How to Become a Security Guard

Learn what it takes to become a security guard so you can prepare mentally, physically, educationally, financially, and in any other ways you need. Be sure to understand this guide thoroughly, as the process is sometimes strict and a bit complicated.

So you want to be a security guard? That's good for you! It's also good for your family, future, and the people you protect. It’s a critical and rewarding career you’re sure to love, with abundant job prospects throughout Ontario.

Learn what it takes to become a security guard so you can prepare mentally, physically, educationally, financially, and in any other ways you need. Be sure to understand this guide thoroughly, as the process is sometimes strict and a bit complicated.

The requirements for becoming a security guard ensure your safety and effectiveness in the line of duty. They also ensure you won’t put anyone in danger or offer inadequate services that damage trust in the profession. Don’t worry - security guard training prepares you for a long, successful, fulfilling career.

As you dive into the world of security work in Ontario, it’s essential to recognize that the journey is as much about personal growth as it is about professional development. The rigorous training and stringent requirements are designed not only to equip you with the necessary skills and knowledge but also to instill a sense of responsibility and ethics that are crucial in this line of work.

This guide will navigate you through each process step, from meeting the initial eligibility criteria to securing your license and finding meaningful employment in the field.

Who Can Become A Security Guard In Ontario?

Not just anyone can walk into a security guard job interview and expect to get hired. It’s not even legal to work as a security guard without the proper licensing, just like any other licensed profession. So you know it’s somewhere between “anyone” and “a security guard” — who exactly is allowed to undergo training and apply for security guard jobs, pursuing a new career?

Embarking to become a security guard begins with understanding the basic eligibility criteria, the skills that will serve you well in the role, and the training necessary to succeed.

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify as a security guard in this province, candidates must meet a few foundational standards, most of which are pretty evident and applicable to any job — except one.

  • Minimum age requirement: To be a security guard, you must be at least 18 years old. This ensures you have reached the maturity and responsibility necessary for the role and gives you legal authority over yourself and your actions. If you’re not yet old enough, look for other jobs that have similar roles as a security guard so you can gain relevant experience by your 18th birthday.

  • Legal work status in Canada: Work status is necessary for any job, but especially one with additional responsibility and liability. You must be legally entitled to work in Canada. This includes citizens, permanent residents, or individuals on valid work permits.

  • Clean criminal record: Yep, you need a clean criminal record to be a security guard. This also includes pending charges and other judicial matters, so staying on the right side of the law is paramount. Prospective security guards must undergo a Criminal Record and Judicial Matters Check (CRJMC) to prove they have no convictions or charges under the Criminal Code of Canada that would disqualify them from serving in a security capacity.

Necessary Skills and Attributes

Beyond the basic eligibility criteria, specific skills and attributes can significantly enhance your ability to perform effectively as a security guard. Some can be make-or-break when it comes to saving someone’s life, preventing a crime, or otherwise making the tough decisions unique to a security guard’s position.

  • Communication skills: Clear, concise communication is crucial for interacting with the public and accurately documenting incidents. Security guards also have to be able to communicate with one another without alerting civilians to potentially disruptive activity, lest they incite panic. It’s not just about using a walkie-talkie and shouting into a crowd — security guard communication is technical, strategic, and unique to different environments and employers.

  • Physical fitness: Can you chase down a criminal? Can you move into position to block an intruder? Can you defend yourself against an aggressive individual? The hypothetical situations are endless, but the message is clear. While not all positions require peak physical condition, a good level of fitness supports the job's demands, from standing for long periods to responding quickly in emergencies.

  • Problem-solving skills: Security guards often face unexpected challenges and must think on their feet to resolve issues efficiently and safely. Solving problems discreetly, quietly, and without escalation takes more than just good intentions. Security guards get trained in advanced problem-solving skills, but having a general knack for finding solutions without losing your cool is a great start.

Training Requirements

Ontario mandates specific training for all aspiring security guards to ensure they’re well-prepared for their duties. The mandatory training program covers everything from basic security procedures to more specialized skills through both in-class (or online) learning and practical components, ensuring a well-rounded and memorable education.

Security guard training covers the essentials — managing crowds, report writing, emergency response procedures, legal authorities, and effective communication. It also covers more specific areas depending on the security guard's intended field of work, such as the use of force theory and first aid/CPR. Security guards can also pursue advanced training for surveillance technology, hazardous environments, or other situations that entail sensitive cargo, high-risk criminal activity, or elevated legal concerns.

