Do I need a Guard Card? I work for a retail company!


Do I need a Guard Card? I am employed as a Private Retail LP Agents hired by a retail company?


The State of California’s Bureau of Security & Investigative Services has two types of licences where it comes to the security and loss prevention industry, the guard card and proprietary security officer license. In order to understand the requirements, we must first define the job. Anybody engaged in the capacity of “Observing & Reporting” as a minimum in addition to what one would expect a security guard to do is a security guard. In order to answer if a “Private Retail LP Agent” is employed in a security capacity, you would have to examine their job description. Generally speaking, if they are tasked with observing and reporting theft and fraud as well as making apprehensions and arrests (both of which are covered in the guard card and proprietary security officer license training), then you would certainly define them as security.
1) Guard Cards – Guard cards are required by anybody working the capacity of security guard. The in order to work armed, with a baton, or pepper spray, the individual guard must also posses the respective “Firearms” “Pepper Spray/Tear Gas” and “Baton” permits. Security guards may work directly for an employer (W2) or for a Private Patrol Operator (security company).
2) Proprietary Security Officer – Several years ago, the State of California realized that a subset of security working for direct employers were not obtaining guard cards due to the training requirements. That is when the state implemented the Proprietary Security Officer and Proprietary Security Officer Employer licenses.

A proprietary private security officer is defined generally as an unarmed individual, (1) who is employed exclusively by a single employer, (2) whose primary duty is to provide security services for that employer, (3) whose services are not contracted to any other entity or person, and (4) who meets both of the following criteria:

  1. He or she is required to wear a distinctive uniform clearly identifying the individual as a security officer, and
  2. He or she is likely to interact with the public while performing his or her duties.
To fully answer your question, if the retail LP agents are uniformed and working for a Proprietary Security Officer Employer, then a Proprietary Security Office license would satisfy the BSIS requirement. If the retail LP agents are not uniformed, then technically they are supposed to hold a valid guard card.
You can obtain your guard card online here at!