Security Guard Requirements in Missouri

Missouri security guards are regulated at a local level. A number of cities, including St. Louis, Kansas City, and Columbia, license them. In some cases, a security guard may not hold licensing or registration, and will instead answer directly to the employer. The expectations can still be high.

The following is a sampling of requirements, representing different Missouri cities and job roles.

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Select a Missouri Security Guard Topic:

St. Louis Security Guard Requirements

St Louis recognizes four different types of security professional: watchman, courier, security officer, and corporate security advisor. All classification except watchman are eligible to carry weapons if properly trained. Security officers and corporate security advisors both have limited police powers.

A watchman, whose basic duties are watching and reporting, may be as young as 18. Security personnel in other classifications must be 21.

Some requirements are common to all license types. Licensees must be citizens or legal residents and must be free of felony convictions or chemical dependencies.

Security professionals do not receive licenses until there is an intent to hire.

Licensing information is available from the Private Security Section of the Metropolitan Police Department (

Columbia, Missouri Security Guard Requirements

Columbia, Missouri licenses security guards who work for guard or watchman services. Licenses are issued as armed or unarmed. The minimum age is 18 for unarmed guards, 21 for armed guards.

Licenses may be denied on the basis of felony convictions (if from the prior ten years) or of certain misdemeanor convictions (if from the prior five years). The licensing agency will consider mitigating factors such as the individual’s conduct in the time since the infraction.

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A prospective armed guard will need to complete a written test, a test of skill and safety, and a firearm qualification course. Requirements are described in city municipal code ( Application forms are available from the Business License Office (

Kansas City, Missouri Security Guard Requirements

Kansas City issues Class A and Class B security licenses. Class A licensees have some powers that Class B do not have, such as the power to detain suspects. Both Class A and Class B licenses can be issued armed or unarmed. Class A licensees include loss prevention agents and airport police, among others. Class B licensees include guards and armed couriers.

All prospective licensees must take a written test as well as go through a background check process. However, standards are not identical. All prospective licensees will need to know concepts such as liability issues, rules, crisis response, and interaction with the public. The Class A written test includes some additional concepts such as patrol techniques and crime.

Class A licensees have additional requirements: The employer must vouch that the employee is both physically and mentally capable of apprehending and detaining without unnecessary show of force; the city will require annual confirmation of the employee’s fitness.

Armed security personnel must complete firearms training and pass a range test; they must requalify periodically.

Applicants must meet fitness requirements. Many, but not all, criminal offenses are disqualifying. Dishonorable discharge from the armed forces is a disqualifier if service took place within the most recent ten year period. Additionally, a prospective armed guard cannot have an order of protection in place.

Licensing information is available from the Kansas City Police Department (

Public Sector Security Positions

Some security personnel are hired into civil service positions. The Missouri Division of Personnel recognizes several security-related roles, including Security Guard and Security Officer I, II, and III ( There are multiple pathways to qualify as a Security Officer. Individuals can work their way up from Security Guard. They may also qualify based on law enforcement experience or other security experience, when combined with high school or equivalent education. Education can also be qualifying. The expectation at the Security Officer I level is 30 total units, with at least six units in criminal justice. At the Security Officer II level, the expectation is 60 total units, with at least nine in criminal justice.

The Division has identified not only the minimum experience necessary to receive consideration but the traits necessary to be successful. Among the expectations at the guard level are walking outdoors during varying climate conditions, following a set patrol routine, and maintaining the proper demeanor (firm but tactful). Among the expectations at the office level are exercising independent judgment and coordinating security activities.

Some Security Officers will need a separate license to carry firearms.

General Standards

Employers may impose similar standards even when there is no licensing or state mandated hiring process. Security guards typically go through a background check process. Sometimes there is drug screening as well. Guards must meet minimum age requirements: typically 18 for unarmed positions and 21 for armed positions.

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These are the fundamentals; other requirements will vary greatly according to job role. Even when an employer does not distinguish between different levels and types of unnamed security personnel, the employer typically will. Some positions will emphasize customer service. Some will value experience gained in law enforcement or the military.

Some employers cite specific physical abilities, such as the ability to lift 25 lbs.