Frequently Asked Questions​
Last Updated on March 9, 2021

Frequently asked questions and answers about how to become a security guard in Alberta including wages, duties and responsibilities, renewal of license, out-of-province security guard licenses and criminal record checks.

How do I become a security guard in Alberta?

To become a security guard in Alberta, you must first enrol in a security guard training course. Alberta Basic Security Training (ABST) Course consists of seven (7) Modules delivered over a period of forty (40) hours.  Students must complete all modules and then a provincial exam at one of the province's Testing Locations (now also available online) with 80% or above to receive provincial certification and apply for a security license in Alberta.

What is a security guard’s salary in Alberta?

The starting wage for a security guard in Alberta is $15/hour. Your salary may vary depending on the company you work for, your level of experience and the type of position you are assigned to.

What are a security guard’s duties and responsibilities?

The responsibilities of a security guard are largely dependent on the organization they are working for.

However, there are some basic duties that must be carried out, regardless of where they work. Here are a few universal duties that all security guards must fulfill:

Observe and report

Security guards should constantly be observing the area in which they’re stationed. If they observe any suspicious behaviour they should take note, and report it to other security guards in the area.

This is especially important if a dangerous situation has just been resolved —guards should still be on the lookout to make sure no additional problems arise.

In addition, security guards should report all incidents to their supervisor, police, or other appropriate authorities.

Respond quickly and effectively

Situations can escalate quickly, and it’s a security guard’s responsibility to respond just as fast.

Acting fast to control an escalating issue can help solve it faster, so that things can return to normal as soon as possible.

Security guards should be properly trained and well-prepared to react and handle dangerous situations.

Protect

No matter where a security guard works, one of their main responsibilities is to provide security for those around them.

Being alert and identifying potentially dangerous situations is a part of protecting the public, but they must also know how to address situations that have already escalated.

Their job is provide a sense of security, and should be able to do so by protecting themselves and others.

Get help

Security guards are licensed, but are only trained to handle a certain degree of danger.

For example, while they are well versed in emergency first aid and CPR, they should be call for professional medical help when necessary.

Their job is to assist until help arrives, but must also remember that it’s a part of their job to get help when it’s required.

Do I need to renew my security guard licence?

Yes. Your licence will expire two birthday after the date it was issued if you do not renew it.

Detailed step-by-step instructions available here.

Why is it important to have a security guard(s)?

It’s important to have security guards to monitor a premises to prevent theft and property destruction, and to keep an eye on potentially dangerous situations and diffuse them before they escalate.

Are security guard jobs dangerous?

Security guard jobs don’t come without risk. However, the amount of danger that you will encounter is largely dependent on where you work and how you conduct yourself.

For example, you’ll likely encounter more danger or volatile individuals working at a bar or nightclub than if you were working security at a condominium or commercial building.

Can a security guard detain someone for trespassing?

Security guards have the right to detain someone that has committed a crime. They are allowed to make a citizen’s arrest, and turn the detained party over to the police is necessary.

What’s the difference between a security guard and a private investigator?

A security guard is meant to be visible, and provide a sense of security to those around him.

Guards are trained to address dangerous situations, and have full knowledge of first aid and CPR. A Security Guard is trained to observe and report and enforce private property rules.

Private investigators on the other hand, are typically employed to investigate the actions or whereabouts of individuals. They can follow individuals and gather information at the direction of their client.

Unlike security guards, investigators do not provide private property protection.

What type of jobs can I do with a security guard licence?

A security guard licence allows you to work in a job where you mainly protect persons or private property.

This includes working as a:

Airport Security
Mall Security
Personal and Executive Protection 
Night Club or Bar “bouncer”
Loss Prevention Security 
Concierge 
Special Event Security
Mobile Patrol
Security Guard Companies
K9 Patrol
Hospital Security

*some additional training may be required for some of the positions mentioned above

Who is responsible for getting my licence – me or my employer?

Security guards are responsible for getting a licence and for renewing it before it expires

What identification documents do I need to submit with my application?

When you apply, you’ll need to provide photocopies of your:

Canadian photo ID
approved training course certificate
40-hour baton use-of-force training certificate (if applicable)

You’ll also need to provide a current:

police information and criminal record check
passport-size colour photo signed on the back by the police service

How often do I need a criminal record check?

A criminal record check will be done when you apply for a new licence and every time you renew your licence.

I already have a security guard or private investigator licence from outside of Alberta. Do I need an Alberta licence to work in Alberta?

Yes.

An Alberta licence is required in order to work as a security guard and/or private investigator in Alberta.

If you hold a valid security guard licence or private investigator licence from another province or territory and if that licence was issued to you after successful completion of training and/or testing you may be exempt from training and testing in Alberta.

Please contact customer service at the Ministry of Justice to determine if this applies to you.

How can I renew an expired licence?

If you did not renew your licence prior to the expiry date and you plan to work as a security guard or private investigator, you must restore your licence.

The process of renewing is the same as applying for your first licence.

If you have completed basic training and passed the test, you are not required to do so again.

Who can ask to see my licence?

If you are a security guard, anyone can ask to see your licence.

You must show the front of your licence, which includes your licence number, name and photo. You are not required to hand over your licence to a member of the public or show the back of your licence.

In order to allow for undercover work, licensed private investigators do not have to identify themselves as private investigators.

However, if an individual presents him or herself as a private investigator, he or she must show a licence upon request.

How do I change my Ontario security license to Alberta?

The current Ontario mandatory training program and provincial exam are now accepted as an equivalency in Alberta. 

Applicants must attach the following to the application package:
 
Training certificate from approved Ontario training program
Proof of grades from Ontario provincial exam (if this not available they will accept a copy – front and back – of a current Ontario licence)

How long does it take to get my Alberta security license?

The average time to process an application is about six to eight weeks, but this may vary depending on
the volume of applications being processed at any given time.

All inquiries regarding your application should be directed to the Security Programs department

Is my Alberta security license valid in BC?

The sort answer is no. You MUST have a BC license to work as a security guard in British Columbia.

But you can change your Alberta security guard license for one issued by the BC government.

The BC Security Programs Division has determined the following provincial training as equivalent:

Alberta
Saskatchewan
Manitoba
Ontario

A clear copy of a valid licence from these provinces is required with your application.