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Top 11 Armed Security Officer Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top certifications for armed security officers, including requirements, benefits, and training options.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 19 min read

Certifications are important for an armed security officer in the job market because they demonstrate a commitment to professionalism and responsibility. Certifications also provide evidence of knowledge, skills, and abilities that employers look for when hiring an armed security officer. Security officers who possess certifications have a competitive edge over those who do not, as these credentials can help them stand out from the competition. Additionally, many employers require certain certifications before they will hire an armed security officer, so having these credentials is essential for anyone looking to enter this field.

This article reviews some of the top certifications for Armed Security Officers and explains how they can contribute to an Armed Security Officer's career advancement.

What are Armed Security Officer Certifications?

Armed security officer certification is a type of professional certification that is designed to demonstrate an individual's knowledge, skills and abilities in the field of armed security. Armed security officers are responsible for protecting people and property from threats such as theft, vandalism, and terrorism. The certification is generally obtained through a government-approved agency or organization, and requires the completion of a comprehensive training program.

The courses included in these programs typically cover topics such as legal aspects of security work, firearms safety, defensive tactics, emergency medical response and more. This ensures that certified armed security officers have the necessary skills to react appropriately in any given situation. Additionally, most states require that armed security officers pass a background check prior to receiving their certification.

Having this certification can be extremely beneficial for those looking for employment in the field of armed security. It allows employers to know that they are hiring someone who has the necessary training to protect their business or property. Additionally, some states may offer additional benefits such as higher pay or bonuses for those with an armed security officer certification. Finally, having this certification can provide peace of mind to those who are planning on hiring an armed security officer because they will know that they have received proper training and passed all required background checks.

Pro Tip: Make sure to research the specific requirements for armed security officer certification in your state or locality prior to enrolling in any training program. Regulations and requirements can vary widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, so it is important to understand what you need to do in order to be certified as an armed security officer.

Related: What does an Armed Security Officer do?

Top 11 Armed Security Officer Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Armed Security Officers today.

1. Certified Protection Officer (CPO)

Certified Protection Officer (CPO) is a professional certification program designed to provide security professionals with the knowledge and skills necessary to protect people, property, and assets. The CPO program is administered by the International Foundation for Protection Officers (IFPO). The CPO program consists of two parts: an online course and an exam.

The online course is designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the principles of security management, including risk assessment, access control systems, emergency response planning, and incident management. It also covers topics such as legal issues related to security operations, ethics in security management, and customer service. Students must complete the online course before taking the exam.

The exam is a four-hour written test that consists of multiple-choice questions covering all aspects of security management. To pass the exam, students must achieve a score of at least 70%. Once students pass the exam they are awarded their CPO certification.

It typically takes about two months to complete the online course and take the exam. The cost for both components varies depending on where you take them but generally ranges from $400-$600 USD.

2. Certified Security Supervisor (CSS)

Certified Security Supervisor (CSS) is a professional certification program designed to provide security supervisors with the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively manage personnel and resources within the security industry. The program focuses on topics such as risk management, personnel management, operations management, and legal issues related to security.

The CSS certification program consists of two parts: an online course and an in-person exam. The online course takes approximately 16 hours to complete and covers topics such as laws, regulations, ethics, risk assessment, personnel management, operations management, and more. After completing the online course, individuals must pass a proctored exam in order to receive their certification.

To get Certified Security Supervisor (CSS) certification one must first meet the eligibility requirements which include having at least three years of experience in the security field or having completed a relevant college degree program. Individuals must also successfully complete the online course before being eligible for the in-person exam.

The cost of taking the Certified Security Supervisor (CSS) exam is $350 USD plus any applicable taxes or fees.

3. Certified Professional Guardian (CPG)

A Certified Professional Guardian (CPG) is a person who has been trained and certified to provide guardianship services for individuals who are unable to make decisions for themselves due to age, disability, or other reasons. A CPG provides legal guardianship services that include managing the individual’s finances, medical care, living arrangements, and other important matters.

The process of becoming a CPG typically takes several months and involves completing an approved training program, passing a written exam, and undergoing a criminal background check. The training program usually consists of 30-40 hours of instruction on various topics related to guardianship such as ethics, legal issues, financial management, and communication skills.

To become a CPG in most states you must first complete an approved training program. These programs can be found through state agencies or private organizations that specialize in providing guardianship training. Once the training is completed you will need to pass an exam administered by your state’s licensing board. After passing the exam you will then need to submit an application for certification along with any required fees.

The cost of becoming a CPG varies depending on the state you live in and the type of training program you choose. Generally speaking, it costs between $500-$1,000 for the initial training course and exam fees. In addition to this cost there may also be additional fees associated with obtaining certification such as background checks or other administrative costs.

4. Certified Security Manager (CSM)

Certified Security Manager (CSM) is a professional certification that recognizes an individual’s expertise in security management. The CSM credential is administered by the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, Inc. (ISC2). The CSM certification is designed to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of security management principles and practices.

In order to become certified as a Certified Security Manager, applicants must pass the CSM exam which consists of 150 multiple-choice questions covering topics such as risk assessment, incident response, access control, business continuity planning, and cryptography. The exam must be taken at an authorized testing center and takes approximately four hours to complete.

