Can a Felon Get a Security Guard License?

A security guard is responsible for the safety of a building. Security guards also protect people inside or around the building. You patrol the building or area by walking or driving. Security guards protect the building from damage. The annual salary for security guards goes up to $37,722. The average salary is $26,900 a year.

Job-seekers like the flexible hours of a security guard job. It’s often a second or third shift job. Parents often like night jobs because they don’t need child care if one parent works in the day and the other works at night. It can be a good second job. It can be dangerous. Security guards often work closely with police officers. There are two types of security guards. Armed security guards carry a weapon. Unarmed security guards patrol without a gun.You may be a good fit for a security guard job if you enjoy walking, are able to stay alert, care about public safety, and are okay with lots of quiet time but don’t mind the occasional excitement.

Can a felon be a security guard?

Most of the time, yes. It will depend on your state. Some states are strict. Some state have no requirements.

Requirements By State

Every state has different rules. You will have to research your own state. Check to see if your state has any language about “moral character.” It may be more difficult if your state uses those words.

Three states do not allow anyone with a felony record to be a security guard: Nevada, Tennessee, and Rhode Island. Check with a lawyer if you live in one of these states. The laws may have changed or there might be special circumstances that allow you to become a security guard.

Certificate of Rehabilitation

Some states require a Certificate of Rehabilitation. Eight states offer rehabilitation certificates: Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, and Virginia. Other states have a similar certificate, but call it by a different name. Check your state for specific information.

You might want to be an armed security guard. In that case, you need to be restored your right to carry a gun. Different states have different laws. Check your state to see what you need to do. Some states require a governor’s pardon. Some states just want a certain amount of time to pass.

Steps to become a security guard

There are several steps to become a security guard. Your state may not require all of the steps.

  • Do you need a “guard card”? A guard card is basically a security guard license. It shows that you have had the proper security guard training. It means you have passed a security guard exam.  Certain felonies will make getting a guard card more difficult. Check out the specific details of your state. Some states require a guard card and some don’t. If your state doesn’t require a guard guard, it will be easier for you.
  • If you need a guard card, you will need to contact the Public Safety Commissioner in your state. The PSA is the place that gives you a guard card.
  • Does your state require a Rehabilitation Certificate? Some states may require you to have Rehabilitation Certificate. This is a certificate that means you have been rehabilitated. It’s a document from court. It states that you have a good character and that you will not commit any more crimes. Your state will have a process.
  • Do you want to be an armed security guard? You will make more money as an armed security guard. Every state has different rules about restoring gun rights. You need to check your state to see if this is possible for you.

You will have to undergo two background checks. One will be for your guard card. The other will be for your employer. You will also have to be fingerprinted for the guard card. Smaller employers may not run a background check on you if you already have a guard card.

Information on background checks

You need to give permission to have a background check run on you. File a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ( EEOC) if someone runs a background check without your permission.

You will probably need to pay for your own background check. It is legal to require you to pay.

It’s a good idea to run a background check on yourself first. Sometimes there are mistakes that can be fixed. Also, there won’t be any surprises for you if you already know what’s on it.

Unfortunately, it is legal to discriminate against you because of your felony conviction. There are a few  certain circumstances, but licensors and employers are legally allowed to not hire you because of your criminal record. It is not legal to discriminate because of gender, race, age (over 40), disability, gender identity, sexual identity, pregnancy, color, religion and genetic information. If you believe that you are being discriminated against for one of those reasons, contact the EEOC.

Some states only allow background checks to go back seven years. The states that have a seven-year limit are California, Colorado, New York, Kansas, Montana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, Texas,  and Washington.

In any of the other 39 states, your felony conviction will be on a background check.  However, the person asking for the background check decides how many years back to check. The Public Safety Commission in your state issues the guard card. You may be able to find out ahead of time how far back the PSA will check. Maybe your felony was a long time ago. You may decide not to mention it if you don’t think it will be on the background check. It also depends on whether the guard card application asks about a criminal record.

The official advice is to be completely honest when filling out an application. Any time you are dishonest or falsify information on any kind of application, you can be automatically denied a job. Sometimes it is punishable by law. Being honest ahead of time about your record can be a good idea. If there is any chance that the Public Safety Commission or an employer will find out, admit to it up front.

What’s the best order to do this in?

First, determine whether your state allows people with a felony conviction to be security guards. Then, determine whether your state requires a guard card. If your state does require a guard card, check with the Public Safety Commission in your state. Ask if your state’s PSA will grant a guard card to an ex-felon.   Some states require a Certificate of Rehabilitation (CR.) Find out your state’s process to get a CR. To be an unarmed security guard  you will need forty hours of classes and will need to take an exam. Do you want to be an armed security guard? Find out if your state allows you to be restored your gun rights. If you want to be an armed security guard, you will need to complete firearms training and acquire a license.

You need to find an employer who will hire someone with a felony conviction. It might make sense to find out if employers are willing to hire you before you go to all the work described above.

Requirements to be a security guard:

You need to be 18 years old. You must  be a U.S. citizen. You probably need a high school diploma or a GED, but possibly the company employing you won’t require it. You will need to pass a drug test. Most of the time you will need a valid driver’s license.

In Summary:

It is possible to be a security guard in most states. Even if you live in Nevada, Rhode Island, or Tennessee, there may be a way to get a guard card. Some states are very easy. Many states don’t even require a guard card. You will have to do a lot of research about the rules in your state. It may seem like a lot of work, but it could lead to a great job.

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