ensure you never experience a dull workday. As the job is dynamic and the scenarios you might face are plenty, you can imagine that the training and requirements must also be just as extensive.
In this article, we will outline everything you need to know to get a job as a Security Guard including the different levels of security guards, their varying roles, and the minimum requirements to be a Security Guard in Texas. We will also cover:
- Types/levels of Security Guards in Texas
- Requirements to Become a Security Guard in Texas
- How Long Does it Take to Get a Security Guard License in Texas?
- How Much is a Security Guard License in Texas?
Types of Security Guards in Texas
There are three levels of Security Guards and licenses in Texas and each has unique qualities and requirements with respect to the kind of work they do:
Level II — Non-Commissioned Security Guard:
A Level II guard is an unarmed Security Guard. The duties of these security guards are limited to observation and reporting. These types of security guards usually work in areas where the threat level is low, and the use of an armed guard may cause concern. Examples of such places include a hospital, school, traffic setting, and entrances to apartment buildings or gated communities.
Level III — Commissioned Security Guard (Or Armed Security Guard)
A Level III guard is an armed Security Guard who is authorized to carry firearms. Level III training is extensive, and the Security Guard must complete advanced security courses and tests in order to obtain this level of authorization. Typically, a commissioned armed Security Guard is employed in higher-risk areas, or areas that require further protection due to the value of assets. This is why Level III training is so demanding.
Level IV — Personal Protection Officer (Or Bodyguard):
These security guards are permitted to work as personal protection for clients. The clients can range from working at an event as a VIP bodyguard, protecting celebrities or high-profile business executives, or as backstage security.
Requirements to Become a Security Guard in Texas
Any kind of security work that you do in Texas will require you to, at the minimum, complete the Level II security guard training. As such, we will primarily be focusing on what you need to do to obtain this level of security license.
1. Apply for Open Security Guard Jobs with Private Security Companies
In Texas, the governing body that controls the Texas security guard license is called the Private Security Bureau or PSB. This Bureau is under the purview of the Texas Department of Public Safety (TDPS). In order to be registered with the Texas Department of Public Safety, you must be hired by a private Texas security company.
The typical requirements for a security company include being at least 18 years of age, successfully completing a high school diploma prior to applying, possessing U.S. citizenship or authorization to work in Texas, the ability to speak and write in English, and passing a background screening.
2. Complete the Level II Security Guard Training
Once you are hired by a security company, your next step is to complete security guard training Level II. The TDPS uses an online system for submitting an initial application and for renewal applications. This system is called Texas Online Private Security or TOPS. TOPS contains a list of approved training and continuing education schools.
Level II security guard training involves taking a training course, with material prepared and approved by the TDPS. The training course must either be administered by a licensed Level III or Level IV Training School and taught by a Licensed Level III or Level IV Instructor. Alternatively, it may be administered by a licensed private security company and taught by a representative of that company. Once the security guard training is through, a certificate indicating the completion of the Level II training course will be submitted to the department.
3. Submit your Application
Once you are employed, you may submit your application to the PSB using their TOPS application portal. You can either mail in your application and all required supplementary documents, or you can visit the TOPS website where you can complete an online application, pay all the fees, and schedule a fingerprint appointment in order to conduct a criminal history background check.
Be aware that even if you apply online, there are still documents that you will need to manually send through mail such as the fingerprinting form and the forms from your employer. Once your application has been approved, you will receive your security guard registration card or pocket card.
Finally, to maintain your license once you’ve received it, you must renew it. Your registration lasts 2 years from the date of issue. Renewing your license can be done online, however, the fingerprint background check needs to be physically administered for renewals as well as for first-time licensees.
If you choose to renew your license online, the earliest you may do so is 60 days before the expiration. It is also possible to renew your license after it expires, however, some fees will apply.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Security Guard License in Texas?
Once all the forms have been properly filled out and submitted, you will receive your individual registration. This process usually takes between 4-6 weeks; however, this is merely the wait time to receive the certification. The entire security training and licensing process can take up to 2 months beginning from the time you are hired to when you finally receive your pocket card.
How Much is a Security Guard License in Texas?
Once you can prove that you meet all the criteria, you will have to pay a licensing fee. For a Level II non-commissioned Security Guard, the registration fee, pocket card fee, and subscription surcharge total to about $40 USD.
Ready for a Career as a Security Guard?
Having a job in the criminal justice field will require work and dedication, but it can be incredibly exciting and rewarding. This job will provide you with the opportunity to be in the midst of many industries, so you’ll never have to worry about routine, drab work.
At PalAmerican, we offer revolutionary training programs for security guards, including advancement training to propel your career. Contact our Houston location to gain valuable training for a Security Officer job in Texas.