To apply for the CSM exam, candidates must have at least five years of cumulative paid work experience in information security or related areas. Candidates must also submit an application form and pay the required fee of $599 USD before they can take the exam.

The cost of becoming a Certified Security Manager includes the cost of taking the exam ($599 USD), any additional costs associated with taking the exam (such as travel expenses), and any fees associated with maintaining certification (such as annual membership dues).

5. Certified Security Analyst (CSA)

Certified Security Analyst (CSA) is a professional certification that demonstrates an individual’s knowledge and proficiency in the area of information security. The CSA certification is designed to validate an individual’s expertise in identifying, analyzing, and responding to security threats. It is also intended to help organizations assess the qualifications of potential hires for positions related to information security.

The CSA certification program consists of two exams: the Certified Security Analyst (CSA) exam and the Certified Security Professional (CSP) exam. The CSA exam covers topics such as risk management, incident response, network security, cryptography, and application security. The CSP exam focuses on topics such as system hardening, authentication protocols, secure coding practices, and penetration testing.

It typically takes around six months to prepare for the CSA certification exams. This includes studying material from approved sources such as textbooks or online courses, attending workshops or seminars related to the subject matter, and taking practice tests or simulations.

To get certified as a CSA you must pass both exams with a minimum score of 70%. After passing both exams you will receive your official certificate from ISACA (Information Systems Audit & Control Association).

The cost for the CSA certification program varies depending on which country you are located in but typically ranges from $500-$1,000 USD. This cost includes registration fees for both exams as well as any additional materials needed for preparation.

6. Certified Firearms Instructor (CFI)

A Certified Firearms Instructor (CFI) is an individual who has completed a comprehensive training program and has been certified by a recognized firearms organization. The CFI program is designed to provide instructors with the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to teach safe and effective firearms handling.

How long does it take to get it? It typically takes between two weeks and two months to complete the certification process, depending on the specific requirements of the organization granting the certification.

How do you get it? To become a CFI, applicants must meet certain educational requirements, such as having completed a basic firearms safety course or having prior experience in teaching firearms safety. Applicants may also need to pass written exams and demonstrate their proficiency in firearm handling. Some organizations may also require that applicants have completed additional courses or seminars related to firearm safety before they can be certified as a CFI.

How much does it cost? The cost of becoming a CFI varies depending on the organization offering the certification. Generally, it will cost between $200-$600 for all materials, exams, and certifications required for becoming a CFI.

7. National Rifle Association Law Enforcement Division Instructor Certification (NRA LEI)

The National Rifle Association Law Enforcement Division Instructor Certification (NRA LEI) is a certification program designed to provide law enforcement officers with the knowledge and skills necessary to teach firearms safety, marksmanship, and related topics. The NRA LEI program is open to all active or retired law enforcement officers who have successfully completed an approved firearms instructor training course.

It typically takes up to four months for an applicant to receive their NRA LEI certification, depending on the availability of the instructor and the applicant’s schedule. To get certified, applicants must first complete a basic firearms instructor training course that is offered by an approved NRA-certified instructor. After completing the course, applicants must submit a copy of their certificate of completion as well as other required documentation to the NRA Law Enforcement Division for review. Once these documents are reviewed and approved, applicants will be issued their NRA LEI certification.

The cost of obtaining an NRA LEI certification varies depending on the type of instructor training course taken and any additional fees associated with it. Generally speaking, most courses range from $200-$400 USD in tuition fees plus any additional costs such as ammunition or range fees.

8. International Foundation for Protection Officers Certification (IFPO-CPO)

The International Foundation for Protection Officers Certification (IFPO-CPO) is a certification program developed by the International Foundation for Protection Officers (IFPO). It is designed to recognize and validate the knowledge, skills, and abilities of security professionals. The IFPO-CPO certification is an internationally recognized credential that demonstrates a commitment to professionalism in the field of security.

The IFPO-CPO certification requires applicants to complete a comprehensive training program, pass an examination, and meet certain experience requirements. The training program consists of five courses: Introduction to Security, Access Control Systems and Procedures, Patrol Techniques and Procedures, Report Writing and Documentation, and Legal Aspects of Security. Each course must be completed within 12 months from the start date.

In order to obtain the IFPO-CPO certification, applicants must have at least two years of experience in a security position or one year of experience plus completion of the IFPO-CPO training program. Applicants must also pass an examination administered by the IFPO with a score of 75% or higher.

The cost for obtaining the IFPO-CPO certification varies depending on location but typically ranges from $500-$1000 USD. This cost includes all course materials as well as the exam fee.

9. American Society for Industrial Security Professional Certification Program (ASIS-PCP)

The American Society for Industrial Security Professional Certification Program (ASIS-PCP) is a professional certification program designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated knowledge and expertise in the security industry. The ASIS-PCP program provides an opportunity for individuals to demonstrate their commitment to the profession and their expertise in security management, operations, and related fields.

