1. What Is The Entire Licensing Process?
If you’re brand new to the security industry (in Texas), the first class you will have to take would be the Level-2 Non-Commissioned class. After you complete that course, you’ll be given a certificate of completion (not a license) from the school. You will take that certificate of completion to your current or future employer whereas they will help you through the DPS online licensing process T.O.P.S. ( Texas Online Private Security). Although you do NOT need to be employed with any company to take any class you DO have to be affiliated with a security guard company in order for DPS to approve your license (no, you cannot work on your own outside of a company- it is illegal). Part of the process after taking the class will be to provide fingerprints and submit to a background check through DPS ( all steps will be discussed in our class).
If approved, DPS will mail your license/pocket card back to your home. This process usually takes about 30 days, however, DPS will allow you to work security unarmed as a Non-Commissioned officer right away while your paperwork is processing. You are NOT allowed to work as a Commissioned officer or Bodyguard until you have your licenses back from DPS and in your pocket. There are many guard companies telling their guards that is is “Ok to work as an Armed guard or a Bodyguard as long as the TOPS site shows you as active”– this is NOT true as DPS requires that you have pocket card on you while on duty (exception is ONLY to the Non-Commission while processing only).
Additional requirements that most guard companies are in violation of:
As stated prior The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) will allow you to work security as a Non-Commissioned officer (unarmed) without a license but only while it is processing. The security companies hear that part but do not follow the rest of it which is:
(A) The new officer must be registered on the DPS security T.O.P.S. site (which can be done 24/7 online)
(B) The new officer OR the company must pay the state fees for the application (which can be done 24/7 online)
(C) Per DPS-RSD regulations a new officer MUST be fingerprinted before placing on a post (regardless if you can’t get an appointment for a few days or not).
(D) Per DPS-RSD regulations after items A-C are done, a guard company is NOT supposed to place a guard on a post for 48 hours after giving prints. This gives DPS and the guard company time to see if any “Red Flags” pop up with the applicant. This is not optional, each company must follow that.
Items A-D are only for first time officers that have not been licensed in Texas as a security officer. If the officer has an active pocket card, then skip those steps and place them on post that day (after of course some company level screening).
2. What Is The Entire Recertification Process?
Many of our customers who have attended classes elsewhere or work for different security providers have come to our courses with an overwhelming amount of questions, guidelines, and policies regarding recertification requirements – some of which are inaccurate or conflicting which each other.
TCTA wanted to provide quick and clear guidance as to the official process according to D.P.S.
- To renew any license with DPS you must go online using the DPS T.O.P.S website, renew you license(s), and pay the fee no less than 30 days prior to the expiration date listed on your license.
- If you do not renew your licenses on time you will have to pay a late fee to DPS and you cannot work security on expired licenses.
- If you allow your licenses to sit expired for over 12 calendar months, DPS will NOT allow you to submit a renewal, as they will then require you to resubmit an “original application”.
- A Level 2 Noncommissioned license currently requires no Continuing Education course at all. This means you only have to renew online and pay the fees.
- A Level 3 Commission license requires that you attend no less than six hours of Continuing Education which includes classroom, a written exam, and range qualification – all of which must be done by a licensed training academy and by a licensed Instructor. You then go online to the DPS -T.O.P.S site submit your renewal application, pay the fees and upload a copy of your requalification certificate- then wait for the new pocket card to come in the mail to your home.
- A Level 4 PPO Bodyguard license Much like the Commission licenses requires a renewal and recertification course (usually done when you renew your Commision). Your Level 3 Commission license works hand-in-hand with your Level 4 Bodyguard license and expires on the same day. After your recertification course you then go online to the DPS -T.O.P.S site submit your renewal application, pay the fees and upload a copy of your requalification certificate- then wait for the new pocket card to come in the mail to your home.
Okay, now let’s talk about the certificates of completion that are issued from a Training Academy and how long they are good for. There are a few security agencies and training schools putting out wrong information and also refusing to accept certificates that are rightfully valid, as such, we wanted to clear up the misunderstanding.
- Your Level 3 Commission course certificate of completion is only good for 90 days after dated. This is due to the fact that DPS wants to ensure that prior to processing your Commission license that you have been to the range and qualified in front of a licensed Instructor within the last 90 days.
- Your Level 4 PPO Bodyguard course certificate of completion, just like the Commission certificate, must be processed with DPS within 90 days of completion of your course or it is not valid.
