How Long Does It Take to Get a Security License?

If you're considering a career in security or planning to work in the private security industry in the United States, you might be wondering how long it takes to obtain a security license. The answer to this question can vary depending on several factors, including the type of security license, state requirements, and the application process. In this article, we will explore the steps involved in obtaining a security license, the time it typically takes, and provide some useful tips to help you navigate the process more efficiently.


Security licenses are essential credentials for individuals working in various security roles, such as security guards, private investigators, and armored car drivers. These licenses ensure that professionals in the security industry meet the necessary qualifications and standards to perform their duties effectively and responsibly. Each state in the USA has its own regulations and requirements regarding security licenses, so the process and duration may differ from state to state.

Security License Overview

Before diving into the timeframes, let's first understand the different types of security licenses available. The most common security licenses include:

  1. Security Guard License: This license allows individuals to work as security guards in various settings, such as shopping malls, airports, office buildings, or events.
  2. Private Investigator License: Private investigators are licensed professionals who conduct investigations, gather evidence, and provide surveillance services in legal and corporate settings.
  3. Armored Car Driver License: This license is required for individuals responsible for transporting valuable goods, such as money or jewelry, in armored vehicles.

Each type of license has its own set of requirements, training programs, and application processes.

State Requirements

The requirements for obtaining a security license can vary significantly from state to state. Some states have more stringent criteria, while others have relatively relaxed regulations. It's crucial to research and familiarize yourself with the specific requirements of the state where you intend to work. Common requirements may include:

  • Age restrictions (typically 18 or 21 years old)
  • Background checks, including criminal record checks
  • Fingerprints and photographs
  • Completion of state-approved training programs
  • Passing a written examination

Application Process

The application process for a security license usually involves several steps. After meeting the state's eligibility criteria, you will typically need to:

  1. Complete an application form: Fill out the required application form accurately, providing all the necessary personal and contact information.
  2. Submit supporting documents: Attach any required supporting documents, such as identification, proof of residency, and certificates of completed training programs.
  3. Pay application fees: Most states require applicants to pay a fee when submitting their application. The fees can vary depending on the type of license and the state's regulations.
  4. Schedule an interview or examination: In some cases, you may be required to attend an interview or pass a written examination to demonstrate your knowledge and skills in the security field.

The duration of the application process can range from a few weeks to several months, depending on the efficiency of the licensing agency and the complexity of your application.

Training and Education

Training and education are integral parts of obtaining a security license. The specific training requirements vary by state and license type. In general, you can expect to undergo training programs covering topics such as:

  • Legal aspects and regulations of the security industry
  • Emergency response procedures
  • Conflict resolution and de-escalation techniques
  • First aid and CPR
  • Report writing and documentation

The duration of training programs can range from a few days to several weeks, depending on the state's requirements and the level of proficiency required for the specific license.

Background Checks

To ensure public safety, background checks are a standard part of the security license application process. These checks typically involve reviewing an applicant's criminal history, employment records, and character references. The time it takes to complete a background check can vary, but it's important to disclose accurate information and cooperate fully to avoid any delays.

How long does it take to get a class D security license?

In the United States, a Class D security license is a type of license that allows individuals to work as unarmed security guards. This license is commonly required for positions such as security officers in office buildings, shopping malls, residential complexes, and other similar settings where the primary duty is to maintain a safe and secure environment.

The processing time for a security license application varies depending on the state and the volume of applications received. In some states, the licensing agency may have a quick turnaround time and process applications within a few weeks. However, in other states or during peak periods, it may take several months to receive your license.

It's crucial to plan ahead and submit your application well in advance, considering the processing time and any additional requirements specific to your state.

Cost of Security License

Obtaining a security license involves certain costs, including application fees, training program fees, and fingerprinting fees. The total cost can vary depending on the state and the type of license. On average, you can expect to spend a few hundred dollars to complete the entire licensing process.

Renewal and Recertification

Security licenses are typically valid for a specific period, usually ranging from one to three years. Once your license expires, you will need to renew it to continue working legally in the security industry. Renewal requirements may include completing additional training hours, submitting updated documentation, and paying renewal fees.

Tips for Obtaining a Security License

Here are some tips to help you navigate the process of obtaining a security license more effectively:

  1. Research state requirements: Familiarize yourself with the specific requirements of the state where you plan to work. This will help you understand the application process and any additional prerequisites.
  2. Start early: Begin the application process well in advance to allow for potential delays and processing times.
  3. Complete required training: Enroll in a state-approved training program and ensure you meet the training hour requirements for your specific license.
  4. Prepare for the examination: If an examination is part of the licensing process, dedicate time to study and review the relevant materials.
  5. Maintain a clean record: Adhere to the law and maintain a clean criminal record, as background checks are conducted as part of the licensing process.

How to get a security license in Chicago?

If you want to get a security license, S.O.S Private Security is a safety and suitable for this security company in Chicago. To take our training and courses or know more information from S.O.S., you can contact them through various communication channels. Call us at (708) 341-0928 or fill out the contact form on our homepage.


Obtaining a security license in the USA involves meeting state-specific requirements, completing training programs, and undergoing background checks. The time it takes to obtain a security license can vary depending on various factors, including the state, license type, and application processing time. By understanding the process and planning ahead, you can navigate the licensing journey more efficiently and embark on a rewarding career in the private security industry.


Can I work as a security guard without a license?

No, working as a security guard without a license is illegal in most states. A valid security license is a requirement for employment in the private security industry.

Can I apply for a security license in a different state than where I reside?

Generally, security licenses are issued by the state where you intend to work. However, some states may have reciprocity agreements that allow for license transfers from one state to another.

Are there any age restrictions for obtaining a security license?

Yes, there are typically age restrictions for security licenses, ranging from 18 to 21 years old, depending on the state and license type.

Can I work as a security guard while my license application is pending?

It depends on the state's regulations. Some states allow individuals to work under a temporary or provisional license while their application is being processed.

How often do security licenses need to be renewed?

Security licenses need to be renewed periodically, usually every one to three years, depending on the state. It's essential to keep track of your license's expiration date and initiate the renewal process in a timely manner.


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