An armed guard is a prestigious career choice that highlights bravery, skill, and extensive knowledge of safety. This highly sought-after position has become popular due to the hefty paycheck and job security that comes along with it.

Once you decide to dedicate your life to protecting people and keeping the peace, whether at an event or outside a business, the real question is, “How do I become an armed guard in NYC?”

New York City requires those interested in becoming armed guards to take certain courses initially and annually, depending on their title. At Building Security Services, we’ve been in the field for over 40 years, so trust us to relay these requirements.

Initial Training for Unarmed Guards

According to the Security Guard Act, Section 89-G of Article 7A, all potential and current guards must have a security guard registration with the New York Department of State. They must also complete training (if applicable) at a training school that the Division of Criminal Justice Services approves of.

The first initial training course that unarmed officers must complete is the 8 Hour Pre-Assignment Training, where they receive an introduction to the course.

Upon completion, they’ll receive a guard certification, which they must copy and submit with their security guard application. Only then can they apply for a Security Guard Registration Card from the DOS.

Next is the 16 Hour On-the-Job Training course that delves deeper into what being a security guard entails. The classes, which they must complete within a 90-day stretch, explain guard duties, worksite requirements, and employer needs, to name a few.

After this, their initial training ends, but they must undergo annual training to keep their New York State license, which we’ll delve into further below.

Initial Training for Armed Guards

Before getting into annual training, you must understand the difference between armed and unarmed guard training. While unarmed guards don’t need to take special classes covering guns and other weapons, armed guards must take additional courses and obtain the proper permits.

Alongside the 8 Hour Pre-Assignment Training and 16 Hour On-the-Job Training courses, armed guards must take the 47 Hour Firearms Training. The latter covers ammunition concerns, tactical considerations, weapon care and cleaning, and how to deal with post-incident trauma, among other lessons. However, before they can take this class, they must have a registration card and weapon permit.

After passing two examinations, these individuals receive certificates of completion that they must then make copies of and submit with their applications.

Annual Training

Just as important as knowing, “How do I become an armed guard in NYC?” is knowing how to keep your license up to date with ongoing training. Like unarmed guards, armed ones must take an 8-hour Annual In-Service Training.

During this yearly training, licensed and experienced guards learn how to maintain their statuses by receiving updates and reminders on the legal powers and limitations of their roles, alongside lessons on:

  • What to do in case of emergencies
  • Communication and public relations
  • Writing reports
  • Active shooter protocols
  • Conduct and ethics

However, unlike unarmed guards, armed ones must take additional security courses annually in the form of 8 Hour Annual Firearms Training. Since licenses last two years, armed guards must take this course twice before every license expiration. Otherwise, the state won’t deem them eligible for a renewal.

Exemptions According to Title

While the state requires these initial and annual training for those with no prior law enforcement training, many with a previous or current title don’t have to follow these demands.

Current and Retired Police Officers

For instance, police officers don’t have to register for a security guard license but a police officer license instead. They don’t have to complete these training programs either unless they plan to obtain a security guard license in the near future. In this case, they would also need their employer to write them a letter of good standing and submit a fingerprint receipt with their application.

A retired police officer must provide a department-signed letter highlighting their retirement date. They must also show proof that they completed the Basic Course for Police Officers or an equivalent course with or without firearm training to become an unarmed or armed guard, respectively.

However, if their last firearm training session was over a year ago, the only answer to “How do I become an armed guard in NYC?” is by undergoing an 8 Hour Annual Firearms Course. The state also requires the 8-hour Annual In-Service Training Course for Security Guards if the officer retired a decade or more prior to the application process.

Peace Officers

Like police officers, peace officers don’t need to follow initial and annual training. According to the NYS Criminal Procedure Law, Article 2, as long as their actions occur under the watchful eye of their primary employer, they receive an exemption and can work in their official capacity.

However, if any of their services occur outside work hours (such as when moonlighting), they must undergo all the above training to regain official capacity in these times. The only exception includes if a specific position is eligible for a waiver or exemption.

If an employer requires a peace officer to carry weapons, the peace officer must complete the 47 Hour Firearms Course alongside the 8 Hour Annual Firearms Course if their employer has employed them for less than 18 months.

For those who have been working under their current employer for 18 months or more, they can instead apply for a Firearms Training Waiver. After receiving it, submit a copy of it with the MPTC Basic Course for Peace Officer with Firearms certificate to fulfill licensing requirements.

Security Is Our Top Priority!

Whether you want to join our Building Security Services team with over 40 years of experience or need someone to provide a watchful eye over your establishment or event, count on us. We’re a highly rated security guard service in New York and have been around for over 40 years. We provide armed security in NYC for all kinds of industries.

Each team member goes through all the appropriate security training, and we provide background checks for our clients’ safety. Call (212) 687-1711 to request information and learn “How do I become an armed guard in NYC?”

Joseph Ferdinando is the visionary founder of Building Security Services, a leading security company renowned for its comprehensive security services. With an illustrious career spanning over 40 years in the security industry, Joseph has been instrumental in elevating the standards of security guard services for a broad spectrum of businesses and organizations. As an influential member of the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) in both New York and New Jersey chapters, Joseph has played a pivotal role in shaping industry standards and practices.