- There is a huge miscommunication or misunderstanding by local security companies and other security training schools as far as the Level 2 Non-commissioned certificate of completion. There is no 90-day window of expiration on the Level 2 Non-commissioned certificate of completion. The 90-day window is a firearms proficiency time requirement which does NOT apply to the Level 2 Non-commissioned course or license, as there is no firearms training or qualification within that course. That policy only applies to the Level-3 Commission and Level-4 Bodyguard licensing requirements. When you apply for a Level 2 Non-commissioned license, DPS only asks for proof that you have attended the Non-commissioned course but does not require or state a time frame or window when that course occurred. Right now we have security agencies turning away applicants and refusing to process their Non-commissioned license because their course certificate of completion is over 90 days old and are 100% wrong in doing so. To clarify, we are not talking about an expired license here, only a course certificate of completion.
Just like there is a difference in security guard companies, the same applies with Training Academies and Instructors – Come experience the difference at TCTA!
3. What Can I Carry As A Security Officer In Texas?
A common question we are all asked here at TC TA is “What exactly can you carry as a security officer in the state of Texas?”
As a Level 2 Non-commissioned Security Officer you’re allowed to carry the following:
- Pepper Spray (if certified)- lots of wrong information being out about OC- ask us we will set you straight.
- Conductive Energy Weapon (license not required but training is highly recommend)
- Stun guns
As a Level 3 Commissioned Security Officer you are allowed to carry the following:
- Everything that a Non-commissioned security officer can carry plus:
- Baton if certified (must take a baton class and be a Commissioned officer)
- Handgun if certified
- Shotgun if certified
As a Level 4 Personal Protection Officer you’re allowed to carry the following:
- Everything that a Non-commissioned and Commission officer can carry plus:
- You are able to work in plain clothes
- You are able to conceal your weapons
A few special notes:
- You CANNOT use a Concealed Handgun License (LTC/CHL) in conjunction with any security work whatsoever.
- You are required to take a pepper spray class in order to carry pepper spray as a security officer.
- In order to carry a baton, you must be a commissioned officer and have completed a baton course..
4. Conductive Energy Weapon Requirements?
We can all thank Taser International Inc. years ago for establishing a strong presence while establishing Conductive Energy Weapons as an acceptable Use Of Force option or tool within the law enforcement and security industries; as such, courts and thousands of Use Of Force cases have come to accept the use of Conductive Energy Weapons as a normal, “less-than-lethal” device. Taser International broke through barriers and spent millions of dollars in research and legal fees, setting this industry and other knock-off brands up for success by fighting the battles and laying the foundation for everyone to enjoy the benefits… countless rounds of applause should go out to Taser International and their founders.
That being said, the Alcohol Tobacco & Firearms agency (ATF), has officially declared Conductive Energy Weapons like Taser and Phazzer brands to be non-firearms and non-deadly weapons, which means they do not need to be registered and you do not need a license to carry these items per ATF (Federal Government) – they fall within the same guidelines as a stun gun. Any private citizen and of course security guards can carry a Conductive Energy Weapon (concealed or exposed), at any time; check with your state but Texas has zero restrictions. This means Non-commissioned, Commissioned, and Bodyguards can carry these items with no questions asked in the state of Texas.
Conductive Energy Weapon manufacturers such as Taser or Phazzer both highly recommend that you take their training class, however, it is not required by the State or Federal Government and both Taser and Phazzer will openly sell those particular products to anyone (civilian or law enforcement) without taking their class. That being said, we at TCTA highly recommend that you seek all available training for anything that you will be carrying while on duty or using, as it all boils down to your “Use of Force” and what type of training you’ve received? Even if you take a generic Conductive Energy Weapon training class (which we offer), you and your company will want some level of certification which will provide you a level of liability protection. As stated prior, you can buy these items directly from the manufacturer or even used and found on Craigslist but you want some type of training under your belt to protect yourself and your company from a lawsuit.
5. What Is Required In Order To Carry A Baton?
Batons are all classified as deadly weapons in the state of Texas and are a felony to possess. Specific statement from the Texas Penal Code: “You are a commissioned security officer licensed with DPS-RSD and you possess proof that you have also attended baton training.” Batons include: PR 24, Straight Sticks, Expandable, etc.
This means in the state of Texas, to carry a baton as a security officer, you must be a Level-3 Commissioned Officer and also possess a baton card. A question that always comes up is “Why can’t unarmed security officers carry a baton?” The issue is the Texas Penal Code specifically states “Commissioned Officer,” not Non-Commissioned Officer, which means the way that they wrote the code does not allow you any room to play semantics or word games as it states “Commission.” With that said, since you must possess an active Commission license to also be a Bodyguard; DPS does acknowledge that they work in conjunction with each other – you should have no problem carrying a baton as a PPO Level-4 Bodyguard, also noting concealed or exposed is not addressed in the code.
Our opinion at TC TA is that we feel the state and DPS-RSD should make a change in the rules and codes to allow Non-commissioned Officers to carry a baton. Most security companies don’t want armed guards, however their guards need some level of protection other than OC and a flashlight and wish to carry a baton. If a Non-commissioned Officer has already had Use of Force training as a part of the Level-2 class and they take a baton class, we feel they should be allowed to carry a baton, as it is not a firearm. This is something that Security Associations, their Leadership and the DPS-RSD Board should be addressing in our opinion, as the attacks on security guards increase.
