Security Guard Requirements in Hawaii

Hawaii’s security guards are under the jurisdiction of the Board of Private Detectives and Guards, a part of Hawaii Professional and Vocational Licensing (PVL).

The licensing agency makes a distinction between individuals who are in business as security guards or are the “principal guard” of a firm and those who are merely employees. The former are licensed, the latter registered. Both are subject to state requirements. Licensed security guards must meet experience requirements.

Professional and Vocational Licensing has provided a list of job positions that are subject to registration requirements as well as a list of positions that are exempt (

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Select a Hawaii Security Guard Topic:

Requirements for Security Guard Employment Registration

Hawaii requires guards employed by security agencies to be at least eighteen and have a high school diploma or equivalent education. They will need to clear criminal background checks ( A prospective registrant cannot have a current psychiatric disorder that would negatively impact his or her ability to practice the profession.

The prospective guard will need to complete an eight hour Board-approved course before beginning service. PVL has provided a list of approved instructors ( Training may be provided directly by the security company.

The following topics will be covered:

  • Laws and rules
  • Patrol
  • Screening of entrants
  • Incident investigation and documentation
  • Fire procedures
  • Evacuation procedures
  • Use of force
  • Arrest and evidence
  • Court testimony

Security guard employees will need to meet a continuing education requirement during each renewal period.

Security guards who will carry guns must obtain an additional permit.

Requirements for Security Guard Licensure

In order for a sole proprietor or principal to be licensed as a guard, he or she must demonstrate four years of qualifying work experience. The licensing agency can accept experience earned as an employee of a government agency or private employer or under the supervision of a licensed guard. The licensing agency can also accept experience as a police officer.

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The licensee will need to pass an examination and go through an oral interview process; this step is subsequent to application. The written test covers law as and rules as well as security guard knowledge. The examination is administered in Oahu. Upcoming examination dates are available online (

The licensing agency has provided a link to study materials; this is found in the ‘publications’ section. The minimum score is 75%. Re-examination is permitted. However, a mandatory 90-day wait time will be imposed after two failed attempts.

Hawaii requires licensees to maintain bonds through authorized sureties.

Background Check Requirements

Hawaii requires background checks of both licensees and registrants. Background checks are processed by the Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center and the FBI.

Applicants will have their fingerprints processed by the approved vendor, Fieldprint. They begin the process by registering; registration can be carried out online. Fieldprint has provided a list of fingerprint locations within Hawaii (

The Guard Employee Application Process

Registration applications can be downloaded from the PVL website (

Currently, security guard employees may use any of multiple documents to document high school education or equivalency. The following may be accepted:

  • High school transcript
  • Copy of high school diploma or college degree
  • Military DD-214
  • Statement from the Department of Education

Prospective registrants who cannot produce other documentation may submit a notarized statement from an employer, past or present, documenting four years of work experience that utilized the required academic skills. The employer will need to verify, among other things, that the individual has the ability to write factual reports. The applicant can download a ‘Statement of Educational Background’ form from the PVL website.

Applicants who have psychological or psychiatric conditions will need to submit a status letter from a health provider as well as an explanation of the disorder.

Those with criminal histories will need to provide supporting documentation, including letters of recommendation. Those with disciplinary histories will need to provide explanation.

Detailed instructions are provided in the application packet.

Fees for registrants are prorated according to the stage in the renewal cycle.

Applications are to be mailed or hand delivered to the Board office in Honolulu.

The Security Guard Application Process

Guard applications are also posted on the PVL website.

At this level, the Board will expect one of the following to verify high school or equivalency:

  • High school transcript
  • Copy of high school or college diploma
  • Letter from the Department of Education verifying equivalency

Prospective licensees will have their qualifying experience verified through notarized employer statement. They will note whether they will be a principal or sole proprietor. A principal may later file for change of status if circumstances change.

Individuals with psychological or psychiatric conditions will need to provider a letter of recommendation from an employer; this is in addition to the explanatory materials and healthcare status letter required at the employee level.

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Individuals who answer “yes” to questions about adverse legal or professional history or unlicensed activity will need to provide supporting documentation. Those with criminal records are directed to provide letters of recommendation.

Applicants should be aware that there is a separate application process for security agencies.

The application package references laws and rules that the individual is expected to be familiar with.

License applicants should include a $50 application fee and $50 examination fee. They should submit materials at least 30 days before a scheduled Board meeting.

Additional Information

Information about security guard requirements is available from Professional and Vocational Licensing ( Licensure is governed by statute and rule (

Requirements are subject to change. The licensing agency notes that individuals are subject to the requirements that are in place at the time of application. Applicants with questions about licensing requirements can call (808) 586-3000.