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In California, security guards are licensed by the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (BSIS).  In order to get a security guard license (guard card), you must first complete a pre-licensing course, often referred to as a “guard card class”.   The guard card class is 8 hours long and can be completed in one day.  It is composed of two sections: Powers to Arrest and Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).  Practical Defense Systems offers the guard card course online and on-demand in three online packages:

Packages and Prices:

  1. 8hr guard card course
  2. 32hr BSIS guard card course
  3. 40hr guard card package

Online courses are available anywhere there is an internet connection.  Live courses are available only in San Diego County.  In addition to the guard card courses, Practical Defense Systems offers a full range of security officer training.

Once you have completed your guard card training course and passed the written test, you must get your fingerprints taken at a LiveScan location.  The LiveScan operator will also collect the fees required to pay for your FBI and DOJ background checks.  At that point,  you may submit your application for a guard card to the California Department of Consumer Affairs, Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (BSIS).  You can apply for your guard card, either online at the Bureau’s website at, or by postal mail.

Once you receive your guard card, you are required to complete an additional 32 hours of education.  The first 16 hours are composed of four mandatory classes: Public Relations (Community & Customer); Observation & Documentation; Communication and its Significance; and Liability / Legal Aspects.  The remaining 16 hours of education is composed of electives, such as Patrol Techniques, Officer Safety, and so on.  To make completing these continuing education requirements easier, PDS has combined them into two available online packages:

  • 32hr BSIS guard card course   Complete your continuing education in one easy course.
  • 40hr guard card package   Get all 40 hours of required training done up front.

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