How Do I Start Working in the Security Industry?

posted on: 13th March 2019
SIA Licence

The Private Security Industry Act (2001) introduced mandatory licensing for those who work in the industry on behalf of security contractors. For those looking for security officer or security management roles, a frontline SIA licence is required. Depending on the type of role that you are seeking, the type of licence required will usually be Security Guarding, Door Supervision or Close Protection.

All of the information that you need in order to enter the industry is located on the Security Industry Authority (SIA) website here but we have produced a basic summary below.

Am I Eligible for an SIA Licence?

Before considering a career in the security industry, we recommend that you check the licensing criteria on the SIA website in order to confirm that you are eligible for an SIA Licence.

The basic criteria to obtain an SIA licence are as follows:

  • You must be at least 18 years of age.
  • You must pass criminality checks.
  • You must be eligible to work in the UK.

How Do I Get an SIA License?

The first step is to find a training provider who can deliver the required training course. You can use the internet to find a training company directly or alternatively use an agent such as Get Licensed who advertise all courses in a geographical area.

Once you have passed your training course, the next step is to apply for the licence using the online process laid out by the Security Industry Authority. You will need to create a personal account on the SIA website which will update you on the status of your licence application and any requests for further information. Once your application is submitted, you will be required to visit a Post Office in order to have an electronic photo taken and allow scans of your identity documents.

The fee is £220 for a three-year licence.  The timescale to attain a licence can vary on several factors, such as the complexity of your address history, but it is crucial to remember that the quality of information provided by the applicant is a critical factor in the process.

What are my Licence Obligations Going Forward?

The most important thing to remember as a frontline Security Officer is that you must display the licence where it can be seen at all times when engaging in designated licensable activity unless you have reported it lost or stolen, or it is in our possession. Failure to do so can result in several potential sanctions by the SIA.

You must report a lost, stolen or damaged licence immediately through your personal online account. A replacement will be issued by the SIA free of charge.

Finally, you will need to renew your licence every three years using your personal online portal on the SIA website. If you are employed by a company which is part of the SIA’s Approved Contractor Scheme, such as Oakpark Security, then it is likely they will coordinate the renewal of your licence.

What Can I Expect from Working in the Security Industry?

Please be aware that most security companies will conduct a stringent vetting process in accordance with BS:7858. You can certainly speed this process up by providing some important information at interview stage, including a five year work history and two personal references.

The Security Industry is a 24-hour world so it is likely – as a newly qualified Security Officer – that you will come across a large number of roles that revolve around working nights and weekends. Flexibility around working hours and travel is particularly important if applying for a Relief Officer role.

You will likely receive further training when deployed for the first time in order that you fully understand the requirements of each assignment. This will compliment the basic elements of security that you learned during the SIA training by providing specific guidance on the duties, tasks and emergency procedures that relate to the site on which you are based.


If you have any specific questions concerning a role in the security industry, please get in touch through or by calling 01206 793673 (Option 2). All of our current security vacancies across East Anglia and the South Coast can be found here. It is also worth checking out the Careers page of our parent company Vertas as they may have vacancies such as Property Custodians which require an SIA Licence.



Rob Clark
Operations Manager (South)