Security Guard Requirements in Rhode Island

Rhode Island security guards are under the jurisdiction of the Office of Attorney General. The licensing agency distinguishes between individuals who are in business for themselves providing security services and those who are employed by security businesses. Security providers are licensed while employers are registered.

Security professionals must clear criminal background checks. If they will be armed, they must meet additional requirements.

Unarmed guard requirements set by individual employers may be significantly higher than those mandated by state statute.

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Select a Rhode Island Security Guard or Security Business Topic:

Employee Registration

The state legislature has set minimum employee standards that apply to all employees of security agencies with the exception of secretaries and other clerical workers. An individual with a known felony background is not be hired.

The individual will need to provide basic information to the employer such as age, country of citizenship, and employment history for the prior five years. The applicant will affirm that he or she has not been convicted of a felony or crime of moral turpitude. The background statement is known as the employee’s registration statement.

Background checks must be carried out. Licensees (employers) can request background checks from the attorney general’s office for a $5 fee.

Employee application forms can be downloaded from the website of the Office of Attorney General (

Armed Guard/ Pistol Permit Requirements

Rhode Island required individuals who carry handguns (whether concealed or open) to have pistol permits. This is the case for anyone who does not fall under an exemption category described in Chapter 11 of state statute.

The minimum age is 21.

The individual must be qualified by a certified weapons instructor. Qualification standards are described in 11-47-15; relevant statutes are included in the application packet, which can be downloaded from the website of the Office of Attorney General.

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The Office will carry out a criminal background check and may also check court records for restraining orders or records pertaining to mental illness.

An applicant must have fingerprints made. The application is to be accompanied by fingerprints, photograph, and two forms of ID.

The individual must demonstrate that he or she has good cause to carry a firearm. The application packet states that anyone requesting a permit for employment purposes is to provide a signed, typed letter on company letterhead; a copy of the business license is to be submitted as well.

The application requires notarization.

There is a $40 fee; this is not paid until the permit is issued. Approved permit holders will receive notification in the mail. They will pick up their permits in-person.

Requirements for Security Business License

An individual who wishes to operate a security business must be at least 18 and either hold citizenship or be a resident alien (

Licensees must have good moral character.

They may not be dependent on narcotics or habitually intoxicated.

They may not have any felonies in their backgrounds.

They may not have had a similar license revoked or denied in any state.

Additionally, they may not have been declared mentally incompetent by a court (unless competency was subsequently restored).

Licensees must hold liability insurance (

The Security Guard License Application Process

Applicants must have fingerprint-based criminal background checks.

Out-of-state applicants are to have their fingerprints made on standard FBI FD-258 applicant cards. These will be mailed to the RI Attorney General’s Office. In-state applicants will go through the Office of Attorney General for their background checks. The Bureau of Criminal Identification has provided additional information including a list of locations (

License applications can be downloaded ( The applicant must provide five years of employment and address history.

An individual pays $400 for licensure. This is in addition to the $35 that must be paid for the background check.

The applicant will need to present unexpired identification such as driver’s license, passport, or state-issued ID.

Applicants with questions are invited to call 401-274-4400.

The license renewal period is two years.

License requirements also apply to partners or major corporate shareholders. They, too, must have fingerprint-based criminal background checks.

Rhode Island Civil Service Security Requirements

The Rhode Island Division of Human Resources has provided a description of security positions in the public sector ( The varying assessments, certifications, and expectations for experience may also be reflective of jobs in the private sector.

Civil service candidates must demonstrate some combination of education and experience, though there is some flexibility. ‘Public Properties Officer’ is on the on low end with regard to expectations and pay. A high school diploma is not necessarily required, though the hiring agency does value military, police force, or corrections experience as well as previous experience working for protective agencies. The Division notes that a physician statement is required.

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Residence hall security officer is an example of a job where at least twelve years of education are expected. This type of position requires both a physical and a psychological evaluation. The security officer will need first responder certificate, if not at the time of hiring within six months. First responder certificates come from the Rhode Island Department of Health.

Additional Information

Information about Rhode Island security licenses, permits, and registrations is available from the Office of the Attorney General ( The licensing agency can be reached at 401-274-4400.

Licensure is governed by the Private Security Guard Act of 1987.