If you’re interested in a career that provides you with a sense of duty, honour, and responsibility, you should consider becoming a security guard. This job path is limitless with tons of different routes you could take it. Security guards are needed everywhere, from private office buildings to construction sites. It’s your duty to protect the space you’re guarding and take the necessary steps to prevent entry from people who don’t belong there. You need to be able to work well under pressure and think on the spot. If this sounds like a dream career for you, keep reading to find out how to become a security guard.
Ensure your eligibility
Not every person can (or should) become a security guard. It’s the perfect career for some, but not for all. To succeed as a security guard, you need to be extremely responsible, reliable, and punctual. When sudden pressure and stress arise, you need to thrive under pressure and make sound decisions. This isn’t the job for those who are impulsive or those who crack under pressure. You also need strong communication skills.
To be eligible to pursue this career in Ontario, you need to be at least 18 years of age. You must be eligible to work in Canada and have a clean criminal record. Then, you must complete your training, pass the exam, and receive a license. If you meet these requirements and have the skills to excel, you could enjoy a fulfilling career as a security guard.
Understand the pros and cons of the job
Before you dive head-first into the steps to become a security guard, it’s important to understand what a day in the life of a security guard is like. Most of the time, you won’t be fending off trespassers or chasing down shoplifters. Often, your job is quiet and calm. Until it isn’t, of course.
Depending on the job you get, you could be working night shifts in variable weather conditions. Sometimes you’ll be indoors; sometimes, you could be outside. Despite the mundane day-to-day activity, you need to be prepared for that to change in an instant. Your attention to detail should be exceptional, as well as your investigative skills.
Talented security guards can make a healthy salary with plenty of room for growth. You will have many options for jobs, and each comes with their own benefits and downsides.
Enroll in a ministry-approved training course
To start the process of becoming a security guard, you need to complete your training program. There are many in Ontario, but not all are reputable, accredited, or comprehensive. For example, our school is registered as a Private Career College and we are a member of the Better Business Bureau. Our courses are taught by former Toronto Police officers and experienced Licensed Security Guards with many years of experience in policing and security.
You have the option of doing your program online or in person. Some of the topics you’ll learn about are:
- The Code of Conduct and the Investigative Services Act
- Report writing
- Emergency response preparation
- Canadian legal system
- Sensitivity training
- Use-of-Force Theory
You can expect a mix of reading and watching content as well as hands-on practice. The in-class option is 40 hours in total and happens from Monday to Friday. When you complete your training program, you’ll be given a unique training completion number that you’ll need to take the Ministry exam.
Take first aid & CPR training
Another requirement to become a security guard is to take and pass the first aid and CPR certifications. In fact, you can’t write your licensing test until you’ve completed them. Luckily, some training programs, like ours, include first aid and CPR in the in-class courses. We also provide individual first aid and CPR courses.
Why do you need first aid and CPR as a security guard? In some security positions, you’re the first point of contact until emergency services arrive. For example, let’s say you’re a security guard at the Eaton Centre. If a shopper starts choking in the food court, you can’t wait for the paramedics to arrive to help them. Until EMS arrives, you need to do whatever you can to save the shopper. In this case, doing the Heimlich maneuver could be enough. Depending on the emergency, you might need other procedures taught in first aid and CPR. Expect to update your first aid certifications many times throughout your career.
Write the Security Guard Licensing test
Security guards in Ontario must have a license from ServiceOntario on behalf of the Minister of the Solicitor General. You can write your test at any DriveTest centres in Ontario, but you must register for it beforehand. The test comes with a fee of $75.15 and is payable on the day of your test.
The government of Ontario provides study materials for potential security guards to prepare for the test. It’s recommended that you study well for the test and remember that the content you’re studying will be necessary for your career.
Test results will be available online within two days of writing it. Should you fail, you can rewrite the test as many times as you need. However, you’ll have to pay the fee each time. Should you pass, you can move on to applying for your security guard license.
Apply for your Security Guard License
The final step to be eligible to be a security guard in Ontario is receiving your official license. To apply for your license, you’ll need to gather some relevant documents, a photo of yourself, and complete your application. Then, you can either send it in my mail or online. Online is the fastest method; it can take up to 10 days to process your application. You can check the site in real-time to see when your application is approved. Then, it will be sent to you through the mail within eight weeks.
You’ll have to take these exact steps to renew your license whenever it expires. So, it’s best to keep your application documents in a safe place for future use.
Start working in your new field
What’s a security guard license if you don’t have a job to use it for? Once you’ve jumped through all the hoops to become a security guard, you can apply for open positions. You have tons of options for the type of security you want to provide. You could be a bouncer, concierge, bodyguard, loss prevention employee, or a general security guard. You may want to explore your options until you find one that suits you best. Each role comes with its own benefits and downsides. However, if you have the skills and personality to fulfill this position, you can look forward to a long, satisfying career.
The Centre for Security and Training has been training exceptional security guards in Toronto for over 22 years. Our accredited programs are among the best in Ontario, and our students see fast employment post-license due to the excellence of our training.