Security Guard Training Course Curriculum | Penn Foster
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Security Guard Curriculum Details

Penn Foster Career School’s online Security Guard program consists of eight courses to help you gain the knowledge and skills relevant for performing security service jobs in a variety of settings - including stores, office buildings, hotels, universities, casinos, stadiums, and more.

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal

To provide basic knowledge and skills and help students prepare for entry-level employment as an unarmed Security Guard.

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to...
  • Recognize the opportunities available in the private security industry, a historical perspective, and basic requirements for a security guard
  • Examine the characteristics of professional conduct and appearance for security guards and necessary interpersonal skills
  • Summarize laws and liability related to the roles and responsibilities of security guards
  • Examine the elements of a citizen arrest, a security guard's limitations with physical force, and best practices in dealing with crimes in progress
  • Explain the duties and security measures designed to deny unauthorized access and protect personnel and property within the scope of their duties
  • Describe procedures and best practices in crisis intervention and management for handling emergencies, various types of threats and evacuations
  • Describe the process required to investigate illegal or suspicious activities, accidents, and damages

This course will teach students how to recognize the opportunities available within the private security industry. Students will examine the history of the security industry and discover the career pathways and requirements.


  • Outline a plan for completing your program and the goals you want to achieve
  • Identify your preferred study aids and learning styles
  • Develop important study and time management skills
  • Use helpful resources, such as the Virtual Library and tutoring services
  • Identify historical events that added to the growth of the security industry
  • Identify the key players in the development of the security industry
  • Define the key purpose for the creation of the private security industry
  • Explain the basic requirement for security officers
  • Discover the career opportunities in the private security industry
  • Differentiate between proprietary and contract security sectors

This course will teach students to identify the appropriate aspects of a professional image and proper conduct necessary when entering the workforce. Students will discover the importance of professional communication and how it will assist in performing the duties of a security guard.


  • Identify appropriate forms of dress and hygiene
  • Identify appropriate standards of conduct
  • Explain the importance of attendance
  • Explain the importance of properly maintaining work areas
  • Explain the elements of professional communication
  • Examine traits and communication barriers of a security guard
  • Examine nonverbal communication
  • Identify best practices for telephone etiquette
  • Describe effective practices of written communication (including email)
  • Explain the concept of public relations and compliance for security guards
  • Explain the importance of positive relationships with emergency personnel
  • Describe procedures for dealing with a disruptive person

This course provides an overview of the components, structure, principles, and processes within the American criminal and civil justice systems. Students will learn the elements of a crime, the difference between civil and criminal law, the stages of criminal and civil procedures, and legal liability issues that can affect a security business or individual security officer.


  • Discuss the basic elements of a crime and why they must be satisfied to prove guilt
  • Explain the relationship between harm and causation and when these elements must be satisfied to prove guilt
  • Describe the types of punishment and their purposes in administering criminal justice
  • Differentiate between civil and criminal law, including the nature of offense as crime or tort, cause of action, and parties involved
  • Explain the difference in burden of proof between civil and criminal law
  • Discuss types of justice and their purpose in civil and criminal cases
  • Describe the steps that occur prior to a case entering the court system
  • Outline the stages of the pre-trial process for prosecutors
  • Describe the purpose of a trial, the roles of key players, the stages of a trial, and the reason for plea agreements, including probation
  • Summarize the sentencing and parole processes and the factors impacting lengths and types of sentences
  • Describe the nature of civil liability, its four categories, the specific types of liability in each, and the civil remedies available to victims
  • Discuss the elements for each of the eleven types of common torts
  • Explain the nature of criminal liability, the problems it creates for security officers, and the meaning of a self-help defense

Textbook: Private Security and the Law, 4th Edition, Elsevier

This course outlines the laws and procedures applicable to private security as compared to public law enforcement. Students will learn conditions and techniques for properly and legally responding to crimes in progress, securing crime locations, making arrests, and conducting search and seizure activities.


  • Explain how to best respond when someone is loitering, under the influence, or exhibiting disorderly conduct
  • Describe how to best respond to shoplifting, burglary, and robbery when in progress
  • Discuss procedures for responding to an assault or domestic violence in progress
  • Summarize how to respond to criminal and defiant trespassing when in progress
  • Explain steps to take to secure a crime location or area
  • Paraphrase the elements of an arrest
  • Explain the difference between arrest with a warrant and arrest without a warrant
  • Describe the concept of citizen arrest and the ways it differs from arrest by police
  • Discuss the significance of felony level crimes relative to arrest procedures for private security officers
  • Explain arrest procedures for breach of peace crimes
  • Summarize issues related to use of force, including how to determine and apply reasonable force
  • Explain the differences in search and seizure laws for public law enforcement and private security
  • Describe improper searches and the significance of consent to search
  • Summarize the difference between an inventory and a plain view search, including conditions and techniques for each
  • Explain the technique for conducting a protective pat-down, including the legal and circumstantial criteria

Textbook: Private Security and the Law, 4th Edition, Elsevier

This course explores tools and strategies to monitor and secure buildings and grounds. Topics include patrolling operations, methods and devices to prevent unauthorized entry, and effective use of surveillance, lighting, and detection technologies to enhance security.


