Security Guard Requirements in Texas: License Requirements for Security Businesses as Well

The Texas Department of Public Safety regulates both commissioned and noncommissioned security guards. Commissioned security guards are those who are authorized to carry firearms; they must meet more stringent training and eligibility requirements than noncommissioned guards.

The Department also grants ‘Class B’ licenses to security businesses. Officers who oversee security functions must meet standards set by the Board. Although there may be multiple intermediate supervisors, only one individual will be designated as a manager for licensing purposes. (There may be additional “managers-in-waiting”).

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Eligibility Requirements for Security Guards

All security professionals must be at least 18 years old. They must meet general fitness requirements. They cannot have been discharged from the military dishonorably or under any other conditions that would be viewed as prohibitive. They cannot be indicted or charged with felonies or Class A or B misdemeanors. They may not be registered as sex offenders in any state. They may not be mentally incompetent in the view of a court.

The individual will need to complete an approved training program at Level II. Required topics include 1) state law and Board rule and 2) note taking and report writing. The program will culminate in a test (

A security guard who has a current valid ID is eligible to transfer eligibility and work for a new employer. However, the employer will need to file an update (

Requirements for Commissioned Security Guards

In order to be authorized to work as an armed guard, an individual must meet eligibility, training, and skill requirements. He or she must be, in the view of the licensing agency, capable of exercising good judgment. The licensing agency may determine that a person is incapable because of a serious psychiatric disorder or condition even if the condition is currently in remission or being managed by medication. However, an individual with a past diagnosis may be licensed if a psychiatrist provides a statement indicating that the person is indeed capable of good judgment. According to state statute, medical records may be required (

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A person may also be disqualified because of a chemically dependence, a restraining order, or a prohibition from possessing firearms. A person who has been convicted of two alcohol- or substance-related misdemeanors at the Class B level or greater is, in the view of the licensing agency, chemically dependent. Eligibility is discussed in-depth in Section 1702.163 of state statute.

Training must be completed through an approved school or instructor. The prospective commissioned guard will need to score satisfactorily on a test. An individual who completes training and demonstrates competence with firearms will be issued a Level III certificate.

Individuals who have current or recent experience as peace officers may be eligible for training exemptions; requirements are described in Rule 35.131.

The commission may be transferred under certain conditions. The Board must be notified of new employment.

The Security Guard Application Process

The application may be submitted online or on paper ( .

Applicants must have fingerprint-based FBI background checks. A $25 fingerprint fee is to be submitted with the application. The fingerprints themselves are submitted electronically, using Fingerprint Applicant Services of Texas (FAST) and the approved provider, Identogo by MorphoTrust ( The applicant will register through Identogo ( Identogo maintains electronic fingerprinting sites throughout Texas ( The Department has provided a form called a “FAST pass”; this should be brought to the appointment.

If fingerprints are made prior to application, the applicant should include a copy of his or her FAST receipt.

The licensing agency will need a copy of applicable training certificates.

A noncitizen will need to provide an alien registration card or work authorization.

The registration fee, pocket card fee, and subscription subcharge total $38 for a noncommissioned security guard, $60 for a commissioned security guard.

Requirements for Security Agency Managers

In order to be designated as the manager of a security company for licensing purposes, one must have at least two years of experience in the particular branch of security. (The security guard business is considered one branch of security. Among the others are armored car services and guard dog services.)

The manager will need to take an examination. This step is completed after application. The examination includes true/ false and multiple choice questions ( Although it is open book, the candidate will work under time constraints. Prospective managers are advised to prepare by studying Chapter 1702 of state occupational code/ administrative rules.

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The exam is administered in Austin at the Department of Public Safety Headquarters. The cost of examination is covered under the company fee. However, a $100 fee will be assessed if reexamination is required.

The exam is typically administered three to five times a month. The licensing agency expects that the examination requirement will be met within 90 days of fee payment. Otherwise, it may be necessary to file a new application.

A “manager-in-waiting” may also take the examination.

In some cases, it is the owner of the business and not a hired manager who will meet experience and examination requirements.

Provisions for Veterans and Military Spouses

Texas has recently passed regulations approving alternative licensing procedures for military spouses ($ext.ViewTAC?tac_view=4&ti=19&pt=7&ch=234&rl=Y).

The licensing agency will consider experience and education of military members and veterans.

Additional Information

Private Security is under the banner of the Texas Department of Public Safety ( Private Security can be reached by email contact form ( or by telephone at (512) 424-7293.