It used to be that almost anybody could get a job as a security guard, but things are now different in New Jersey.

The Security Officer Registration Act, which took effect in 2007, mandates a three-step process for anyone interested in working in security in the Garden State.

“It requires the individual to register online with the State police, obtain a two-day training course and get their fingerprints digitally scanned for their background check,” said Patrick Amaral, president of NJ Guard Training Academy, a nonprofit security guard training school with corporate offices in South Plainfield.

He says everyone who wants to work as a security officer in New Jersey is now required to go through a standard program.

“They cover everything from use of force, security officer ethics, all the way up to New Jersey’s critical infrastructure regarding terrorism,” said Amaral.

He noted once your registration, training and background check is complete, you can then get a job as a security officer. But if you want to work as an armed security officer, you must fill out additional paperwork through your employer.

“That goes through your local municipality, and depending on your municipality and where you live, it could take several months,” he said

Amaral pointed out it’s very difficult to get a license to carry a firearm in the Garden State, and sometimes it’s even tough to keep the license if you get it.

“We’ve actually heard of individuals losing their job because county judges were refusing to renew their carry permits,” he said. “New Jersey has very overbearing gun laws.”

He stressed while the process for a security officer to get a license to carry a firearm is long and difficult, it serves a purpose.

“Any time you’re dealing with a firearm and you’re dealing with the general public. Training is critical,” he said.

He also pointed out many police officers work as armed security officers after they retire because they already have law enforcement training and they’re also able to get a license to carry a firearm

Amaral said the requirements for security officer training can sometimes be a bit confusing, but “any time you deal with the unknown or something new people tend to get a little nervous. Overall I think it’s a good step in the right direction.”

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