Security Officer Requirements in Iowa: Meeting state mandates to become a Security Officer in Iowa

Iowa security officers are under the jurisdiction of the Department of Public Safety. Professionals who operate security agencies are licensed. Employees of security agencies are issued identification cards upon verification that they meet state mandates.

Both licensees and employees must meet character and background requirements. Additionally, licensees must take financial responsibility for business operations and conduct.

Security officers who will carry weapons must also obtain a firearms permit. For this, the Iowa legislature has set both general eligibility and training requirements.

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Select an Iowa Security Officer Topic:

Unarmed Security Officer Employee Requirements and Registration Process

A security agency employee must have a background check. There is a $10 fee for registration. The application includes a temporary identification card, valid for up to 14 days. The employee will later receive a state-issued permanent card identification card. The employee identification card is agency specific. It is permissible for a security professional to be employed by more than one agency simultaneously. However, he or she will need to obtain a second identification card.

Armed Security Officer Requirements/ Weapons Permit

A private armed security employee will need both a state employee identification card and a firearms permit. Iowa issues two types of firearms permit: professional and nonprofessional. The professional permit is intended for private security personnel as well as employees in roles such as corrections and bank transportation; it authorizes the carrying of a weapon while performing work duties and traveling to and from the workplace. The licensing agency notes that it is permissible for a security officer with a nonprofessional permit to carry firearms, but that employers may require the professional permit.

A professional permit can be issued to an individual as young as 18. For a nonprofessional permit, the age requirement is 21. The permit may be denied on the basis of a criminal record or alcohol abuse. It is also denied when there is good cause (based on documented acts committed by the person) to believe that the weapon could be used to inflict harm on self or other.

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The prospective permit holder will need to complete some form of training. There are a number of options described in Chapter 724 of state code. One option is to complete a course offered by the National Rifle Association. The licensing agency can accept handgun safety courses designed for the public whether offered by colleges, police departments, or training schools, provided that they are taught by instructors who have been certified by an appropriate organization such as the National Rifle Association or the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy. The handgun safety course may instead be one specifically designed for security guards or for investigators or special deputies. The Department of Public Safety can also accept small arms training completed in the military or firearms training intended for peace officers.

The licensing agency notes that range qualification is not mandated under state law but that firearm training courses may include range training.

Individuals with permits may choose to use range qualification as an annual renewal option; the licensing agency stipulates that the qualification instructor be certified by an acceptable organization such as the National Rifle Association or the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy. The other renewal option is to complete another firearms training course that would meet requirements for initial issuance.

The Firearms Permit Application Process

Firearms applications are available from the Department of Public Safety ( They may be submitted to the sheriff of the county of residence or to the Department of Public Safety, depending on circumstances; the licensing agency has stated that state employees applying for employment-based professional permits are to go through DPS.

A professional permit requires employer signature and justification.

Training can be documented by any of the following: a copy of a certificate of completion from an acceptable course, an affidavit from the school, organization, or instructor, or a military DD-214.

The applicant will sign a release authorizing the licensing agency to carry out required investigations including those involving substance abuse and psychiatric treatment.

The Department of Public Safety has prepared a list of frequently asked questions about firearms permits ( Some questions specifically reference private security officers.

Private Security Licenses

Licensees are individuals who operate security agencies. They must be at least 18. They cannot have histories of repeated violence and cannot have been convicted of felonies, aggravated misdemeanors, or crimes of moral turpitude. Other crimes are disqualifying if specifically referenced in state code. Referenced crimes include fraud and illegal carrying of a dangerous weapon, among others.

Although peace officers are not issued private security licenses, they may, if authorized by the appropriate executive, engage in security business alone or in partnership with other peace officers.

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Licensees must have bonds and insurance policies. The licensing fee is $100.

Civil Service Security Guard Requirements

Governmental employees are among those exempted from credentialing. However, state and federal agencies set their own requirements. Iowa Human Resources has provided general job descriptions for state civil service ( There are no mandatory education or experience requirements for positions at the Security Guard I level. However, a commercial driver’s license must be obtained after hiring. Human Resources notes that some agencies may expect guards to be at least 21, hold citizenship status, and go through a background check process. An individual may qualify for Security Guard II status through experience and/or law enforcement education.

Additional Information

Information about security guard requirements is available from the Program Services Bureau of the Iowa Department of Public Safety ( ‘Bail Enforcement/Private Investigative/Security Licensing’ can be reached by email at ‘piinfo at’ or by telephone at (515) 725-6230. ‘Weapons Permits’ can be contacted by email at ‘wpinfo at’.

Prospective security guards should be aware that laws and regulations change periodically. Significant changes to Chapter 724, the law that governs firearms permits, went into effect in 2011.