Can a Felon Get a Guard Card?

Are you a felon that has been discouraged while looking for a job? Do you sometimes feel desperate? Like you have to work at a not so great job just because of your past?

Well I am here to tell you that it is possible for you to land a great job. If you want it, you can obtain it with a few important steps.

Being a security guard is an incredibly fulfilling job. You may think that as a felon you might not be able to obtain a guard card (which is a card you are required to have to become a security guard). I hope that this article will prove you wrong.

Can a Felon Get a Guard Card

As a security guard you are required to possess a guard card. A guard card basically acts as a security guard license. Just like how truck drivers are required to have a CDL license, security guards are required to have a guard card. This is not only required for felons but non felons as well.

It is easy to feel like you can not be hired as a person in charge of protecting things and others because of your past. Keep reading this article and do not give up, it can all work out for you.

A quick side note, if you are an employer looking to hire, especially if you are looking to hire a security guard, do not discriminate against someone that is a felon. It is important that you treat them as you would a non felon employee. Of course this is a case by case basis, which I will elaborate on later.

If you are not looking to become a security guard, has an array of different jobs that a felon can be hired into.

What Are the Steps Needed to Obtain a Guard Card?

Like any other job a security guard requires training to ensure the employee is able to perform their job the best way they possibly can. I am going to go over the exact requirements a felon must meet in order to obtain a job as a security guard.

Basic Requirements to Becoming a Security Guard

To acquire a guard card you must first meet some basic requirements. These are requirements for both felons and non felons. You must be at least 18 years old. You must have proof of being a U.S citizen.

You must be willing to give consent to a drug screening,a criminal background check and a fingerprinting through the FBI.

You must complete unarmed guard training which I will elaborate on later. You must have a letter from a security agency that is hiring for the position of a security guard.

Completed a registration application for an armed security guard and passed and approved firearms training course. I will go into more detail about these later.

What is a Guard Card?

What is a Guard Card

If you want to work as a security guard a guard card is something you need to have. The guard card shows that you have the proper certification and training to become a security guard.

To obtain a guard card you must first pass a training course and an exam. The training course can be a minimum of 40 hours and there is also another course called “Power of Arrest” that typically takes around 8 hours.

As a trainee you will also have your fingerprints sent to the FBI. Yes, the FBI.

If you get through all of these basic requirements you will have obtained a chance to become an unarmed security guard.

Becoming an armed security guard requires a few different steps. You would have to have completed the unarmed guard card registration, take a state approved firearm training course and you would have to fill out an application for licensing as an armed security guard.

What is a Professional License?

A professional license is required in many different positions, not only a position of a security guard. Have you ever heard the term licensed professional? That means that the license holder has gone through the proper training to posses a license.

If you are looking into obtaining a professional license for a specific job, I would recommend checking out If you look up “obtaining a professional license” there are plenty of articles explaining how felons can obtain different types of licenses.

Some states have a single license while others have a level system.

If you get a certification in a certain profession that acts as more of a voluntary process. However, sometimes a certification is a required qualification.

A certification gives a person pubic protection and it shows that the person has successfully shown their ability to perform their profession in a professional matter.

I am sure you are wondering why I am explaining what a license and a certificate is. I promise there is a reason.

The Certificate of Rehabilitation

The certificate of rehabilitation is a certificate some states offer to felons wanting to become security guards. A felon can apply for this certificate by going through the public commissioner in the state which they reside.

A certificate of rehabilitation states that the recipient has demonstrated upstanding behavior and has been obeying the law. It also shows that the recipient is no longer a threat to society.

The following states offer a certificate of rehabilitation.

  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • California
  • Arizona
  • New Jersey
  • Virginia
  • New York

There are certain states that will only allow the certificate of rehabilitation depending on the type of felony committed and/or the length of time since the crime was committed.

Another interesting aspect of the certificate is that it can also in certain cases restore the rights for the recipient to carry a firearm.

Can Felons be Security Guards?

Can a Felon be a Guard

It is possible for a felon to become a security guard. However there are certain qualifications you need to meet.

If you have been convicted of any of these crimes then you do not have to look any further because these crimes are prohibited:

  1. A serious felony (murder)
  2. Sexual offense
  3. Any crime that questions a felons integrity or honesty

A security guard service must register you, the perspective employee, with the public safety commissioner. The commissioner can deny the application after carefully considering all factors of the conviction. If they are any of the convictions mentioned above the commissioner will deny you.

If the commissioners do not deny you for the convictions above and instead something else the commissioner will have had to consider these specific points before denying you:

  1. The crimes relation to the security guard position.
  2. Information about the rehabilitation of the felon.
  3. The time frame between when the felony sentence was completed and the time at which the applicant is applying for the job.

Unfortunately, states like Nevada, Rhode Island and Tennessee do not allow felons to work as security guards at all.

A reminder to always be honest when applying for any type of job as a felon. If you are not honest the repercussions could be bad and it could really slim down your chances of getting back on your feet. It could also result in jail time because it is a crime to falsify information that must be presented in the event of applying for any job.

Keep in mind that most states have rules that restrict felons from becoming security guards.

Can You Have Your Record Expunged?

Yes, a felon can possibly have their record expunged. Expunging your record means that on an application you are able to state that you have never been convicted of a crime.

It is a long process but I would definitely recommend that you try it out if your past felony is keeping you from landing that dream job.

Maybe this can be your first step even before you apply for your guard card. Get that record expunged and start fresh!

How Can You Support a Felon Trying to Get Their Guard Card?

The best thing you can do as a loved one of a felon is be there for them. Please try to listen, understand, and know they are in an insanely difficult position.

It can be hard to obtain your guard card as a non felon but it is even more difficult if you are a felon.

You could also remind them to look up if getting a guard card is not possible. This website will open a world of new opportunities for them.

Remind them to keep their head up and keep up their persistence if they really want to obtain a guard card.

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