There are many questions on how to become a licensed Security Officer in the state of Florida. This article will provide the most up-to-date answers to those questions and provide instructions on the process of becoming licensed in the security industry.
About the Security Industry
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Licensing, licenses and regulates the private security industry in accordance with Chapter 493, Florida Statutes. Security officers and security agencies serve in positions of trust. Untrained and unlicensed persons or businesses, or persons not of good moral character are a threat to the public safety and welfare. The private security industry is regulated to ensure the interests of the public are adequately served and protected. This information has been made available to inform Florida citizens about licensing requirements.
A security officer is any individual or business who, for consideration, advertises as or is engaged in the business of furnishing security services described below. The individuals and agencies are required to be licensed:
- Acts as a bodyguard
- Guards property
- Transports prisoners
- Guards armored cars
- Attempts to prevent theft of property or other valuables
- Seeks the return of such stolen valuables
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Licensing Class D Security Officer Handbook describes a security officer as follows:
A “security officer” means any individual who, for consideration, advertises as providing or performs bodyguard services or otherwise guards persons or property; attempts to prevent theft or unlawful taking of goods, wares, and merchandise; or attempts to prevent the misappropriation or concealment of goods, wares or merchandise, money, bonds, stocks, notes, or other documents, papers, and articles of value or procurement of the return thereof. The term also includes armored car personnel and those personnel engaged in the transportation of prisoners.
Types of Security Licenses
The Florida Division of Licensing categorizes licenses for individuals as either Class D (Unarmed) Security License or Class G Statewide Firearm (Armed) License. An easy and fun way to remember the differences between licenses is that ”G stands for gun”. Below, you will find information on both licenses.
A Class D Security License (UNARMED) is necessary to perform unarmed private security guard services in the state of Florida. Chapter 493 of the Florida State Statutes establishes the essential requirements for the license. The licenses are issued and regulated by the Division of Licensing of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. While it’s not necessary to hold a Class D license to act as a bodyguard, the license is needed to work for a Class B private security company as an unarmed guard. Such jobs include guarding entrances to buildings, parking garages and commercial yards.
A Class G Statewide Firearm License (ARMED) is a security license where the individual has received additional training to carry a gun on duty. This license is necessary to perform armed security guard services in the state of Florida. Chapter 493 and Chapter 790 of the Florida State Statutes establish the essential requirements and laws for this license.
General License Requirements
The Florida Division of Licensing has minimal requirements to become a Security Officer. Each individual licensed by the department must:
(a) Be at least 18 years of age.
(b) Be of good moral character.
(c) Not have been adjudicated incapacitated under s. 744.331 or a similar statute in another state, unless her or his capacity has been judicially restored; not have been involuntarily placed in a treatment facility for the mentally ill under Chapter 394 or a similar statute in any other state, unless her or his competency has been judicially restored; and not have been diagnosed as having an incapacitating mental illness, unless a psychologist or psychiatrist licensed in this state certifies that she or he does not currently suffer from the mental illness.
(d) Not be a chronic and habitual user of alcoholic beverages to the extent that her or his normal faculties are impaired; not have been committed under Chapter 397, former Chapter 396, or a similar law in any other state; not have been found to be a habitual offender under s. 856.011(3) or a similar law in any other state; and not have had two or more convictions under s. 316.193 or a similar law in any other state within the 3-year period immediately preceding the date the application was filed, unless the individual establishes that she or he is not currently impaired and has successfully completed a rehabilitation course.
(e) Not have been committed for controlled substance abuse or have been found guilty of a crime under Chapter 893 or a similar law relating to controlled substances in any other state within a 3-year period immediately preceding the date the application was filed, unless the individual establishes that she or he is not currently abusing any controlled substance and has successfully completed a rehabilitation course.
(f) Be a citizen or legal resident alien of the United States or have been granted authorization to seek employment in this country by the United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Once you meet the basic eligibility requirements, you need to attend a Licensed Security Officer School or Training Facility. These schools are licensed by the Florida Division of Licensing to teach students the curriculum necessary to obtain their security licenses. This training is offered by various training facilities throughout Florida such as The Securus Group, S2 Safety and Intelligence Institute, and Miami Protection Security School. (*Note: The author does not personally endorse any of these schools but mentions them to show the different variety and locations of security schools.)
