The Ultimate Security Guard SIA Licence & Training Guide

Oct 7 • Featured, Security Guard • 17836 Views • No Comments on The Ultimate Security Guard SIA Licence & Training Guide

If you want to become a security guard within the UK then you are in the right place. This article aims to be the ultimate guide to SIA licensing and training for those wanting to begin their careers as a security guard.

You may be aware that you will have to pass your SIA training and apply for your SIA licence before you can become a security guard.

By the end of the article you will have all the information you need to do this.


The SIA Licence for Security Guards

One of the first steps is to becoming a security guard is to  look into the requirements of the SIA security guard licence. Before going through the process of choosing a training provider and passing your security guard exams, it make sense to check that your current circumstances make you eligible for a licence.

For example, to be eligible for an SIA security guard licence you must be 18 years old or above and able to legally work in the U.K

You will also want to check that you have no prior criminal convictions that could prevent you from being eligible for a licence. The SIA do background checks on all security guard licence applications. For details of whether you would pass the SIA Criminality checks, Head here.

sia licence cardsThe security guard SIA licence is what is known as a front line licence. (A non front line licence has to be obtained for those working in a supervisory role, and will not necessarily be dealing so much with the general public.)

After you have successfully completed your security guard training, and have received your licence from the SIA, it will arrive as a small credit card sized plastic card. This must be visibly worn by all front line security personnel while they are at work.

How much will my SIA licence cost?

A front line 3-year SIA licence application for security guards will cost you £220.

The SIA licence cost is payable directly to the SIA, (your training provider are not involved with this process). The fee covers the cost of the application process.  SIA licence fees are non refundable so make sure you have all the correct documentation in place when making your application. (We explain the full process below).

How long will it take?

The SIA states that approximately 80% of correctly completed applications are processed within 25 working days.

If your application requires further criminality checks or foreign qualification enquiries, the application time may take longer than this.

SIA Licence Integration

In some circumstances where you may have trained for more than one security officer role, (security guard and door supervisor for instance) the SIA will allow for more than one licensable activity to be included under the same licence. To find out more on Licence integration Here.

The SIA ‘Get Licensed’ Booklet

The SIA publish a comprehensive, ‘Get Licensed’ booklet. This contains everything you will ever need to know about SIA licensing rules and regulations. Download it Here.


The SIA training for security guards, means you will need to attend and take three training modules and take and pass three exams.

The course may be delivered over four days or during weekends and/or evening sessions. The duration of the security guard training is universal amongst all training providers and should include 26 hours of class contact time.

Core Learning and Qualifications on the SIA Training course for Security Guards

Core Learning for Common Security Industry Knowledge (10 hours)

  • Session 1: Awareness of the Law in the Private Security Industry
  • Session 2: Health and Safety for the Private Security Operative
  • Session 3: Fire Safety Awareness
  • Session 4: Emergency Procedures
  • Session 5: The Private Security Industry
  • Session 6: Communication Skills and Customer Care

Security Guarding Specialist Module (8 hours)

  • Session 1: Introduction to the Roles and Responsibilities of Security Officers
  • Session 2: Patrolling
  • Session 3: Access and Egress Control
  • Session 4: Searching
  • Session 5: Technology and Systems in the Security Enviroment
  • Session 6: The Security Officer and The Law
  • Session 7: Communicating, Reporting and Record Keeping

Conflict Management Module (8 hours)

  • Session 1: Avoiding Conflict and Reducing Personal Risk
  • Session 2: Defusing Conflict
  • Session 3: Resolving and Learning from Conflict
  • Session 4: Application of Communication Skills and Conflict Management for Security Guarding and Close Protection

multiple-choice-test security guard exam


At the end of the course you will be expected to take 3 exams in order to apply for your SIA licence. The security guard examination is a Level 2 exam. (There is no level 1 or 3 examination). The three modules you will be tested on are as follows:

Working in the private security industry examination

Here you are tested via a multiple choice examination. The number of questions can vary depending on the awarding body being used by your training provider. You will normally have 45 minutes to finish this examination, with the pass mark being 75%.

Click the links below for an example of an SIA training exam paper for security guards:

Working in the Private Security Industry 1 – Practice Exam with Answers

Working in the Private Security Industry 2 – Practice Exam with Answers

Working as a security guard examination paper

As with all the exams they can vary ever so slightly depending on the training provider, and the awarding body they work under. However, generally you are expected to answer 30 to 40 multiple-choice questions within 1hr. You will have a choice of 4 options for each question. The pass mark for the security guard examination is 75%.