The program consists of two levels: Certified Protection Professional (CPP) and Physical Security Professional (PSP). To become certified at either level, applicants must pass a comprehensive exam that covers topics such as risk assessment, physical security systems design, personnel security, and emergency management.

It typically takes 6-12 months of preparation to be ready to take the exam. To get started on the path to certification, applicants must first join ASIS International as a member. Once they are members, they can then apply for the certification exam. Applicants will need to provide proof of experience in the security field before they can take the exam.

The cost of taking the exam varies depending on whether you are an ASIS member or nonmember. For ASIS members, it costs $225 USD for CPP and $150 USD for PSP exams. For nonmembers, it costs $450 USD for CPP and $300 USD for PSP exams.

Once applicants have passed their respective exams, they will receive their certificate from ASIS International and will be eligible to use the CPP or PSP designation after their name.

10. ASIS International Physical Security Professional Credentialing Program (PSP)

The ASIS International Physical Security Professional Credentialing Program (PSP) is a professional certification program that provides physical security professionals with the knowledge and skills necessary to design, implement, and manage physical security systems. The program was developed by the American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS) in collaboration with industry experts to ensure that physical security professionals have the necessary expertise to protect people, property, and information.

The PSP credential requires a minimum of three years of experience in physical security or a related field. It also requires applicants to pass an exam consisting of multiple-choice questions covering topics such as risk assessment, access control, surveillance systems, alarm systems, and more. The exam is administered online and takes approximately two hours to complete.

To get the PSP credential, applicants must first register for the exam through ASIS's website. Once registered, they will be sent an authorization letter containing instructions on how to access the exam. After completing the exam successfully, applicants must submit their application for review by ASIS’s Board of Examiners. If approved by the board, applicants will receive their PSP certification within six weeks.

The cost of taking the PSP examination is $450 USD for members of ASIS International and $550 USD for non-members.

11. American Board for Certification in Homeland Security Level III Armed Security Officer Certification

The American Board for Certification in Homeland Security (ABCHS) Level III Armed Security Officer Certification is a professional certification program designed to recognize the knowledge and skills of security professionals in the field of homeland security. This certification is intended for those who are employed as armed security officers, or who are seeking to become armed security officers.

The ABCHS Level III Armed Security Officer Certification requires successful completion of a written examination, as well as a practical demonstration of proficiency with firearms. The written exam covers topics such as legal principles, use of force, defensive tactics, and emergency response procedures. The practical component includes firing range qualification and scenario-based exercises.

It typically takes approximately three months to complete the certification process, depending on the individual's availability for training and testing sessions. To get certified, an individual must first apply online through the ABCHS website and submit all required documents (e.g., proof of identity, criminal background check). Once accepted into the program, the applicant will be provided with access to online course materials and will be scheduled for both a written exam and practical demonstration session at an approved testing facility.

The cost of obtaining this certification varies depending on the provider but typically ranges from $300-$400 USD.

Do You Really Need a Armed Security Officer Certificate?

An Armed Security Officer Certificate is an important requirement for those who wish to become an armed security guard in many states. This certificate is required by the state in order to obtain a license to carry a firearm while on duty. The certificate shows that the applicant has met all of the requirements set by the state, including passing a background check and completing a comprehensive training program.

Having an Armed Security Officer Certificate is not only necessary for obtaining a license, but it also demonstrates that the individual has taken steps to ensure they are qualified and competent to serve as an armed security guard. The certificate serves as proof that the individual has completed all of the necessary training and understands the laws related to firearms and safety protocols while on duty.

In addition, having an Armed Security Officer Certificate can make it easier for employers to find qualified individuals when hiring for positions requiring this type of certification. It provides employers with assurance that the individual meets all of their standards and can be trusted with carrying a firearm safely and responsibly.

In summary, although having an Armed Security Officer Certificate is not always required in every state or jurisdiction, it is highly recommended for those wishing to pursue a career as an armed security guard. Not only does it demonstrate competency and help employers identify qualified applicants, but it also helps ensure public safety by making sure those carrying firearms are properly trained and knowledgeable about gun laws and safety protocols.

Related: Armed Security Officer Resume Examples

FAQs About Armed Security Officer Certifications

1. What is an Armed Security Officer Certification?

Answer: An Armed Security Officer Certification is a credential that demonstrates an individual has met the training and licensing requirements to carry firearms while on duty as a security officer.

2. How do I get certified as an armed security officer?

Answer: To become certified as an armed security officer, you must complete specific training courses and pass a background check. You must also have a valid state-issued firearms permit or license, and meet any other requirements set by your state or employer.

3. What type of training is required for an armed security officer certification?

Answer: The training requirements vary by state, but typically include instruction in firearms safety, tactics, use of force, conflict resolution, and legal issues related to carrying firearms on duty.

4. Is there a fee associated with getting certified as an armed security officer?

Answer: Yes, many states charge fees for the application process and background check associated with becoming certified as an armed security officer.

5. Is certification required to work as an armed security guard?

Answer: It depends on the state in which you are working as there are different laws governing this occupation in different states. In some states it may be optional while in others it may be mandatory so it’s best to check with your local governing body to find out what the regulations are in your area.