Class D Security License (Unarmed)
To begin the licensing process for the Class D License, you must first successfully complete 40 hours of security training at a Security Officer School or Training Facility that is licensed by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). The license may be obtained by the successful completion of 40-hours of training before the initial application.
Typically, students will complete the 40-hours of training and immediately apply for the license. Once the training is completed, and the application is successfully submitted, the Division of Licensing will issue the candidate a temporary Class D License or “blue card”. This temporary license allows the individual to begin working (if hired) immediately with a Security Company. After the issuance of the temporary card, you can expect the “hard” license to arrive in the mail within 4 to 6 weeks.
The cost of the full Class D Training is normally anywhere from $125 to $170 depending on where you decide to attend. You should make sure that the facility you attend for your training is properly licensed and insured. An easy way to check that information is to visit the Florida Division of Licensing Agency/Name Search here. Once there, type in the name of the School to make sure it is properly licensed.
There are exceptions to the above training requirements and they include the following:
- If you are a currently employed law enforcement officer, correctional officer or correctional probation officer certified by FDLE Criminal Justice Standards & Training Commission, a copy of your valid ID card issued by your employing law enforcement agency is sufficient to satisfy the training requirement.
- If you have successfully completed a training program approved by the Florida Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission for certification as a law enforcement officer, correctional officer or correctional probation officer, a copy of your certificate of completion is sufficient to satisfy the training requirement.
- If you qualify for a Class “DI” Security Officer Instructor license under Rule 5N-1.138(1)(e) – (g), Florida Administrative Code, proof of such qualification is sufficient to satisfy the training requirement.
Class G Statewide Firearm License (Armed)
To begin the licensing process for the Class G Statewide Firearm License, you must first successfully complete 28 hours of combined classroom and firearm security training at a Security Officer School or Training Facility that is licensed by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). The training is obtained by completing 20 hours of classroom instruction and 8 hours of firearm instruction at a gun range. The firearm portion of the class is meant to provide basic firearm usage and safety and to meet the requirements of the state-regulated shooting sequences to show proficiency with a firearm. All firearm classes are taught by a Florida Class K Instructor.
Once this training is successfully completed, the student will be issued a Certificate of Proficiency for Statewide Firearm License (Form DACS 16005) which the student will turn in with his or her completed application. Once the application is submitted, it normally takes from 5 to 7 weeks to receive the license in the mail.
** If the applicant can show proof that he or she is an active law enforcement officer currently certified under the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission or has completed the training required for that certification within the last 12 months, or if the applicant submits one of the certificates specified below, the department may waive the foregoing firearms training requirement.
- The Florida Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission Firearms Instructor’s Certificate.
- The National Rifle Association Police Firearms Instructor’s Certificate.
- The National Rifle Association Security Firearms Instructor’s Certificate.
- A Firearms Instructor’s Certificate from a federal, state, county, or municipal police academy in this state recognized as such by the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission or by the Department of Education.
There are two major costs involved with obtaining your Florida Security License. These costs include the cost of the training and the cost of the license itself. While the cost of the training varies from school to school, the license fees are set by the Florida Division of Licensing. Below are examples of license costs as of the date of this writing:
Class D License – Anywhere from $100 to $170 for the full 40-hour course
Class G License – Anywhere from $140 to $210 for the 28-hour course
Fingerprint Card – $52.75
Class D License – $45 (Total Cost for Class D is $97.75)
Class G License – $112 (Total Cost for Class G is $164.75)
*Note: The Florida Division of Licensing only requires the $42 Fingerprint Card fee to be submitted with one application. The exception is if 6 months time has passed and you apply for an additional license. At that point, you would have to get fingerprinted again and pay the fee again. Also, the applications require a passport photograph which is an additional cost. For an updated list of license fees, click here.
If you would like more information about the Security Industry, you can visit the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs, Division of Licensing. This website contains the most up-to-date information about the Security Industry in Florida.
If you would like to know more information about the Florida State Statutes that govern the Security Industry, you can visit the Florida Senate website and look up Florida Statute 493 (Security Industry) or Florida Statute 790 (Firearm Laws).
You can download a PDF copy of the Florida Security Officer Handbook, you can do so here.