Click the link below for an example paper:

Security Guarding – Practice Exam with Answers

Conflict management examination paper

Again the method of testing is via the multiple choice question. The exam is will contain 20 to 25 questions that have to be answered within 45 minutes.



Here are the Hub’s top 10 practical tips that you can use when selecting your SIA training provider to become a security guard.

  • Does the course offer a free consultation so that you are able to discuss your training requirements? An established course will be happy to offer this, either over the phone or in person.
  • Does the training provider offer courses specifically designed for the different SIA disciplines? Try to gauge how comprehensive their services seem to be.
  • As a continuation of point 2, does the training provider offer courses at a range of levels. As you can see from our ‘which course do I need to take’ section. Security roles have a minimum standard you must acquire before you can apply for your licence. However, there is further training available for those advancing their careers. Does the course teach those too. (If yes, this shows a significant commitment to training across the board).
  • It is important that the course will award you with nationally and internationally recognised certifications. BTEC and City and Guilds are the ones you are after.
btec certified

Is your training provider BTEC certified?

  • How regular are the courses that they provide? It becomes academic if the training provider you have selected ticks all the boxes, except for the fact the course doesn’t run for another 3 months. An established training provider with a good reputation should have enough bookings to hold their courses a number of times a month. (depending on area/demand).
  • It make sense to choose a training provider located in your area. Therefore you can take a visit to the site and get a feel for the place. Does it feel like a professional learning environment, are the teaching areas modern or does it feel like a high school broom cupboard from the 50’s?
  • What is the background of the training staff? You want professionally qualified tutors that have worked in the industry. Real world experience counts for everything in the security world.
  • Evidence of endorsement from – or in association with – leading industry bodies, such as the SIA or BSIA.
SIA Approved

Always make sure your chosen training provider is SIA approved.

  • Has the training provider been listed and recommended on websites such as the SIA Licence Hub? And other such security officer communities? Check forums, what has been said about this particular training provider? A great provider will have the confidence to leave a feedback comments section on their website. Do some detective work, what are people saying about it?
  • Don’t make your decision based on price alone. Way up all the options and check your chosen training provider with some of the questions listed above. It is better to spend more and get a fantastic training experience that will put you in good stead for the career ahead, than it is to pay less, turn up and get nothing more than the minimum knowledge in order to pass the exams.

For a list of training providers in your area the best place to look is the SIA approved security training provider database.

security guard training Exams


If the thought of taking the exams makes you nervous, or you just feel completely out of practice and it is actually putting you off applying for the training in the first place, realize you are not alone, and in many ways it is not all bad news. With the right approach you will be able to get through your sia licence examinations with no problem at all.

Here’s how:

Pay Attention

It may seem obvious to say this, but all the knowledge you need to pass the exams will be provided during the contact hours. Paying attention during the training course is the first major step in ensuring you will pass your examinations.

This means you need to develop your listening skills and attention span. Hopefully, if you are on a good course with competent trainers this will come easy. The course and teaching methods should be conducted in a way that keeps you engaged. That being said, you still need to put the effort in yourself and maintain your concentration.

Write notes as the course progresses and commit yourself to answering questions or joining in with the group activities. The more involved you are the more you will learn and the more you will retain for the exam.

time_management during examsTime Management

For each of the training courses available there is a compulsory amount of contact time that you must complete before you are allowed to take the exams. This means that during the length of your SIA training course you must arrive on time for each of your modules.

More importantly, time management is crucial for the examinations. Depending on which exam you are taking, they can be between 30 minutes and 1 hour long. You need to spread your time evenly across all of the questions. Do not spend a large amount of time of one question and then find yourself short of time towards the end.

Remember the examiners are not setting out to trick you. There is more than enough time to read through all the options, (the exams are generally multiple-choice). Also, each question carries the same mark. If you find you do not know an answer, take a guess anyway. It us much better to answer a question than to leave it blank.

Embrace your SIA Training

For a lot of SIA training you will be working as part of a team. On some courses you will get to act out potential scenarios you might expect to encounter once working as a security officer. In all of this you will be expected to contribute, be friendly and willing to work with others.

If you are a naturally shy person, this doesn’t mean to say you have to become extroverted over-night. It just means that you must show a willingness to be involved. If you can cooperate with others you will find you will have a far better time on the course, and in your future security career.

