Security Guard Certification Requirements in Maryland

Maryland security guards are under the jurisdiction of the Maryland State Police Licensing Division. The Division recognizes multiple job roles including corporate officer.

Security guards who will be armed must also apply for handgun permits. Requirements are more stringent.

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Basic Security Guard Requirements

Security guard certification is not issued until such time as an individual is an employee or applicant ( The credential is dependent on 1) good character and 2) citizenship or legal authority to work in the United States. The security guard cannot have had a felony conviction; misdemeanor convictions that have a direct bearing on fitness are also disqualifying.

Certification is issued for three years at a time. A renewal applicant will again have a background check.

Armed Guard Requirements

An armed guard will need a handgun permit/ wear and carry permit as a supplement to his or her security guard certification.

The individual will need to meet general fitness requirements and training requirements. The training program is to be approved by the Maryland State Police; a prospective student can search for qualified instructors on the State Police website ( The initial training will be at least 16 hours. The prospective armed guard will need to shoot a qualifying round (

Some individuals will qualify for exemption based on law enforcement, military, or National Guard experience. They may also qualify for exemption from “wear and carry” training if they have completed other acceptable training through a registered handgun instructor or are handgun instructors themselves.

Crimes involving dangerous substances are disqualifying. Misdemeanor convictions are disqualifying if the individual served a sentence of more than a year. Any criminal conviction is disqualifying if the individual could potentially have received a sentence of more than two years.

The permit may also be denied based on a history of instability or violence.

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The applicant will also need to document the reason the handgun is needed. Employment as a security guard can be accepted as the reason. The employing agency will need to provide a letter documenting basic information, including the place the gun will be stored during off-duty hours. The employee will sign to verify knowledge of the applicable regulations and rules. A sample letter is linked from the “handgun wear and carry permit” page of the State Police website (

The permit must actually be in hand before the individual is authorized to carry the weapon; the licensing agency stresses that application submission does not grant authorization.

Requirements for Operating or Managing a Security Guard Business

Requirements are set higher for individuals who have their own security agency businesses or who act as representatives for security agencies. These professionals must be at least 25 years of age and must have three to five years of experience in a related field.

The licensing agency can accept five years of experience as a police officer if the individual has completed a program recognized by the Maryland Police Training Commission.

A professional who has worked as a detective for a police agency is eligible after three years. The timeframe is also three years for an individual who has had training through the Maryland Police Training Commission and has worked in an investigative capacity for a governmental unit.

Fire investigators can attain eligibility after five years. They will need to have completed programs certified by the Maryland Fire-Rescue Education and Training Commission or the Maryland Police Commission.

Maryland correctional supervisors are eligible after five years, provided they have completed the requisite training.

The Security Guard Application Process

The applicant will need to have fingerprint-based background checks processed through the CJIS and the FBI. Fingerprints are now captured electronically using Livescan. Authorized Livescan providers can submit results directly to the Licensing Division. The Licensing Division notes that out-of-state individuals requesting gun permits are required to go through an authorized Livescan provider. They may contact the State Police for additional information. A list of providers is available online (

The background check fee is listed as $32.75. (The licensing agency notes that this is in addition to the fee charged by the vendor.) The applicant will need to provide an ORI number (

An individual applying for multiple certifications will only need to provide one set of fingerprints.

Application materials can be accessed from the website of the Licensing Division ( Applicants should make sure they have the most current version of the security guard application. There have been some changes. The form is now filled out electronically. The applicant will need to select the type of application; he or she will see different questions based on selection. Once completed, the application can be mailed to the Licensing Division in Pikesville.

Some supplementary materials will be required.

The applicant must provide two passport-style photographs for each distinct certification application. Photographs are to be recent: taken within the thirty days prior to application. Photograph specifications are found in the application packet. The licensing agency notes that in cases where an individual is applying for more than one certification simultaneously, additional photographs may be required. An individual who is simultaneously applying for a handgun permit will need two photographs for the handgun application.

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A prospective armed guard must include handgun qualification documentation.

The applicant will include the CJIS and FBI fingerprint cards.

Security guard registration costs $15. A handgun permit costs $75.

Security guard agency application will cost $200 for an individual or $375 for a corporation.

Additional Information

Information about security guard requirements is available from the Maryland State Police ( The Security Guard Section can be reached by telephone at 410-653-4623 or by email at ‘msp.securityguard at’. The Handgun Permit Section can be reached by telephone at 410-653-4624 or by email at ‘msp.handgunpermits at’.