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Can a Felon Get a Guard Card?

Can a Felon Get a Guard Card

The authorities generally do not trust felons for public-security related jobs. Having said that, a security guard job is a preferable choice for a felon in the US. Such a position doesn’t demand higher education or degrees.

Moreover, such jobs don’t require prolonged training periods or practices too. That’s why most felons prefer looking for security guard jobs.

Owning a guard card is mandatory to become a security guard in the US. You need a guard card to work as a security guard in a public place in any state. Almost every civilian is eligible for getting a guard card. But are felons eligible to get their guard card?

Most felons have this single question in their minds. This article is going to offer definite and also complete answers to this question.

What A Guard Card Is?

A guard card is a government-aided license for getting a security guard job. An individual needs to get this card from the Department of Consumer Affairs. This is a legalized permit to get appointed as an unarmed security guard in any US state. Generally, only adults are eligible for applying for guard cards.

How Does An Individual Get A Guard Card?

You need to go through a complicated procedure to issue your guard card. The procedure consists of three main steps. Go through the following points to understand the steps clearly.

1 You are supposed to attend a dedicated training program that lasts 8 hours. The entire training program includes two different courses. The first course is known as ‘Powers to arrest’. The other is ‘Weapons of mass destructions.’ Several training agencies offer these courses. Some offer the entire training program as well. Such a training agency also offers a completion certificate to the candidate.

2 You need to register your fingerprint with the DCA to proceed with your application. You should get your Livescan fingerprinting done from a local center. This is a mandatory process after completion of training.

can felon get a guard card

3 An applicant should submit his complete application via online and offline mode. The authority then reviews and considers his application. Guard cards are generally couriered by the ministry to individuals.

4 Every applicant has to undergo 32 hours of educational sessions after getting their card. The entire educational session is split into two parts of 16 hours. The first needs to be completed within 30 days after approval. The applicant has to attend another session within six months after approval. This entire program is essential for validating a guard card.

These are the simple steps of applying for a guard card. A candidate must follow the step-by-step guide to apply for the same.

What Are The Necessary Documents A Felon Needs To Get A Guard Card?

Apart from the above procedure, an applicant has to submit other documents too. The necessary documents are similar for a felon and non-felon applicants.

Let’s have a look at the important documents to apply for a guard card.

  • First, one needs to submit his citizenship proof. The candidate needs to prove that he is a US citizen.
  • The candidate must submit their age-proof. The document should verify that he is 18 and above.
  • You can’t get a guard card unless you have a security job offer from a local agency.
  • Apart from these, the applicant also needs to submit a consent form for the background check and drug screening. This consent form allows the FBI to conduct the candidate’s background check. This is especially applicable to felon candidates.
  • You need a certification for the unarmed training course from the training agency. The certificate should also be approved by the state government.
  • An applicant needs a security job’s offer letter to apply for a guard card.
  • The candidate also needs to complete an authorized firearm training program.

These official documents are a must-have when applying for a guard card.

Are Felons Eligible For Guard Cards?

Yes, felons can also apply for guard card legally. There is no such restriction in this case. Not all felons however can get their guard card applications approved. Different states in the US however have different policies for authorizing guard cards.

Some state governments don’t ask for guard cards for working as security guards. You don’t need a guard card license to work in Kentucky and Maine. Some states however don’t allow felons to get security jobs. Felons can’t get appointed as security guards in Nevada, Tennessee, and Rhode Island.

can felon get the guard card

Most US states however allow felons to work as security guards. These states consider a felon’s felony before granting his application. Felons need to process their requests to the respective Public Safety Commissioners in these states.

The list of these felon-friendly states includes:

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

Candidates need to have rehabilitation certificates to get security jobs in these states. Such certificates are the moral character official assurance letters of felon applicants. The process is not as easy as it seems. A felon has to go through certain steps to get security jobs even in these states.

First, an applicant must contact a local hiring agency. The agency then forwards his application to the local Public Safety Commissioner after selection. The commissioner is also authorized to reject any application without any justification. Commissioners usually reject applications due to a lack of documents.

The DCA reviews every application and conducts each applicant’s background check. The department comes across the detailed crime history of every candidate. The authorities judge a felon’s application by his felony type. Several factors influence the approval or rejection of an application.

Factors For Rejection Or Approval Of The Application

  • The department however rejects a felon charged with vicious and violent crimes. Such felons are never allowed to get security jobs. Security guard jobs are associated with public places. Also, these positions involve intense responsibilities. Therefore, violent and serious criminals are not granted for such posts.
  • The US government however is quite strict in cases of sexual offenders. Sexual offenses are considered a cruel crime. Rapists and also child abusers cannot apply for guard cards.
  • Security guard jobs also require adequate attention and concentration. Felons involved in honesty-related crimes aren’t approved. Security guard jobs are matters of public security. This is the ministry can’t allow such criminals for guard jobs.
  • A felon can’t apply for a guard card before a certain span after his release. Felons sometimes apply for guard cards immediately after getting released. In such cases, the authority rejects those applications directly.
  • The department looks into an applicant’s rehabilitation efforts. The role of a security guard is very critical. Rehabilitation efforts are crucial in this case. An ex-felon with a clear reputation certificate gets priority. Such a person receives a rehabilitation certificate from the governing body quickly. A felon needs to review his official records before applying for a guard card. Such an individual also has to possess a clean official record to get the card.


Planning to get a guard card is quite common for a felon. A security guard job is considered as a redemption of his previous crime as well. That’s why most felons prefer choosing security guard jobs after imprisonment. A felon with a minor crime can get a guard card easily. In the case of serious crimes, the authority takes the final decision.

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About Eugene Casey

Eugene works in a busy employment agency in Chicago and has nearly 20 years of experience in finding clients the perfect job. His philosophy is simple, the right match for the right position is nearly always a win-win for both the employee and the company.

When he isn't working or writing for us, he enjoys cooking and exploring the United States, one state at a time.

He lives with his wife Lisa and their two German Shepherds, Wilber and Gus.

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