Once you have your SIA licence and have landed that first job, you will generally find yourself working with others anyway.

revise for security guard examRevise what you have learned

Throughout the various training days you will receive course materials, handouts, links to websites for further information etc. (This all depends on how the course is presented by your training provider)

All the same, you should spend time each evening, going through what ever notes and materials you have to make sure it has all sunk in.

If you have spent the afternoon going through some practical exercises with your group ask if anyone wants to grab a coffee or a beer afterwards. This is a great way of getting to know those on your course, as well as an enjoyable way of discussing what’s been covered that day. You will find the information will stay in the mind if you take time to go over it outside of the classroom.

Obviously, in preparation for your exam you should always allocate time to go through all your materials so that you are fully prepared.

Have the right attitude

Having the right attitude will get you far in life. If you’re turning up to your SIA training late, having long lunches or disappearing for cigarette breaks, or simply turning up and not paying attention, you will not succeed.

Not only will you fail to learn what you need to, your attitude could be questioned by the trainers and you may not even be able to take the exam.

Working as a security officer is a position of responsibility. When employed in a role, you will be expected to show the correct level of professionalism at all times. You should demonstrate this professionalism during your training also. Put bluntly, if you are unable to take the training seriously, what chance do you have of taking a career in the field seriously.

As stated above, paying attention to what you are being taught, managing your time correctly and joining in wholeheartedly will go a long way to ensuring you gain all the knowledge you need to achieve a fantastic pass mark and go on to do very well as a security officer.

Learning can be fun and interesting if you approach it with the right attitude. And if you have learnt all the necessary information, any exam will be a breeze.

how to apply for sia licence


Once you have successfully passed your security guard training course, it will be time to apply for your SIA Licence.

The important factor here is to make sure you read the application form carefully. If you provide the correct information from the start, you should have no issues with getting your licence.

What documents do I need?

To apply for your security guard licence, the SIA requires that you send them identification and proof of address documents. To do this you can send either:

  • Two identity documents from group A. One of the documents must show your address and at least one must show your date of birth.


  • One identity document from group A and two documents from group B. Again the same as above applies, at least one document showing your address, the other your date of birth.

Click here to see what are valid Group A and B SIA Licence documents.

Any documents you send to the SIA will be returned to you by courier or post.

The following rules apply to any documents that are sent with your SIA Licence application:
  • You must send the SIA original documents – no photocopies please.
  • Documents must confirm your correct name, current address and date of birth.
  • No plastic holders, sleeves and wallets should be sent with the documents.
  • All documents must be in English, (or be translated from an approved translator)

You will also need a passport photograph of yourself. This should be 45mm x 35mm in size, and contain your front profile with your face filling most of image and against a plain background.

Post office sia licence application process

The new Post Office SIA licence application process step-by-step

The process of applying or renewing your SIA Licence was streamlined last year with the introduction of the option to carry out the procedure with you local post office.

The SIA believes that the new process will help prevent administrative errors and speed up the application time. It will also reduce the amount of rejected applications and the possibility of fraud.

The new application system will work in the following way:

  1. Those applying for a licence will do so by logging on to the SIA website and entering the full application details online.
  1. The SIA online system will instruct each applicant on the type of documents they need to supply.
  1. Your local Post Office will then have access to your online details. You visit the post office with all your supporting documentation, instead of sending valuable originals through the post.
  1. The Post Office will take your licence photograph and your signature.
  1. Licence fees will be collected by the post office there and then.
  1. The Post Office will send all your licence details to the SIA.
  1. Once your application is successful you will receive your licence through the post.

How to pay for your SIA Security Guard Licence

You can pay for your licence with any UK bank cheques, and payments from debit/credit cards registered in the UK. (Cheques from foreign bank accounts are not acceptable. Any credit cards that are billed or registered outside the UK will also fail.)

SIA Licence Cost – Handy Money Saver Information

  • You might be able to claim tax relief against your taxable income – For more info visit the HMRC website
  • If you are applying for more that one licence you can get 50% off the cost of your second licence. More info Here

Once your new security guard licence has arrived in the post, it is time to start searching for that first security guard job.


Here are a few links to our best articles on finding work in the security industry. After you have read all these head to the security guard jobs link to actually find the security guard job for you.

Corporate Security Guard Jobs – Is it Right for You?

Top Security Guard Interview Questions

Top 10 Tips to Finding Work in the Security Industry

Security Guard Jobs

If you have anything to add to our definitive guide – please leave your comments below.

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