A State by State Security Guard License Guide

Security Guard Requirements in South Dakota

South Dakota does not license security guards, though some local ordinances exist. The absence of licensing statutes means there could be security agencies in the state that impose standards lower than the norm. However, it doesn't mean that there are not employers setting very high standards.

In states that regulate the security industry tightly, registration often doesn't take place until after hiring. The first screening is done by the employer. Later the state validates that some basic requirements have been met. In some cases, this amounts to little more than ensuring that a background check is carried out and that the guard has work authorization. When it comes to the more competitive positions, the employer is the driving force.

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Basic Security Guard Expectations

There are some basic standards in effect in most of the nation: Security guards need to be at least 18 years old. They need to have backgrounds that are free of felonies and of more serious misdemeanors, though some states do not penalize individuals for criminal activity that took place in the more distant past; the licensing agency may consider whether the applicant’s record has been exemplary in the time since. Security officers must be free of addictions or potentially debilitating mental disorders. They must present U.S. identification cards or demonstrate that they are authorized to work in the United States. Prospective security guards with military backgrounds may be required to produce a DD-214 indicating type of discharge.

Employers often cite physical skills, for example, the ability to walk several hours without a break or the ability to lift 40 lbs. Serious medical conditions can be a disqualifier. Many positions are open only to individuals with driver’s licenses, but this is not universal.

Security Guard Knowledge and Skill Base

Most states do require training, but the requirements vary a good deal. Unarmed guards could have a state-mandated training requirement anywhere from four hours to 40 or more hours. South Dakota security guards do not have training mandates. However, some are hired by large security agencies that offer their own training programs. Security guards also have the option of pursuing training before hiring. A major security agency, posting recently for 'event' security officers to provide services at the South Dakota state fair, noted that selected individuals would need knowledge of security operations or willingness to learn.

Though some security positions require very specialized training, there is a basic body of knowledge common to many security roles. Security officers who interact with the public do more than watch for illegal activity; there are also responsible for keeping people safe and orderly. In general, they

  • Know their role and the limitations of their authority
  • Understand how to interact with the public
  • Know how to take notes and write incident reports
  • Know emergency procedures
  • Know procedures such as patrol and access control

Attaining More Competitive Positions

Some of the security agencies in South Dakota maintain a high profile nationwide. They often favor candidates who have past experience in security or have experience in related roles such as corrections, law enforcements, or the military. However, higher education may also be considered.

Security agencies also seek oral and written communication skills – security officers are report writers. Although such skills are favored by most employers, large employers are more likely to carry out formal assessments. They may have a complex protocol for hiring. Before a security guard occupies a post, he or she will likely have drug screening. Depending on job duties and contractual requirements, the guard may also have a physical examination and a personality test such as the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory.

One very competitive employer in the public sector is the Transportation Security Authority (TSA). Candidates who meet minimum requirements may be invited to take multiple assessments including a computer based test that measures, among other things, language proficiency. The physical is comprehensive and includes joint mobility and range of motion.

Local Security Guard Licenses

Rapid City licenses the security industry (http://www.rcgov.org/Finance/forms-and-applications.html). Security guards are required to have fingerprint-based criminal background checks.

Security guards in other towns and cities may be under the jurisdiction of local authorities.

Security guards should also be aware that laws change periodically and that there is a growing trend toward regulation nationwide.

Third Party Certifications

Some employers seek candidates with certifications -- or who are, at the least, willing and able to attain certification within a specified time period. The certification may be specific to a particular industry. For example, a recent posting at a health center in Sioux Falls noted that the candidate would need to be committed to obtaining basic certification through the International Association of Healthcare Security and Safety within a year. The Certified Healthcare Security Officer (CHSO) credential is granted on the basis of examination.

The Certified Healthcare Protection Administrator (CHPA) credential is a higher level certification available to administrators of healthcare protection programs. Candidates must qualify for examination. They can qualify in various ways with some combination of experience, education, training, and professional membership (http://www.iahss.org/).

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