6. What Is Required In Order To Carry Pepper Spray?
Pepper Spray /Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) can be carried by any private citizen in the state of Texas at any time, however the state of Texas recently passed a House Bill which requires that anyone performing any type of security-related work (Non-commissioned, Commission, Bodyguard, Bounty Hunter, etc.), must take a Pepper Spray class and be able to provide such proof to law enforcement on request. As many point out, security officers are “private citizens” and private citizens are already allowed to carry pepper spray, but the House Bill overrides that and specifically states “security” – so security officers must take the class. To add, there currently are no restrictions as to the heat of the OC (SHU) or the concentration or percentage level, to include the size of container that can be carried by security officers in the state of Texas.
A question that often comes up from students is “what about the use of pepper ball rounds?”
At TCTA, we always practice and stress the importance of safety first! If you’re using Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) Pepper Balls, regardless if they are loaded up in a shotgun, paintball gun, or some conductive energy weapon, if it is “OC” then it would apply the new House Bill and you should take the OC class, as it is the same chemical compound with the same effects. You will not want to “war-game” or play semantics with Texas laws.
At TCTA, we want to point out that you should always try to take some type of class or certification for anything that you’re going to carry or use on duty, as it will become a liability issue if you use something that you haven’t received training for and you know that training exists. We provide pepper spray training which does not require that you be sprayed or exposed to pepper spray in order to be certified. You will receive a wall certificate and a pocket card to present to law enforcement upon request.
7. Are You Able To Travel To Our Location?
Yes, Texas Certified Training Academy (TCTA), is one of very few if not possibly the only security training academy in this state that provides private classes and onsite training at your location – time and date specified by you. We have traveled to Alpine, Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Abilene, Killeen, to name a few, and continue to do so upon request from security providers who want their officers trained at their site or office.
Being able to offer mobile classes and private sessions on demand for our clients is one of the reasons why TCTA is chosen and stands out among the rest. Most security training academies simply don’t have the manpower, logistics, equipment, training aids, time, or ability to train customers at their site – this is one of our strong points.
If you require training onsite or at your location, or need a private class, feel free to contact us at any time and will be able to get you taken care of. There are additional charges for us traveling to your location; the price will increase for conducting private sessions, but it is well worth it. Many have found it’s more cost and time effective to have us come to you than to have you send your entire guard force to us. We do offer group rates, just ask.
8. How Much Are Private Classes?
Private classes are always going to be at an increased rate. All of our posted prices are factored at multi-student/multi-attendee rates, whereas the class as a group shares the cost of putting a class on and making it logistically work for TCTA and our staff.
There is a certain cost that it takes to logistically run a class and make a profit which includes Instructor rates, classroom use, logistical and material costs, then the school has to make a profit; this is the reason why TCTA has a minimum student count before we can move forward with any class even normally scheduled (which is usually 4-5 students in most cases).
When you request or require a private class, you basically are funding the full logistical requirements on your own. While some assume there should be a discount if there’s only one student sitting in the class, in fact it’s quite the opposite, as the Instructors, the business, and logistics all still need to be paid but instead of the cost being spread out over several students, you will be paying that cost (in most cases), alone.
TCTA can conduct a private class for a group and provide that group with a group discount, but we would need to know the type of class that you’re needing, how many are attending, and then we factor what type of logistics, time, and staff is needed to run that class. Our general rates for a private class start at $150.00 – $200.00 per day; again, we factor discounts, size of group, type of class, and make adjustments as needed. *Special note: We will not train a group of 30 people (as an example) for $150.00- $200.00 either , as the classroom materials and staff increases at that point to run the class correctly. Let us know what you need and we will be able work out the best deal possible for you and/or your company.
9. How Often Do You Post Or Update Your Schedule?
At TCTA, we generally post our schedule (that is open to the public) no more than 30-45 days out. We understand there are several security training academies that will post classes six months to one year out in advance, however, we have also noticed that most of those schools that post that far out often postpone or cancel their classes when that date grows near. We display dates that are actually going to take place (rain or shine, big or small); we commit to those dates and to our customers. Posting something 6 months or a year out is a “shot in the dark” in this industry.
TCTA must leave certain time slots open for existing clients that we service on a monthly basis; the rest of the month, we open it up for the general public. Often, our clients don’t let us know until 30-45 days out, which again is a reason why we don’t provide a schedule further than that.
On a special note, if there is a class that you don’t see on the schedule you can always request a private session and we can make that happen for you. You don’t have to keep waiting months and months for a certain class to pop up; simply request a private session and we can get it done for you.
