Security Guard Requirements in New Mexico

New Mexico security guards are under the jurisdiction of the New Mexico Private Investigations Advisory Board. The Board registers security guards at multiple levels. In order to use devices that are regarded as nonlethal, a security guard must be at Level 2. The security guard must be at Level 3 to carry firearms.

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A security professional at Level 3 may also be licensed as the manager of a private patrol (security) company; this is one of two eligibility routes to agency management.

The different levels of registration have differing general eligibility requirements as well as training requirements. All security guard applicants, however, must clear a background check and pass a jurisprudence examination.

Select a New Mexico Security Guard Requirement Topic:

Security Guard Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for registration at Level I, an applicant must be at least 18 years old. To be registered at Level 2 or 3, he or she must be at least 21.

Level 2 or 3 security guards must hold high school diplomas or the equivalent. Additionally, Level 3 applicants must undergo psychological evaluation; the purpose is to determine if they have the mental stability to carry firearms.

Security Guard Training Requirements

All registered security guards must complete mandated training ( New Mexico has a tiered system. The Board has provided a list of approved training providers at each level (

The individual must complete eight hours of training in order to be credentialed at Level I. The basic curriculum includes the following:

Authority and responsibility Legal training Management and preservation of incident scenes

An additional 20 hours is required at Level 2. The following topics are covered:

  • Conflict management/ verbal and written communication
  • Use of force/ liability
  • Restraint and control devices
  • Defensive impact tools
  • Chemical agents

The Level 3 curriculum is 16 hours. It includes the following:

  • Firearm safety rules
  • Weapon manipulation
  • Firearm retention and equipment
  • Storage devices
  • Ammunition and storage
  • Hazards of firearms in home
  • Training family members
  • Locking devices
  • Types of sidearms
  • Markmanship
  • Mental conditioning/ tactics
  • Threat recognition/ judgmental shooting
  • Powers of arrest/ laws regarding firearms and deadly force

In order to be authorized to carry a firearm, an individual must qualify; the qualification must be carried out with the type and caliber weapon that the security guard will be carrying while on duty. Documentation must be provided by a recognized instructor; the instructor may be certified by the Law Enforcement Activities Division of the National Rifle Association or the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy (

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The student will need to shoot 80% on the qualifying round. He or she is allowed two attempts in direct succession.

The armed security guard will requalify yearly.

Security Guard/ Private Patrol Examination Requirement

Applicants must pass a jurisprudence examination, or test of laws and rules. The minimum passing score is 90%.

The examination can be found in the “forms” section of the Board website. It is to be submitted with the application materials.

Background Check Process

New Mexico requires fingerprint-based criminal background checks. Applicants will use the approved vendor, Cogent. They can complete the registration process online ( An applicant will select his or her preferred New Mexico location from the map provided.

The Department of Public Safety no longer accepts “hard cards”. However, Cogent offers a fingerprint scanning service ( Out-of-state applicants will initiate the process by registering with Cogent. They will have their fingerprints made on standard FD-258 applicant cards. The ORI number can be found in the application packet. The background check fee is $44 for both in-state and out-of-state applicants.

The applicant will include his or her Cogent receipt in the application packet. The Board will receive background check results electronically.

The Application Process

Application forms can be downloaded from the Board website ( Multiple supplemental documents will be required.

Applicants may use their driver’s licenses or state-issued IDs to document age.

Applicants with “yes” answers to background or fitness questions will need to provide written explanation. Those who affirm a felony or misdemeanor charges will need to provide court documents.

The Board will also require explanation of name changes.

The applicant will need to attach two recent two by two photographs. The application packet includes a release form that requires notarization.

The licensing agency will require documentation of training certification. Level 2 and 3 applicants will provide documentation of their firearms or Taser certification.

Additionally, Level 2 and 3 applicants will include copies of their diplomas or equivalency documents.

A Level 3 applicant will provide documentation of positive evaluation from a licensed psychologist.

The application fee is $50 for Level 1 or 2 credentialing, $75 for Level 3 credentialing.

Private Patrol Operator and Manager Licenses

An individual who is licensed as a private patrol operator is in business for himself or herself. Experience is required. The Board will look for fully 4,000 hours, accrued in the five year period before application. At least one year is to have been spent in a supervisory role.

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The professional will need to take out a liability insurance policy.

The license application fee is $400.

To be licensed as a private patrol operations manager, a security professional must either be registered as a Level 3 security guard or licensed as a private patrol operator. He or she must provide employer documentation.

At the manager level, the application fee is $300.

Additional Information

Information about security guard credentialing is available from the New Mexico Private Investigations Advisory Board ( The Board can be reached by telephone at (505) 476-4650.