  • Discuss the five purposes of patrol operations
  • Explain how and when to use foot patrol, vehicle patrol, bike patrol, and random patrols
  • Describe procedures for dealing with a protective area, including continuous observation, notification to command center and documenting physical changes
  • Summarize the equipment needed for patrol, including the different types of radios and phones
  • Describe methods of securing doors and windows, including locking, card, and advanced detection devices and systems
  • Explain surveillance options and the details to consider when selecting, siting, and aiming a security camera
  • Paraphrase common security issues in building design
  • Describe the types of barriers used to secure property and methods used to prevent breaches
  • Discuss types of lights, lighting equipment and systems, and where to place lighting to enhance security
  • Describe common detection equipment, including electronic article surveillance, metal detector, and X-ray machine

Textbook: Introduction to Security, Ninth Edition 9th Edition, Elsevier

This course explores the many ways to protect a company’s employees and material assets by controlling access and movement, and by preventing theft and fires. Students will learn techniques, equipment, and procedures to manage access to the building, restricted areas, and storage devices. This course also covers methods and equipment to impede theft, control crowds and traffic, and reduce the risk of fire and resulting damage.


  • Describe how to control access by analyzing traffic patterns and entryways, limiting movement, and using barriers and surveillance
  • Summarize systems, products, and practices to identify employees and visitors
  • Describe secure storage options, their features, best practices for use, and how to evaluate effectiveness
  • Compare various categories and types of alarms, how they work, and monitoring options
  • Explain types and signs of employee dishonesty and common places to look for theft
  • Describe pre-hiring and ongoing policies and procedures to control employee theft
  • Summarize procedures for controlling crowds during civil disturbances, labor disputes, and workplace violence incidents
  • Describe techniques for directing traffic, as well as suitable appearance, protective gear and communication equipment
  • Summarize the nature, stages, and classes of fire and leading causes of injury, death, and damage
  • Explain fire prevention strategies and how to identify safety violations related to heat sources, chemical storage, and trash build-up
  • Discuss the classification of extinguishers and how to inspect and maintain them
  • Contrast the different types of alarm and detection systems

Textbook: Introduction to Security, Ninth Edition 9th Edition, Elsevier

This course provides information on what to consider and how to best proceed when responding to medical emergencies, a variety of threats, and conducting an evacuation.


  • Summarize procedures for administering CPR and compressions, and for properly operating an automated external defibrillator (AED)
  • Explain the procedures to follow when locating, assessing, stabilizing, and transferring a victim of a medical emergency
  • Outline the steps to take in response to hazmat emergencies, such as chemical spills and blood or airborne pathogens
  • Discuss how identify a bomb, types of device, and hazardous materials within
  • State effective steps to take in response to telephone threats
  • Describe what to look for when encountering a suspicious package
  • Outline procedures for responding to the following disasters: flood, tornado, hurricane, and building collapse
  • Summarize best practices for safely and effectively responding to an active shooter
  • Explain reasons for evacuation and types of incidents that commonly lead to evacuation
  • Describe the procedure for conducting an evacuation, including which authorities to notify, potential hazards to avoid, and the best routes and exits to take
  • Explain how to effectively and safely assist visitors and employees when evacuating

This course provides an overview of investigations and evidence as they relate to private security work. The student will learn how to write an investigative report, conduct an interview, and collect and preserve evidence, as well as how to provide court testimony.


  • Describe the characteristics of the investigative process
  • Apply effective interviewing techniques, procedures, and evaluation
  • Compare the seven categories of evidence and four types of witnesses
  • Examine collection and preservation techniques at a crime scene
  • Create an investigative report that includes the elements and 5 Ws of a quality report
  • Apply the formal procedure for writing a report
  • Describe quality characteristics of a report
  • Analyze various types of activity reports and criminal documentation
  • Apply investigative methods and techniques used during a theft/property or an insurance case
  • Conduct a thorough background investigation
  • List the types of hearings and trials
  • Examine standard preparation, presentation, and courtroom procedures when giving testimony

Textbook: Private Security and the Investigative Process, 3rd Edition, CRC Press

Penn Foster Career School Accreditation & Licensing Details
Penn Foster has been accredited for over 50 years. Penn Foster Career School has been thoroughly reviewed and has earned several important accreditations, certifications, and licensing. Most importantly, Penn Foster Career School is both regionally and nationally accredited.

Penn Foster Sample Lesson

Sample Security Guard Lesson

Penn Foster courses are written in a way that is easy to understand, and materials are broken down into manageable lessons. Take a look at what a security guard course would look like.

Computer Specifications
As you know this is an online academic program. This means you will need high-speed internet access to begin your program. In addition, you will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows 7® or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running OS X® or later, and an email account to participate in and complete your program.
We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.
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