Security Guard Requirements in New York

New York security guards are registered with the Division of Licensing Services. All security guards, armed or unarmed, must be registered with the Division unless they fall under exemption categories outlined in state statute (for example, current active status as a police officer).

In order to be eligible for registration, an individual must clear a criminal background check and meet general eligibility requirements such as being of majority age. He or she must complete mandatory training. Training requirements are higher for armed security guards.

Sponsored Content

Featured Programs:
  • Featured Online Security, Government Studies and Criminal Justice Program Options:
  • Purdue Global is one of the largest providers of public safety education programs compared to other Title IV institutions. The Criminal Justice Certificate in Private Security introduces students to the field of corporate and private security. Additional programs in Criminal Justice, Criminology, Public Safety and others are offered at the Certificate, Associate's, Bachelor's and Master's levels. Click here and take a minute to explore the Purdue Global programs today.
  • Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) offers several online Criminal Justice degree options including a BS in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Security Management. Click here to learn more about the programs offered at SNHU today.
  • Penn Foster is a regionally and nationally accredited career school that has affordable tuitions. Locksmith and Home Security Technician; Our online Locksmith/Home Security Technician training program will provide you with the foundational skills that can help you begin an entry-level position in the field.
  • Liberty University, ranked in the top 1% of online colleges, offers an undergraduate online Criminal Justice degree that prepares students for a variety of roles in the criminal justice system while maintaining Christian values. Learn more about this and other programs offered by Liberty University.
  • Grand Canyon University offers a variety of Government study related degree programs (B.S. in Justice Studies, B.A. in Government and related programs). The Princeton Review has rated Government study related majors as the 3rd best college major. Click here to learn about GCU’s programs.

Select a New York Security Guard Topic:

Eligibility Requirements

Security guards must be at least 18. They must be citizens or lawful residents of the United States. Their backgrounds must be free of felony convictions and crimes involving moral turpitude as well as other criminal offenses that are specifically referenced in state licensing law.

An individual may be denied registration on the basis of addiction to drugs or alcohol. He or she may be denied registration on the basis of 1) having been discharged from law enforcement or corrections for misconduct or incompetence, or 2) having resigned under charge of misconduct or incompetence. The licensing agency will, however, consider the applicant’s explanation for the discharge. In some cases, a waiver may be granted.

Security Guard Training Requirements

A security guard employee must complete eight hours of training before beginning duties. A certificate documenting pre-service hours is to be provided to the Division at the time of initial application.

The employee will receive an additional 16 hours of training during his or her first 90 days on the job. The content of in-service hours will vary by job role and employer need.

In addition to pre-service and in-service requirement, armed security guards must complete 47 hours of firearms training; prospective security guards typically enroll in training programs after receiving their basic security guard registration. A pistol permit is required.

Waivers and Exemptions for Peace Officers

Individuals with law enforcement training may qualify for training waivers. A former law enforcement agent may request a waiver for the eight hours of pre-service training or the47 hour firearms training course. The officer will need to have at some point had training that was at least on a par with that required for security guards. A waiver may be granted to an individual who left law enforcement up to ten years prior. The former law enforcement officer may make a request by calling (518) 457-4135. The request can also be mailed. The waiver, if granted, is to be included in the application packet.

Sponsored Content

Current police officers are eligible for exemption without waiver. This is the case with some other peace officers. However, the Division will still require some documentation. The application includes a summary of requirements for different categories of peace officer.

Continuing Competence Requirements

The Division expects unarmed guards to complete eight hours of training each year (two eight hour in-services during each renewal period).

Armed guards will complete 16 hours of annual training: eight hours of in-service and an additional eight hours of firearms training.

Background Check Requirements

Employees are to have their fingerprints made prior to application. They will have them captured electronically, using the approved vendor, MorphoTrust. They must select a New York location. Scheduling can be carried out online; the applicant will need the ORI code found in the application packet. The individual may instead call MorphoTrust at 877-472-6915.The candidate will need to bring the request form found on the Division website ( Two forms of ID will be required.

Security guard applicants must have background checks carried out by the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) and the FBI. The DCJS processing fee is currently $75.00; the FBI fee, $14.75. Both fees are paid to MorphoTrust.

The vendor will provide two copies of the receipt; one is to accompany the application.

The New York Security Guard Application Process

Application materials can be downloaded from the Board website ( Application materials are available in English and in the following languages: Chinese, Haitian/ Creole, Italian, Korean, Russian, and Spanish.

Applicants with “yes” responses to background questions are required to provide explanation.

The application fee is $36.

Applicants who do have a current New York photo ID or driver’s license will need to visit the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to have photos made. They will bring the inset from their application packet.

Application packets are mailed to the Division of Licensing Services in Albany.

The licensing agency requires notification of status changes. There is a separate form for this purpose.

Requirements for Private Patrol and Qualifying Agents

To go into business for oneself as a ‘watch, guard, or patrol agency’, one must be at least 25 years of age. He or she must have two years of security (or equivalent) experience. Experience as a police officer or sheriff is creditable.

The licensing agency will require insurance.

The applicant must provide signatures from five character witnesses.

Sponsored Content

He or she must pass an examination. The exam is offered approximately once per month; the licensing agency publishes an examination schedule twice a year.

If the business is a corporation, there must be a qualifying agent who has met the experience requirement. He or she will take the licensing examination.

A qualifier may provide services for his or her own company without separate registration as a security guard.

Additional Information

Information about security guard requirements is available from the New York State Division of Licensing ( Call center representatives are available at (518) 474-7569. Licensees are expected to be familiar with the state licensing act.