Requirements to Become a Security Guard in Chicago

Last Updated: March 12, 2024

The security industry is growing rapidly in the city of Chicago, and embarking on a career in this field opens doors to a fulfilling vocation of protecting your community. This article will guide you through the essential qualifications, certifications, and training required to become a security guard in Chicago and provides tips on gaining relevant experience and finding job openings.

Education Requirements

In Chicago, the minimum education requirement for becoming a security guard is a high school diploma or GED equivalent. However, some employers may prefer candidates with additional education or training in security-related fields, like criminal justice or law enforcement.

While not mandatory, taking specific classes in areas like security management, risk assessment, and emergency procedures can increase your employability and help you stand out from other applicants. You can find these courses at local community colleges or online platforms.

Necessary Certifications

The most critical certification you need to become a security guard in Chicago is the Permanent Employee Registration Card (PERC). The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) issues this card, which is mandatory for all pursuing this profession, with some exemptions. To apply for a PERC card, you must:

  1. Be at least 18 years old.
  2. Complete a 20-hour basic unarmed security training course from an IDFPR-approved provider.
  3. Submit fingerprints for a criminal background check.
  4. Submit other information, if applicable, like criminal history, previous denials of professional license, conditions that may interfere with work, and more.
  5. Pay the $55 (USD) application fee.

It’s important to note that if you want to be an armed security guard, you must complete a 20-hour armed security training course (in addition to the unarmed training) and be at least 21 years old.

Non-Mandatory Certifications

Additional certifications, such as CPR and First Aid, are not mandatory under the State of Illinois but can enhance your qualifications and make you more appealing in your applications. Some employers may also require or prefer security guards to have handcuffing and pepper spray training or the ASP Basic Certification.

Gaining Relevant Experience

To increase your chances of landing a position in Chicago, seeking security guard training and relevant experience in the field is essential. You can do this by volunteering for events or local organizations that require security personnel, which will help you develop valuable skills and create a network of contacts in the industry. Pursuing these opportunities can help you hone essential qualities like communication, staying calm under pressure, physical fitness and a strong sense of situational awareness.

Find Job Openings in Chicago

Have the necessary qualifications and certifications? It’s time to start looking for security guard job openings in Chicago! To increase your chances of getting hired:

  1. Create a strong resume highlighting your relevant experience, certifications, and skills.
  2. Write an engaging cover letter with examples explaining your interest in the field and why you’d be an ideal fit for the company.

For more ways to enhance your career in the security industry, you can take advantage of resources like job training programs and networking events to improve your skills and connect with potential employers. Check out local organizations like the Illinois Security Professionals Association (ISPA), which often offers valuable information and networking opportunities.

Browse our job board at Security Guards Only today to take the next step in your career.


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Jeff Ketelaars
Jeff Ketelaars
Co-founder
Jeff Ketelaars is a seasoned security expert with over 35 years in the industry. He founded two security agencies and established Security Conscious in 1990, a firm that offers high-quality training to security professionals. As a skillful negotiator, Ketelaars has secured contracts for Canada's largest security guard union, advocating for fair treatment and compensation for security personnel.

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