Only training programs the Ministry approves can certify you for a security guard license in Ontario. Upon completing the roughly 40-hour training, candidates must pass a test to receive their certification. You can apply for your security guard license once you pass the training and the test.

Getting Your Security Guard License

The security guard licensing process includes the initial application and maintaining your license. You need to get it renewed every two years. Before your license expires, you must apply for renewal through the Service Ontario portal, which may involve updating your CRJMC and paying a renewal fee. Staying on top of continuing education and any additional training requirements is also smart — ensure you stay up to date on the latest regulations and advance yourself as a professional.

You need to take the security guard license exam and pass with a 62% or higher. You must also provide proof of training completion, along with the standard identification, residency, and employment eligibility information.

Finding a Job as a Security Guard

With eligibility, training, testing, and license out of the way, you need to put all your hard work into, well, work. Where will you work?

Landing a job as a security guard in Ontario is about understanding the market, knowing where to look, and presenting yourself as the ideal candidate. With everything you’ve learned, you’ll be prepared to take on any diverse range of opportunities and environments looking for security guards.

Ontario's demand for security guards remains strong, fueled by a growing need for security across various sectors. Employers range from retail chains and corporate offices to event organizers and private security firms. The expanding landscape of industries hiring security guards includes healthcare, educational institutions, industrial sites, and residential complexes, reflecting security personnel's critical role in today's society.

You might have a singular image of a security guard in a mall, bank, or other common setting. However, plenty of niches and specializations exemplify how diverse and abundant job opportunities can be. Consider jobs in:

  • Retail security, focusing on loss prevention, customer service, and ensuring a safe shopping environment

  • Event security, focusing on control, access management, and coordination safety for attendees, performers, and staff

  • Corporate security, focusing on protecting business assets, employees, and infrastructure, often involving surveillance and emergency response planning

  • Personal protection, similar to the above, but specifically focusing on individuals such as VIPs or corporate executives and requiring extra discretion, sensitivity, and care

  • Surveillance operations, focusing on the technology used to monitor premises, support software, and find efficiencies that boost security while improving conditions for guards.

To successfully navigate the job market, start with a strong cover letter and resume tailored to the position, employer, location, and specific duties of each job. Your resume should highlight relevant security experience and skills. At the same time, your cover letter should explain why you’re a perfect fit for the specific security role — emphasize your reliability, vigilance, and commitment to safety.

You’ll have the most success when you leverage professional networks, social networks, and job search platforms. Think LinkedIn and Indeed, but also turn to your security guard training provider for exclusive access to job boards and strong employer relationships. Also, consider attending job fairs and security industry events. Networking can often uncover opportunities not listed on job boards.

Research each employer before your interviews. Be ready to discuss how your background, skills, and certifications align with their needs and practice answering common security-related questions and scenarios to demonstrate your problem-solving capabilities.

Ensuring a Successful Career as a Security Guard

Want to thrive as a security guard, gaining promotions and financial rewards while creating a safer, peaceful world? You need to push yourself to take on continuous learning and professional development opportunities, whether through your employer’s training programs or external providers.

Advanced training and specializations can lead to career advancement opportunities, whether moving into management roles or focusing on niche areas like cybersecurity or executive protection. You can pursue your passions, find a more lucrative route, or work into a role that suits your working style.

Upholding high standards of professionalism and ethics is also critical, as your actions directly impact the trust placed in you by employers and the community. Being a successful security guard is about building a reputation - your career is only as good as your references. You’ll be saddled with an immense amount of responsibility and trust. You need to show employers today, tomorrow, and for decades to come that you’re a trustworthy, reliable, and ethical person.

Finally, balancing the job's demands with personal well-being is essential for a long and fulfilling career. Find ways to manage your stress, stay in shape, stay engaged with the industry, and protect your mental health. Like any job, it has challenges that can wear on you. Take care of yourself, prepare for the challenges, and trust your training to get you through — you’ll be well on your way to greatness. Remember, taking care of your mental and physical health benefits you personally and enhances your performance and reliability as a security professional.

Get Started on Your Security Guard Training

This is your time to embark on the security guard career path. Get the training, guidance, and job support you need to succeed as a security guard in Ontario.

Quinn Smith ·

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