If you want to become a security guard in New York State, but you don’t know how, this guide will help you out.

It’s not easy to find the information you need, and it can be hard to figure out what steps are necessary.

We’ve created this article about how to get your NYS license and become a security guard so that you have all of the information that you need at your fingertips.

To become a security guard in New York State, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Pass the NYS written exam
  • Complete 16 hours of on-the-job training
  • Have undergone a criminal background check & fingerprinting
  • Obtain a license from the NYS Division of Licensing Services.

Once you have completed all of these steps and have received your documentation from the New York State Department of Criminal Justice Services, you will be able to begin working as a security guard in NYS.

8 and 16-Hour Training Is Required To Becoming A Security Guard In New York State

If you’re considering becoming a security guard, it is important to take your education seriously.

To earn your NYS Security Guard License and become licensed in the state of New York, there is an 8-hour pre-assignment training course that you will have to enroll in and receive a passing grade following completion.

Students in this course will receive a general overview of duties and responsibilities relevant to security guards.

The course covers topics such as:

Once a passing grade has been received, this is the first step in obtaining a registration card from the NYS Department of State.

The 16-hour on-the-job training must be completed within 3 months (or 90 days) from passing the 8-hour pre-assignment training.

Once you complete your 16-hour on-the-job training, an 8-hour course must be completed within 1 year (or 12 calendar months), and every year you remain a security guard in the state of New York.

Armed Security Training For New York State

To become an armed security officer in New York State, you need to complete a 47-hour course at a firearms training school.

This course must be approved by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). The DCJS requires that the training include live-range firing, classroom and field instruction in handgun safety, shooting fundamentals, emergency procedures, and legal issues associated with private security services.

In addition, you must complete eight hours of range firing under supervision and a final examination.

Much like with an unarmed security officer, an 8-hour course must be completed within 1 year (or 12 calendar months) from completing the 47-hour firearms training course. This 8-hour course needs to be completed only once.

Related: Armed Vs. Unarmed Security Guards 

Getting Your NYS Guard License

As mentioned above, there are certain procedures that you must follow to get your NYS License as a security guard.

The first thing you need is a certification from the New York State Department of Criminal Justice Services (NYS DCJS) if you want to be employed by a private company.

If you would like to go for a state-employed security guard, then you must have a letter of authorization from NYS DCJS.

To get your certification, you need to contact the NYS DCJS and request that they send you an application for the certification.

Then, take the relevant educational courses that are required by law (e.g., aggression prevention) and submit these to NYS DCJS along with a copy of your diploma.

When you have passed these courses, you can request a certification from NYS DCJS, showing that you are qualified to be a security guard and deserve the license.

Once this has been issued to you, you are ready to apply for the license itself; it is possible to do this online.

After you receive your certification and you’ve filled out the relevant forms, then you’re ready to apply for your license. To do this, you need a completed application form and documentation (i.e., a copy of the certification letter).

How You Get A NYS Guard License

To become a security guard in the state of New York, you must first obtain a state license.

Before being granted this license, however, applicants must meet certain requirements that have been specified by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS).

To apply for this license, you must attend an approved security guard training program and complete all coursework, tests, and exams.

Qualified applicants will then be granted a NYS security guard license.

The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) oversees security guard licensing for the entire state.

It is responsible for implementing policies and procedures to ensure adequate safety in every municipality within the state’s jurisdiction.

As such, DCJS is tasked with developing training program requirements that define which practices are acceptable for security officers to carry out while on duty.

In addition, it is responsible for designing a uniform licensing process that all applicants must follow before obtaining their license.

The Division of Licensing Services is responsible for issuing security licenses to applicants who meet the DCJS-mandated requirements.

What is a security guard?

Security guards are individuals who have been trained to protect people and property in a wide range of settings, including business establishments.

While there is no specific definition for security guards per se, the job description commonly involves the following:

  • Supervising/monitoring employees or clients, or both, at their workstations
  • Conducting patrols or other surveillance activities
  • Executing emergency procedures to protect the safety of people and property
  • Enforcing parking restrictions/regulations, fire safety regulations, and procedures, or rules
  • Providing services to enhance the security of entrances/exits and other facilities such as observation posts, lighting systems, surveillance equipment, locks, etc.

Security guards are commonly employed in both private and public areas such as office buildings, factories/warehouses, retail stores, parking lots, shopping malls, concert halls/theaters, airports, hospitals, libraries.

Security guards are also frequently found in residential or corporate settings such as apartment buildings and gated communities.

In addition to the above duties and services, they are also hired for special events and, at times, for personal protection.

Security guards conduct their duties under the supervision of an employer or a security management company.

They further answer to all applicable laws such as the New York State Penal Code as well as individual state laws (e.g., the New York State Security Guard Regulations).

Security guard training programs vary in duration but most last for several weeks. As part of their training, they are taught self-defense techniques and how to conduct patrols and emergency procedures, especially during a crisis or terror attack.

Security guard trainees are also trained on the basic laws that govern the security industry, such as the types of weapons allowed by law (e.g., handguns).

Why should you become a security guard?

Security guards have a wide variety of job opportunities available to them in the state of New York. As such, individuals who wish to obtain employment as a security guard may do so by:

  • Working for private property owners and/or operators;
  • Working for law enforcement agencies as a special deputy;
  • Working for government agencies in the capacity of a federal security officer (or GSO).

Private property owners and/or operators are often busy people who do not have time to oversee their operations on an hour-by-hour basis.

As such, they may decide to contract out their security services to a security guard who is hired by the hour or by the month, and in some cases both.

Law enforcement agencies are often charged with protecting large areas of land and/or properties that they have no jurisdiction over.

As such, they may hire special deputies who act as their eyes and ears in locations where law enforcement officers cannot be stationed due to budgetary or staffing restrictions.

Government agencies can utilize security guards in various ways, but in general, these individuals are hired under a contract that authorizes them to perform specified duties that promote the interests of their employers.

Security guard jobs generally offer flexible hours and competitive compensation packages. Security guard employment opportunities also typically include medical insurance coverage for employees and their spouses and/or dependents.

We provide security guard services in the following New York locations:


To become a security guard in the state of New York, one must be over 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED.

Before you can start your job, you will need to complete several steps, including getting your NYS License.

Once you have completed all of these steps mentioned above, you will be able to start working as a security guard.

Joseph Ferdinando is the founder of Building Security Services, a company that provides security solutions to businesses and organizations. He has more than 40 years of experience in the security industry, and he is a recognized expert in the field. Joseph is also a member of Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), where he's held position of Director on the Board of Directors in both the New York and new Jersey chapters.