Security Officer Requirements in Washington DC

DC security officers are certified by the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) in cooperation with the Security Officers Management Branch (SOMB). Security officers receive the same designation whether they work for security agencies or provide services directly to an employer.

Sponsored Content

Featured Programs:
  • Featured Online Security, Government Studies and Criminal Justice Program Options:
  • Purdue Global is one of the largest providers of public safety education programs compared to other Title IV institutions. The Criminal Justice Certificate in Private Security introduces students to the field of corporate and private security. Additional programs in Criminal Justice, Criminology, Public Safety and others are offered at the Certificate, Associate's, Bachelor's and Master's levels. Click here and take a minute to explore the Purdue Global programs today.
  • Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) offers several online Criminal Justice degree options including a BS in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Security Management. Click here to learn more about the programs offered at SNHU today.
  • Penn Foster is a regionally and nationally accredited career school that has affordable tuitions. Locksmith and Home Security Technician; Our online Locksmith/Home Security Technician training program will provide you with the foundational skills that can help you begin an entry-level position in the field.
  • Liberty University, ranked in the top 1% of online colleges, offers an undergraduate online Criminal Justice degree that prepares students for a variety of roles in the criminal justice system while maintaining Christian values. Learn more about this and other programs offered by Liberty University.
  • Grand Canyon University offers a variety of Government study related degree programs (B.S. in Justice Studies, B.A. in Government and related programs). The Princeton Review has rated Government study related majors as the 3rd best college major. Click here to learn about GCU’s programs.

To be license eligible, one must meet health and background screening requirements. Certification also depends on completing mandatory training and passing an examination. Some aspects of the certification process are handled by a third party organization, Pearson VUE.

Security guards may receive temporary certification before all requirements have been met.

The District of Columbia recognizes a related occupation “special police”. Special police have limited scope. They may work for corporations. Requirements are slightly higher than for security officers. Special police may be authorized to carry weapons. In this regard, there is some similarity between the DC “special police” designation and the “armed security guard” or “commissioned security guard” designation recognized in some other jurisdictions. DC special police, though, may be appointed to assist with special events like elections. Some special police are designated as campus security.

Select a Washington DC Security Guard/Officer Topic:

Eligibility Standards for Security Officers

Security guards must be at least 18 years of age and competent in the English language; they must be able to read and write the language as well as speak it. A prospective security guard who is not a U.S. citizen will need a valid work permit.

The security guard may not be addicted to drugs or alcohol may not have a debilitating mental disorder or physical condition that could result in loss of control during extreme situations; epilepsy would be an example of the latter. The prospective security guard is to have a physical and provide documentation from his or her physician; results are to be from some point during the prior 90 day period.

The prospective security guard can expect a drug test. An applicant who test positive for any drug will need to provide documentation from a prescribing physician.

The candidate will also need to have an FBI background check. A criminal history is not always disqualifying. The nature of the crime, the amount of time that has elapsed, and the applicant’s rehabilitation and motivation are among the factors that may be considered.

Applicants who have arrest histories will need to provide the disposition.

Background check results will be made known to the agency or employer.

Training and Examination Requirements for Security Officers

The security guard will need at least 24 hours of pre-assignment training. Pre-assignment training must include terrorism awareness, emergency procedures, and customer service. Terrorism awareness includes responding to unknown substances and unattended packages. Emergency procedures include first aid and evacuation.

Sponsored Content

The security guard must have an additional 16 hours of training during his or her first 90 days on the job Thereafter, the secure officer will need to do eight hours a year of in-service.

The candidate must pass the Security Officers Examination. Examination information is found on the ‘District of Columbia Security’ page of the Pearson VUE website ( Candidates may call PSI at (800) 733-9267 to schedule Examinations are administered at the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) Occupational and Professional Licensing Administration office.

Requirements for Special Police

DC special police must be at least 21 years of age. They must be citizens of the United States. Those who will be carrying firearms must have range testing. The employing agency will need to specify the particular firearm(s) the individual can use.

Special police who have military backgrounds must document the type of discharge.

Special police, like security officers, must have health and drug screenings. They are not currently required to pass a written examination.

The Application Process

The hiring process and certification process are closely related. Individuals may receive applications from their employing agencies.

Applications, supplemental forms, and instructions can also be downloaded from Pearson VUE ( Pearson VUE has provided an instructional document that outlines which documents are to be submitted to Pearson and which are submitted directly to the DC government.

The application itself will be submitted to Pearson VUE. Pearson VUE will require a copy of an ID, a birth certificate or passport, two small photographs, and documentation of name changes. Pearson VUE will also receive documentation from the physician of physical and mental fitness. Applicants for special police will submit their DD-214 (if applicable) to Pearson VUE.

Information release form and arrest affidavit are among the documents that will be provided directly to the governmental agency. Both require notarization.

Fingerprinting is typically carried out at the SOMB office (though a nonlocal applicant may instead submit two fingerprint cards through the mail). The applicant will provide other required documents when he or she shows up at the SOMB office. In addition to the information release form and arrest affidavit, the applicant will provide 1) drug screening results and 2) examination results or range test results and approved gun list (if applicable).

The licensing agency notes that candidates may in the future apply online.

Sponsored Content

The licensing process entails payment of several fees. $35 is paid to the DC Treasurer; this covers the criminal history check. A security officer applicant will pay $103 to Pearson Vue; this includes a $65 application fee and $38 license fee.

An approved security guard will receive a certification card.

Additional Information

Security guard regulations are contained in Chapter 21 of Title 17 of state code; special police regulations are contained in Chapter 6A-11. Some additional information is available from the Security Officers Management Branch (

Detailed information about the examination and application process is available from Pearson VUE. Applicants with questions may call Pearson VUE at (888) 204-6293.

ASIS International -National Capital Chapter is a professional organization for security professionals (