Security Officer Requirements in Arkansas

Arkansas security guards are credentialed by the Arkansas Board of Private Investigators and Private Security Agencies, under the banner of the Arkansas State Police. They must hold credentials unless they fall under exemption categories described in state statute.

The Board recognizes different roles, including security officers, commissioned security officers, and professionals who own or manage security agencies. Training and education/ experience requirements vary. All applicants will go through thorough background checks.

Credentials must be renewed periodically. A background check is carried out again upon renewal.

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Select an Arkansas Security Officer Topic:

Security Officer Requirements

A registered security officer must be at least 18. He or she will need two hours of instruction in each of the following:

  • Legal authority of private security officers
  • Rules and regulations
  • Note taking/ report writing

Each concept will be tested.

Commissioned Security Officer Requirements

A security guard must be commissioned in order to carry a firearm. Requirements are more stringent. A commissioned security officer must be at least 21.

The prospective officer must be free of felony convictions (unless a pardon was granted).

Additionally, the individual cannot have committed acts which would result in revocation or suspension of a license issued by the Arkansas Board.

The prospective commissioned guard will need training in each of the following content areas: weapons and safety, legal limitations of firearm use, and marksmanship/ range safety. The prospective armed guard can expect examination on each required topic. It will be necessary to qualify on the range.

Qualified employees of armored car businesses are commissioned as security officers.

The Security Officer Application Process

A prospective security officer will need to have fingerprints made. Criminal background checks are carried out by the Identification Bureau of the Department of the Arkansas State Police and by the FBI.

Application materials are available online (; the same application package is used for private security officers and commissioned security officers.

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The trainer or training administrator will sign off on each required training content area.

Registration of a private security officer or commissioned security officer costs $40. There is an additional $37.75 fee for the state and federal background checks. The fingerprint cards are to be included in the application package.

The applicant will also need to provide two passport-style photographs. The application form requires notarization.

The applicant will list any pending charges as well as any potentially disqualifying criminal convictions. In the case of convictions, the licensing agency will require certified court documents.

Prospective security officers who were not born in the United States are directed to submit naturalization papers, permanent resident cards, or work permits.

The applicant will provide a notarized release of information form. He or she will authorize the Arkansas State Police to obtain information, as necessary, from various sources, including educational institutions, mental institutions, and credit reporting agencies.

Additional Requirements to Manage a Security Agency

Arkansas has also set requirements that must be met by managers of security agencies. Standards apply to individuals who go into the security business and also to managers of partnerships or corporations.

The responsible party must be at least 21. He or she will meet one of the following experience requirements:

  • Two consecutive years of security-related supervisory experience
  • Two consecutive years of security-related law enforcement or armed services experience
  • Completion of an educational program approved by the Arkansas Board of Private Investigators and Private Security Agencies

The professional may not have been convicted of a felony, violent crime, Class A misdemeanor, or other comparable crime by any state, federal, or military court unless a pardon was granted. He or she cannot suffer from drug addiction or habitual drunkenness and cannot have been found mentally incompetent (unless competency has been restored). A professional would also be disqualified on the basis of dishonorable discharge from the military. According to state code, however, the Arkansas Board of Private Investigators and Private Security Agencies has the authority to waive some requirements.

The owner or manager must take a board examination. The examination covers the following:

  • Private security officer power and authority
  • Legal limits on firearm usage
  • Arkansas rules and regulations
  • Report writing/ taking notes from the field
  • Firearm safety, range firing and procedure

A branch manager will also be tested. The minimum passing score is 70%.

An individual attempts the examination after making application. The applicant is allowed two examination attempts before the application is denied. Re-examination will entail a $50 fee.

Major shareholders must also go through a fingerprint-based process.

Additional Information

Licensing and registration information is available from the Arkansas State Police. Credentialing is governed by statute and rule. Individuals with questions may call 501-618-8600. Applicants may also email the Regulatory Services Division (

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Additional professional resources include the Arkansas Security Alarm Association and local chapters of ASIS International ( While not directly involved with the licensing process, the ASAA has provided links to licensing-related resources, including minutes from Board meetings (