Online Colleges for Aspiring Private Security Guards
Private security guards usually undergo on-the-job training rather than completing a degree. However, you could pursue a certificate or degree in a related topic, such as security management, to enhance your training. Individual courses are also available in security-related subjects. Read about pursuing a security program or course, and compare online and on-campus learning options. Review the licensure and certification requirements for private security guards.
Are There Online Colleges for Private Security Guards?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that private employers usually provide in-house training programs for aspiring security guards followed by a period of on-the-job training (www.bls.gov). However, several public and private schools offer you the opportunity to earn a certificate or degree fully or partially online in security management, law enforcement or criminal justice to prepare you for employment. These programs include courses that pertain to your chosen career as a private security guard, such as the basics of the security industry, law enforcement procedures and corporate security.
In addition, you can enroll in stand-alone, online courses offered through a few schools' departments of criminology, law enforcement, justice or homeland security. These can include an overview of security, public safety, individual rights or homeland security.
What About On-Campus Training Programs?
Many schools in the U.S. offer on-campus programs in homeland security, criminal justice, or justice administration with an emphasis on protective services, as well as specific private and corporate security. Coursework often varies based on your primary field of study and the location of the school. For example, Nevada colleges might cover hotel and gaming security, while schools near port cities could provide you with instruction on import inspections, homeland security and maritime law.
What Sort of Certificates or Degrees Can I Earn?
You could earn a certificate in homeland security and investigation or protective services at a community college or career academy in traditional, online and blended formats. You can complete a certificate program in two months to two years, though online or part-time learning could increase the length. You might be able to apply some of the credits you earn toward a degree program. Depending on the particular field of study, you could explore loss prevention, psychology, civil law, report writing and detention procedures. Schools might also offer you training in first aid, CPR and the use of firearms or other weapons.
Schools also offer complete and partial online degree programs in criminal justice, security management and homeland security with concentrations in security and investigation, security administration or law enforcement. Associate and bachelor's degree programs could cover topics in retail and hotel security, security management, security administration, surveillance, criminal court procedure, protection services and interviewing techniques. Usually, on-campus programs offer you the opportunity to complete an internship to gain practical training and experience.
Am I Licensed or Certified Upon Graduation?
Graduation with a certificate or degree is not equivalent to licensure. According to the BLS, you must hold a state license to be employed as a security guard in most states, though requirements for licensure differ. Contact your state's licensing board to learn what education and training is necessary to become a licensed private security guard. The type of licensing you need might depend on whether you're required to carry a firearm or not.
Certification is voluntary, but could enhance your employment or advancement possibilities. With a combination of experience and education, you might be eligible to sit for a certification examination administered by the American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS) International. The three certifications offered include the Certified Protection Professional (CPP), Professional Certified Investigator (PCI) and Physical Security Professional (PSP).
ASIS International also offers online review courses to help prepare you for your certification exam. In addition, you can find online professional development courses, courses on CD and online webinar sessions offered by the organization.