Jan 11, 2023
Once a felon completes their prison sentence, they are free to search for employment in private security.
Contrary to what many people believe, there are many industries that hire ex-offenders, including trucking, delivery services, manufacturing, warehousing, and private security.
Becoming a private security guard as a felon might be challenging, but it can be done.
Applying For a Private Security Job
A private security guard is basically a bodyguard hired by an individual or a third party to protect a person, property, or premises. When someone requires private security, they usually turn to professional companies.
Apart from guarding clients, private security guards can also be hired to patrol properties, conduct surveillance, and perform investigation services.
In order to become a private security guard, you must obtain a license, which is otherwise known as a guard card. You would usually need to go through classroom training, field training, and on-the-job training to get licensed.
There are three levels of security guard training:
Level II security guard – Security guards with basic training.
Level III security guard – Security guards who are allowed to carry guns, for which they’re required to complete special training.
Level IV security guard – Security guards who work in personal protection.
Did you know? The guard card license allows you to work as a security guard, bodyguard, bouncer, loss prevention agent, store surveillance agent, and security patrol agent.
Once you go through the necessary training and complete your courses, you can start looking for companies with openings. While there are numerous security guard agencies to choose from, not all of them will hire someone with a criminal record.
Can Felons Work As Private Security Guards?
Whether or not an ex-offender can work as a private security guard depends on the nature and severity of their offense and a few other relevant factors.
Not only will a decision be made based on the type of committed felony, but how much time has passed since the conviction as well. You would usually need to wait five to seven years after you complete your sentence before applying for a security guard job.
If the charged felony was a violent crime, such as aggravated assault, sexual assault, or murder, the felon won’t be able to work as a security guard. This especially applies to rapists and child abusers, who wouldn’t be able to get a license under any circumstances.
Before you can get your guard card, you must submit a consent form for a background check and a drug screening.
There is no way for you to become a security guard without the security company finding out about your criminal history. You also need to go through a livescan fingerprint test.
Keep in mind that these regulations and laws vary from state to state. For example, in Texas, convicted felons need to wait ten years before their felonies are removed from their criminal records.
On the other hand, if you have a misdemeanor on your record, the state of Texas will license you to work for security.
According to federal law, convicted felons aren’t allowed to possess firearms. This prevents them from becoming Level III or Level IV bodyguards. Consequently, most ex-offenders who want to work in private security get hired as non-commissioned level II security guards.
The only instances when ex-offenders would be able to possess firearms is when their conviction is expunged, set aside, or pardoned. Either way, the convicted felon’s civil rights would have to be restored by the state where the felony had occurred.
Did you know? Some states will allow you to work as a security guard with a criminal background. These include New York, California, Arizona, Illinois, Virginia, Florida, and New Jersey.
In other states, like Maine and Kentucky, you can become a security guard without a guard card. There are states that don’t allow felons to be appointed as security guards at all. These include Nevada, Tennessee, and Rhode Island.
If you want to work for a security guard company, you’ll need to provide them with a rehabilitation certificate, which proves you are no threat to the public. In addition, some certifications would help you get hired as a convicted felon:
The Certificate of Relief from Disabilities – For felons who were convicted only once but didn’t receive any jail time.
The Certificate of Good Conduct – For felons who were convicted more than once.
Security Companies That Hire Felons
Since ex-felons aren’t allowed to carry guns, they are prevented from becoming private security guards (unless the felony is removed from their record).
But they can still work as regular security guards in the meantime. Here are some security companies that are felon-friendly.
Securitas is a security company with more than 120,000 employees and over 400 local offices. This company offers services such as integrated guarding, on-site security, mobile guarding, remote guarding, and electronic security.
Securitas is open to hiring felons; they even have special programs for those looking for a second chance. Ex-offenders can also take advantage of Securitas’s specialized security training opportunities.
G4S Global is a British security company that operates in over 90 countries all over the world. With more than 100 years of experience, G4S offers a wide variety of security services, from installing security systems to risk management security services.
They are open to hiring ex-felons as well. Their security jobs include site supervisor, security officer, operations manager, operations coordinator, and more.
U.S. Security Associates
U.S. Security Associates has over 50,000 employees in the U.S., but it also operates worldwide. This company has a range of clients and industries, and its services include security, access control, remote security, surveillance, investigation, etc. U.S. Security Associates has also been known to hire ex-felons, who can use their special training programs.
Allied Universal offers custom business security services. It’s one of the largest security companies in the world, with over 300,000 employees.
Allied Universal provides expert security services in a range of industries. They even help government agencies with security. Some jobs ex-felons can apply for include security professionals, lobby ambassadors, access control officers, site supervisors, school security guards, unarmed security guards, and so on.
Pinkerton is a veteran security guard company that was established in 1850. It offers investigation, risk advisory, and protection services.
Pinkerton also offers job opportunities to those with a criminal record. Felons who aren’t allowed to possess firearms can apply for unarmed agent positions. There are many other positions ex-felons may be eligible for.
How Much Does A Private Security Guard Get Paid?
According to the Beurau of Labor Statistics, a private security guard earns anywhere form $11.18-15.13 per hour (this is the median hourly wage). Annually, this amounts to $23,250-31.470 per year.
If becoming a security guard seems to difficult in your situation, there are other career opportunities an ex-felon can explore in a wide range of industries.
Work in Security As a Felon
Felons struggle to find work when they get out of prison, but there are many companies that are willing to give ex-offenders a second chance.
For example, felons can look for opportunities as security guards. It’s also possible to become a private security guard if you’re a felon, but you will need to wait for the felony to be removed from your criminal record.