New Security Guard Requirements in Pennsylvania
If you want to be an unarmed security guard, bouncers, doormen or bodyguards, you must get a security guard license in PA.
- PA Security Guard License Type: Varies by county
- PA Security Guard License Length: 2-5 years
- PA Security Guard Licensing Authority: County courts
- PA Security Guard Licensing Code: Private Investigator Act of 1953
- PA Security Guard Licensing Website: Check your county’s website
- PA Security Guard Licensing Phone Number: Check your county’s website
- PA Security Guard Licensing Address: Check your county’s website
- PA Security Guard Fingerprinting & Background Fees: $17.50
- PA Security Guard Application Fee: $58 (typical, cost varies by county)
- PA Security Guard License Issuance Fee: $0-200
- PA Security Guard Courses before You Apply for a Security Officer License: None required
- PA Security Guard Minimum Age: 18
Security Guard Application Process
The procedure for you to get your security license varies somewhat by county. PA has almost 70 counties, but the general procedure is similar in all counties. The fees charged vary by county.
Get Your Security Guard License through a Private Security Company
Most counties allow you to get your unarmed security guard license through a licensed security guard company. This is the easiest, most cost effective way to get your security guard license.
Pursuant to The Private Detective Act of 1953, the security guard company that employes you is legally responsible for your good conduct while on duty and your reasonable supervision of your conduct while on duty.
Your employer can be fined up to $5000 if they knowingly employe anyone as a guard who has been convicted of a felony, or any of the following offenses, and who has not, subsequent to such conviction, received executive pardon therefore removing this disability: (1) illegally using, carrying or possessing a pistol or other dangerous weapon; (2) making or possessing burglar’s instruments; (3) buying or receiving stolen property; (4) unlawful entry of a building; (5) aiding escape from prison; (6) unlawfully possessing or distributing habit ofrming narcotic drugs; (7) picking pockets or attempting to do so; (8) soliciting any person to commit sodomy or other lewdness; (9) any person whose private detective or investigator’s license was revoked or application for such license was denied by the court of common pleas or by the authorities of any other state or territory because of conviction of any of the crimes or offenses specified in this section; (10) recklessly endangering another person; (11) terroristic threats; or (12) committing simple assault.
- Get a job with a security guard company. Usually this job offer is contingent on you passing the background check to get your security guard license.
- You or the security guard company sends a certified check or money order made payable to the County Clerk of Court for the amount specified by the county (usually around $35 for processing) and a separate certified check or money order for $17.50 made payable to the Commonwealth of PA for the fingerprint comparison.
- Get your fingerprints taken and submit them to the County Clerk of Court.
- The County Clerk sends one copy of your fingerprints to the State Police and keeps the other copy on file with the county court.
- The State Police runs a criminal background check on you and sends the results back to the County Clerk.
- The County Clerk of Court notifies the security guard company about the results of the fingerprint check.
- You’ll get some type of license ID card from the county court or your employer.
Get Your Individual Security Guard License
You can also get a security guard license by yourself without having to go through a security guard company. However, the individual process is a bit more cumbersome and expensive. The Private Detective Act of 1953, encompasses the licensing of security guards. The county District Attorney is responsible for the enforcement of the provisions of the law. Once you are licensed, you may work anywhere throughout the Commonwealth of PA.
- Contact county court office for the county you reside in for their specific application process and fees.
- Get at least 5 letters of recommendation from private citizens attesting to your good moral character.
- Get 2 color passport photos taken of you.
- Prepare a petition to the Court of Common Pleas in you county to become an unarmed security guard.
- Submit with your petition your photos, letters of recommendation, fingerprints, application fees (about $58 depending on your county) and fingerprinting fees (separate cashier’s check for $17.50 payable t0 the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania).
- The court clerk submits your fingerprints to the State Police. The State Police run a background check on you. The court clerk submits the results of your background check with your petition to the court.
- The court sets a hearing date and advertises the court case in local papers for several weeks.
- You or your attorney attend the court hearing date.
- The attorney general or their representative attends the court hearing and gives their recommendation as to whether or not you should be awarded a security guard license.
- If the court grants you your license, pay the $200 license fee with cover letter to the court.
- You’ll get some type of license ID card from the county court.
Unarmed Security Guard Training Requirements in PA
No state or county level training required to become an unarmed security officer in Pennsylvania. However, since 2006, multiple state laws have been proposed that would mandate some training before you became a security guard. Most of these proposed laws also would change control of the licensing of private security officers from the county level to the state level.
Your employer may required that you be trained in-house on security officer basic knowledge and State/Federal laws. Most large security guard firms, such as Allied Barton, have excellent internal training programs.