Security Guard Requirements in North Carolina

North Carolina security guards are regulated by the North Carolina Private Protection Services Board. Some security guards will fall under exemption categories outlined in state statute and will not need state credentialing; this is the case with governmental employees and with unarmed guards who are not agency employees but have been hired by a business to provide direct services.

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Except as outlined in statute, credentialing is mandatory. Both unarmed and armed security guard employees are registered with the state. They begin as probationary employees; registration will take place if there is an intent to hire in a non-probationary capacity. The state has regulations in place even for probationary employees; they must, for example, receive some training within 20 days of placement on post.

The Board also licenses “qualifying agents” who are managers of security agencies. All security companies (with the exception of sole proprietorships) must have a qualifying agent.

Select a North Carolina Security Guard Topic:

Unarmed Security Guard Requirements

A security guard must be a citizen or resident alien 18 years older. He or she must display good moral character. Administrative Code Title 12 Chapter 7 states that an applicant who has been convicted of particular criminal offenses during the prior five years will be considered to lack good moral character. Disqualifying offenses include those involving firearms, dugs, felonious assault, violence, larceny, burglary, breaking and entering, and moral turpitude.

Registration may also be denied based on a history of addiction or several mental disease.

Unarmed guards must have at least 16 hours of training. Training will cover the following concepts:

  • Legal Issues
  • The security guard in North Carolina
  • Patrol procedures
  • Emergency response
  • Communications
  • Deportment
  • Taking notes and writing reports

Training in ‘security officer legal issues’ and ‘the security guard within North Carolina’ together comprise four hours; this is to take place within 20 days of placement on post. The other required training is to take place within 30 days of the time the employee is hired in a permanent capacity.

The trainer is to be Board-certified.

Armed Security Guard Requirements

An armed security guard employee must be at least 21.The prospective armed guard must complete an additional course of at least 20 hours. The following content will be covered:

  • Legal limitations of security guard power and firearm usage/ applicable statutes
  • Handgun safety
  • Handgun maintenance
  • Handgun fundamentals
  • Night firing

The course may be offered by the contract security company; the instructor will need to be Board-certified.

The armed guard will need to qualify on an approved target course.

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An armed guard who will carry a shotgun will need an additional fours of training. He or she will need to qualify with the shotgun as well.

An armed permit holder will need to complete a refresher course and requalify before each annual renewal.

Background Check Requirements

North Carolina requires fingerprint-based background checks. Fingerprints are to be submitted on an FBI applicant card.

The applicant will also need to provide criminal record searches from counties where he or she has resided during the prior 48 months. In the case of in-state applicants, the search may be performed via internet (if conducted through a North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts Public Access User).

The Security Guard Application Process

Employee application form can be downloaded from the website of the Department of Public Safety (,003034,003059). There are different forms for different statuses, including unarmed guard and armed guard; the forms include a summary of required materials.

Prospective security guards must provide explanation if they have ever been convicted of felonies, misdemeanors, or traffic-related offenses.

Security guards must provide certificates of completion of security guard training and (if applicable) firearms training.

The Board will require a recent photograph; the photo is to be provided digitally in JPEG format. It may be submitted on CD or floppy disk or emailed to the following address: ‘PPSASL-Photos at’.

The applicant will sign an information release form.

The initial registration fee for unarmed guard is $30; for armed guard, it is $45. The $38 fingerprint fee is also paid at the time of application. Application materials are sent to the Board office in Raleigh.

Armed guard authorization is agency-specific. An armed guard who is employed by more than one company will need dual registration.

Employee registration is renewed on an annual basis.

Private Patrol and Qualifying Agent Requirements

An individual with management, administrative, or supervisory level security experience can obtain a private patrol license; this authorizes self-employment.

The experience must be in a guard or patrol capacity. However, it may be accrued in a proprietary security organization, law enforcement organization, or branch of the U.S. military.

If the experience was accrued in the military, the professional will need to demonstrate an occupational specialty as well as two years of recent experience.

If the applicant’s background was in law enforcement or proprietary security, the licensing agency will look for three years of qualifying experience. The three years can be partially offset by post-secondary education. The Board can credit 400 hours for an associate’s degree, 800 hours for a bachelor’s degree, or 1,200 hours for a graduate degree. Additional hours can be credited if the student completed concurrent coursework or training specifically focused on the private security industry: The Director of the Board may grant up to 100 hours of experience for training received in conjunction with an associate’s degree, up to 200 for training received in conjunction with a bachelor’s degree, or up to 300 for training received at the graduate level.

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A military spouse who is credentialed in another jurisdiction on the basis of similar requirements may be eligible for licensing in North Carolina if he or she can demonstrate two years of recent experience. Education may substitute for a portion of the experience.

License applications should be requested from the Licensing Unit; the request may be made by telephone (,003034,003051,003052). The applicant should be prepared to provide references. The licensing agency will seek county background checks representing the prior 60 months. The Department of Public Safety has provided instructions for in-state and out-of-state applicants. The applicant will pay a $150 application fee; this is in addition to the $38 fee for the fingerprint-based background check.

Additional Information

Licensing and registration information is available from the North Carolina Private Protective Services Board (,003034). The Licensing Unit can be reached by telephone at (919) 788-5320.