Becoming a security guard in Texas can lead to an exciting and rewarding career. In addition to being a crucial part of crisis management, this profession helps develop essential people skills and problem-solving abilities. As the job requires dealing with various scenarios, the training and requirements for becoming a security guard in Texas are extensive. This article will guide you through the steps to embark on a successful career as a security guard, covering the different types of security guards, the necessary requirements, the duration of the training, the cost of the license, and more.

Types of Security Guards in Texas

In Texas, security guards operate at different levels, each with its unique roles, responsibilities, and corresponding earning potential. Understanding the distinctions between these levels is crucial to pursue the right path in your security guard career.

Security Officers

Level II: Non-Commissioned Security Guard - Observation and Reporting

A Level II security guard is an unarmed professional primarily responsible for observation and reporting. These security guards typically work in environments where the threat level is relatively low, such as hospitals, schools, traffic settings, and apartment buildings or gated communities. Their duties focus on maintaining surveillance and promptly reporting any suspicious activities. While Level II security guards do not carry firearms, their role is vital in ensuring the safety and security of the premises. Level II security guards often serve as the frontline eyes and ears, providing valuable information and support to law enforcement agencies when necessary.

Level III: Commissioned Security Guard or Armed Security Guard - Enhanced Protection

Level III security guards are authorized to carry firearms. They undergo extensive training and must pass advanced security courses and tests to obtain this level of authorization. Commissioned security guards are generally employed in higher-risk areas or locations where enhanced asset protection is required. With their ability to carry firearms, Level III security guards possess the skills needed to respond to potential threats effectively and ensure the safety of individuals and valuable assets. Their responsibilities may include conducting security assessments, managing access control systems, and collaborating with law enforcement agencies during emergencies.

Level III - Armed Security Training

Level IV: Personal Protection Officer or Bodyguard - Executive Protection/VIP Security


Level IV security guards work as personal protection officers or bodyguards for clients. They may provide security at events as VIP bodyguards, protect celebrities or high-profile business executives, or offer backstage security services. Level IV security guards receive specialized training to handle various protective assignments and ensure the safety and well-being of their clients. This level of security guard requires a higher level of skill and professionalism. Level IV security guards must possess exceptional situational awareness, adept interpersonal skills, and the ability to handle high-pressure situations with composure. Opportunities for Level IV security guards often arise in the contexts of executive protection, celebrity security, and private security details for influential individuals and organizations.

Level IV - Executive Protection Training

By progressing through these levels, security guards can take on more challenging assignments and increase their earning potential. The higher the level, the more specialized training and skills are required, leading to greater responsibility and higher-paying security positions.

Requirements to Become a Security Guard in Texas

Becoming a security guard in Texas involves meeting certain requirements and following a specific process. The following steps will help you kickstart your career in the security industry.

Step 1: Apply for Open Security Guard Jobs with Private Security Companies

To begin your journey as a security guard in Texas, you must first secure employment with a private security company. The Private Security Bureau (PSB), a regulatory body operating under the Texas Department of Public Safety (TDPS), oversees the security guard licensing process. Private security companies often require applicants to be at least 18 years old, possess a high school diploma, have legal authorization to work in Texas, demonstrate English proficiency, and pass a comprehensive background screening.

Step 2: Complete the Level II Security Guard Training - Strengthening Skills

After securing a job with a private security company, you need to complete the Level II security guard training. The Texas Department of Public Safety (TDPS) utilizes the Texas Online Private Security (TOPS) system, which provides a list of approved training and continuing education schools. The Level II training course plays a critical role in shaping aspiring security professionals, serving as a foundation for developing the necessary knowledge and skills to excel in the field. During the training, aspiring security guards will cover various topics such as legal aspects of security, emergency response procedures, report writing, and conflict resolution techniques. The training equips individuals with the tools to handle different situations they may encounter during their career. Completion of the training course leads to the issuance of a certificate verifying your successful completion of the Level II training.

Step 3: Submit Your Application through the TOPS Application Portal - A Convenient Process

Once employed as a security guard, you can submit your application through the TOPS application portal. This online platform simplifies the application process, allowing you to conveniently fill out the necessary forms, pay the required fees, and schedule appointments for fingerprinting and background checks. The TOPS portal streamlines communication between applicants, private security companies, and the licensing authorities, ensuring a smoother and more efficient process.

Step 4: License Renewal - Sustaining Professional Credentials

A security guard license in Texas is valid for a duration of two years from the date of issue. To maintain your license, you will need to renew it before the expiration date. Remember that renewing your license requires conducting a physical fingerprint background check, even if you choose to renew online. It is advisable to initiate the renewal process at least 60 days before your license's expiration date. By going through the renewal process regularly, security professionals demonstrate their commitment to ongoing professional development and the safety and security of their communities.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Security Guard License in Texas?

Obtaining a security guard license in Texas involves several stages and processes. From the time you secure employment to receive your pocket card, the entire training and licensing process usually lasts approximately two months. This timeline allows for completing the necessary training, submitting the application, undergoing comprehensive background checks, and receiving official certification.

How Much Does a Security Guard License Cost in Texas?

The cost associated with obtaining a security guard license in Texas includes various fees. For Level II non-commissioned security guards, the registration fee, pocket card fee, and subscription surcharge amount to approximately $40 USD, although costs are subject to change. Ensuring compliance with all fee requirements is necessary to obtain and maintain your license as a security guard in Texas.

Ready for a Promising Security Guard Career?

Choosing a career in the security industry offers excitement, rewards, and continuous learning opportunities. The field provides a dynamic work environment where you can make a difference while ensuring the safety and security of people and assets. As you accumulate experience and additional training, you can explore various sectors within the security field and consider supervisory or management roles. Keeping up with industry trends, advancing your education, and networking within the security community can all contribute to unlocking new doors and taking your security guard career to new heights.

In conclusion, with determination and adherence to the specific steps and requirements outlined above, you can establish a successful career as a security guard in Texas. The comprehensive training, licensing process, and continuous professional development will equip you with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in this essential role. Embrace the opportunities the security industry provides and become a valuable asset in safeguarding individuals and properties in the Lone Star State.

Remember, a career in security goes beyond protecting physical assets; it's about ensuring the safety and well-being of people and making a positive impact within your community. By taking the necessary steps and continuously seeking growth and improvement, you can make a difference as a security guard in Texas.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Texas has three levels of security guards: Level II (unarmed), Level III (armed), and Level IV (personal protection officers).

The requirements include being at least 18 years old, having a high school diploma, passing a background screening, and completing the Level II security guard training.

The entire process, from securing employment to receiving the license, can take approximately two months.

The registration fee, pocket card fee, and subscription surcharge for a Level II security guard in Texas amount to around $40 USD.

No, Level II security guards in Texas are unarmed and primarily responsible for observation and reporting.

The PSB, operating under the Texas Department of Public Safety (TDPS), oversees the security guard licensing process in Texas.

Yes, license renewal can be done online, but a physical fingerprint background check is still required.

The TOPS application portal is an online platform that simplifies the application process for security guard licensing in Texas.

No, only Level IV security guards are authorized to work as personal protection officers or bodyguards for clients.

Yes, as you gain experience and additional training, you can explore supervisory or management roles within the security industry.