The different types of security guard qualifications include training programs, weapons licensing, as well as special police officer credentialing. The necessity of obtaining any or all of these security guard qualifications depends on the laws in the jurisdiction in which an individual wishes to work as well as employer policy. In many cases, credentials can be earned on the job, although some positions may require an officer to receive training through a school or government program. Many employers give preference to individuals with law enforcement or military experience when hiring security officers, as such experience is often considered equal to, or an improvement on, other types of security guard qualifications.
Many security companies, as well as employers that hire security staff directly, have their own in-house training programs. These programs may require a new recruit to attend workshop or classroom training and then complete a supervised orientation period in which he works closely with a senior security guard. The senior guard may monitor the new recruit's progress so that the employer can make a decision as to whether the recruit will be offered a permanent position.
Not all security guards carry weapons, but those who do may be required to complete a separate training and licensing program. In many jurisdictions, security guards who need to carry firearms may be required to complete a course in their use and submit to a background check before they can receive a weapons license. The availability of weapons courses varies by jurisdiction, as do the types of weapons that a security officer can legally carry.
Security guards who work in sensitive contexts, such as in government buildings, may be required to be licensed as a special police officer so that they can make arrests in certain situations. Special police officers typically have to complete a comprehensive training program offered by a third-party education provider that has been approved by a governmental authority. After completing the training program, the security guard can apply for his special police officer license.
There can be some unique security guard qualifications for those who want to work in a casino. Casino security often requires knowledge of gambling and ways in which gamblers may attempt to cheat the casino. A casino security guard may not only need to complete an in-house training program, but may be more likely to get a job if he has formal training or experience in casino operations. Some schools and universities, particularly those located in areas with numerous casinos, offer this type of specialized training.