Pennsylvania Security Guard Regulations

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    • Security guards help supplement law enforcement.polizei equipment 2 image by Thomas Brugger from

      The US Department of Labor expects employment in the private security industry to grow by 17 percent by 2016, according to Allentown, Pennsylvania's The Morning Call newspaper. Many corporations and private employers are now choosing to hire their own security personnel to prevent theft or provide extra security for their facilities. From drugstore surveillance to protecting armored trucks to working for private security firms, those seeking work as security guards in Pennsylvania must comply with several regulations.

    Minimum Requirements

    • To work as a security guard in Pennsylvania, you must be at least 18 years old and a United States citizen or have permission to work in the country, such as a work visa. Pennsylvania also requires security guards to have earned a high school diploma, or to pass an equivalency exam.


    • In 1953, Pennsylvania passed "The Private Detective Act of 1953," which required that all persons seeking employment as security guards (as well as private detectives and a number of other professions) obtain licenses. In order to receive a license, you will need to file a form with the Pennsylvania Clerk of Courts, submit fingerprints and undergo a background check conducted by both the Clerk of Courts and the local District Attorney's Office. The license must be renewed every two years.


    • Anyone wishing to work as a security guard in Pennsylvania must complete 40 hours of training. The coursework will help prepare future guards to execute their duties, as well as cover legal and safety issues. Other topics covered in training may include ethics, emergency medical and fire training, how to use appropriate force, how to detain suspects legally and ethically and how to complete and file reports.


    • Those wishing to carry a firearm in Pennsylvania must apply for a handgun permit and register their handgun with the state. You must have a clean criminal record, and you must undergo a federal background check. PA Act 235, also known as the Lethal Weapons Training Act, dictates that security guards be trained in the use of a .38-caliber pistol and shoot 50 rounds during testing. The act states guards must also receive instruction in how to properly use a shotgun. Furthermore, Pennsylvania distinguishes between "concealed-carry" and "open-carry" of a firearm. If you want to conceal your firearm (holstered inside a jacket, for example), you must also obtain a concealed-carry permit.

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