Security Guard Requirements in Illinois

Illinois recognizes security professionals in a variety of roles, including employees of security contractor agencies, employees of proprietary security forces, and private security contractors. Requirements vary according to employment circumstance. Some state mandates apply to professionals in multiple categories while others apply to only one.

Requirements are particularly stringent for private security contractors. They hold licensing as opposed to registration. In order to be license-eligible, security professionals must have supervisory experience. The licensing process is more expensive; licensees are required to carry insurance policies and pay higher fees.

An employee or guard who will be carrying a firearm will need an additional credential: a firearm control card.

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Select an Illinois Security Guard Topic:

Training Requirements for Security Guard Employees

Illinois has a basic training requirement for employees of security agencies (whether armed or unarmed) and for employees of proprietary security forces (when armed). The worker will need 20 hours of basic training during his or her first 30 days on the job (

Guards employed by private security contractor agencies will need an additional eight hours of training within their first six months.

Attaining a Permanent Employee Registration Card

An individual who is working in an unarmed capacity may be as young as 18 years old. He or she must meet fitness requirements. A criminal history is not always disqualifying. The Division will consider a number of factors (

The individual will submit the application along with background check materials and a $55 fee. A photograph will be required unless the applicant is granted an exception for religious reasons. Application materials and instructions are available online (

There is a $55 registration fee.

Requirements for Firearm Control Card

Armed security employees must be at least 21.

A security employee who will carry a firearm will need to complete a 40-hour training course.

The prospective armed security employee can expect a written test and range test .

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The Illinois firearm training requirement can be waived on the basis of law enforcement training. If the training was completed out-of-state, the professional will need to submit detailed description.

An individual who holds Illinois firearm instructor registration can also be granted a waiver.

Firearm control card application materials are available from the IDFPR ( There is a $75 application processing fee.

Background Check Requirements

Background checks are required for contractor licensure and for employee registration.

In-state candidates have their fingerprints made electronically through the Illinois State Police. The Division has provided a vendor list ( Out-of-state candidates should request a fingerprint card from the Illinois State Police. They may call 1-800-560-6420.

An out-of-state candidate who uses hard copies will need to submit a certifying statement; the form is found in the application packet.

Private Security Contractor Requirements

Private security contractors must be at least 21 years of age. They must have supervisory experience, though business or police-related education may substitute for a portion of the usual experience requirement.

Without qualifying education, a professional will need fully three years of experience at the supervisory level. The licensing agency can accept experience with a contract security agency or a security fleet that has at least 30 individuals registered. The licensing agency can also accept supervisory experience in 1) the security unit of a corporation that has at least 100 employees or 2) a military police/ security unit or law enforcement unit; the latter category may include political subdivisions such as the public defender’s office.

The licensing agency may credit security supervisory experience accrued in another state if it is determined to be substantially equivalent.

The licensing agency can credit two years of experience for a baccalaureate degree in police science or a field related to police science. An individual with a business degree can also be credited with two years of experience. If the business or police science degree is at the associate level, the professional can be credited with one year. A non-degree police science (or related) program may be credited as a year if it is judged to be comparable to an associate program.

The applicant cannot have been convicted of a felony during the prior ten years. Additionally, he or she must be judged to have good character. Applicants can be disqualified on the basis of criminal history even if they have not been convicted of a felony during the prior decade. However, the process is not automatic. Various factors may be taken into account.

The contractor will need to take out a liability insurance policy. The amount is established in administrative code (

The prospective contractor will need to pass an examination with a score of at least 70% ( The security contractor examination includes state and federal law, security practice, and license and practice requirements. A study guide is available online (

The examination is taken after application. It is available from Continental Testing Service (CTS). Individuals can visit the CTS website to find the date of the next available examination ( The fee is listed as $298.

The Private Security Contractor Application Process

A prospective contractor may download application materials from the website ( The applicant will select either the “experience” application packet or the “education and experience” education packet. The applicant may submit an application online through CTS.

The experience form is to be included in a sealed envelope.

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A security professional who is using the education and experience pathway will need to have the educational form completed by a school official. The completed form is to bear the school seal (or notary seal/ signature).

A professional who has held private security licensure in another state will need to have a form filled out by the state(s) of licensure.

The licensing agency no longer issues licenses by endorsement; candidates must, in all cases, pass an examination (

The license fee is $500. An individual who has passed the required examination has the option of deferring licensure and fee payment.

Additional Information

Licensing and registration information is available from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation ( Individuals with questions may call 1-800-560-6420 or use the IDFPR email contact form (