10. How Long Are Your Course Certificates Good For?
The Level-2, Non-commissioned course certificate has no expiration date. When you process your paperwork with DPS, in order to receive your Non-commissioned license, all DPS needs to see is proof that you “attended and passed” a Non-commissioned course at some point; they do not specify a date or a time window.
The Level-3 Commission course certificate has a 90-day window after being signed by the school to process your application with the state. DPS will reject your certificate of training if they are over 90 days old. The 90-day window is a firearm proficiency timeframe which shows DPS that you have been to the shooting range and qualified within the last 90 days with a licensed Instructor at a licensed training academy. *This does not apply to the Level-2 Non-commissioned course certificate, as firearms proficiency is not a part of that course. Some training academies and security agencies seem to get this part of the courses and certificates mistaken constantly and often reject an applicant’s Non-commissioned course because it’s over 90 days old; again, that is wrong.
The Level-4 PPO Bodyguard course certificate also has a 90-day window after completion just like the Commission course certificate – again, due to the required firearms proficiency that DPS must see.
TCTA provides its own course certificates and pocket cards for: Baton, Pepper Spray, Handcuffs, and Conductive Energy Weapon – all through a third-party training program. Those certificates and pocket cards (Baton, Pepper Spray, Handcuffs, and Conductive Energy Weapon) are good for two years after completion and they are nationally recognized. You do not need to submit any paperwork to DPS for those.
11. Are Your Certificates Good At Every Security Company?
As a state licensed security training academy using templates established by DPS, our course certificates of completion are to be accepted by every security agency licensed in the state of Texas in regards to the Non-commissioned, Commission, and Bodyguard courses. DPS licenses and empowers TCTA to teach the course and hand those certificates of completion out to the students on behalf of DPS.
There have been a couple of reports from our students over the last six years in business that when they presented our certificates to their security agency to process their state licenses, the security agencies in question seem to come up with false reasons why they should not accept them and at the same time it just so happens those security agencies also ran a training academy or are partnered up with one – coincidence?… We didn’t think so either.
If a security agency does not wish to accept our state-approved training certificates because they are upset that you went to the competition instead of them, or creates false reasons why those certificates are no good in order to have you sign up and pay for their classes (or a school they recommend), then they have crossed ethical boundaries. If they are making you believe that our certificates are no good yet encourage you to sign up and pay for their class when you don’t need it, they are then walking the line of committing fraud by deception and that company needs to be reported at once.
A couple of training academies/security agencies ( “T.G.”) that attempted to pull this on our prior students have since been reported to DPS and seem to no longer pull that scam. We encourage any prior student to contact us immediately if our course certificates of completion are not being accepted by a security provider or met with any resistance or questions. We will 100% investigate the matter and assist you in filing a complaint with DPS-RSD right away.
Warning: Security agencies and training academies that are doing this, you might want to be careful; you never know who the next person is you try to pull this on, or who they know, and you are doing this in clear violation of ethical and legal guidelines- don’t be a hater because they did not go to your school, help them and take care of your new employees and applicants instead of trying to take advantage of them or providing them with the wrong information.
12. Concealed Handgun License With Any Security Work?
The Department of Public Safety- Regulatory Services Division which oversees the concealed handgun license program (now LTC) and the private security division has established set guidelines that security officers (Non-commissioned, Commission, Bodyguard) CANNOT use their concealed handgun license (LTC) in conjunction with any security work. It goes without saying that a citizen with a concealed handgun license (LTC) obviously cannot do any type of security or bodyguard work without being properly licensed as a Security Officer or Bodyguard.
Special note: DPS- RSD in 2015 or 2016 authorize Private Investigators to be able to use their concealed handgun license (LTC) in conjunction with their work. So Security officers and Bodyguards can’t but P.I.s can? Yep. The issues here from all sides are:
(a) there is NO official DPS Private Investigator’s course (which is a separate issue in itself), so the P.I.s turn to DPS and ask for some type of flexibility to the rules because they are not Commissioned security officers and don’t need to take that class or carry that card but want the protection. Now that argument is a great one and one we agree DPS should have a P.I. class which provides for a weapon qualification (which they don’t).
(b) The issue we have with P.I.’s using a LTC for P.I. work is that many of them are circumventing being an armed guard security company and paying for the proper armed insurance, and are performing in many cases Bodyguard work (they call it escorting or shadowing, lol), without the Level-4 Personal Protection Officer licenses. For some reason, they feel they can provide Executive Protection or bodyguard services as a P.I. (keeping in mind there is no P.I., course so many are not trained at all).
(c) Many P.I.s also perform Bounty Hunting and make arrests, kick doors in, and chasing felons – which clearly exceeds the intention or use of a concealed handgun license (LTC) for John Q Citizen. Several guard company owners are upset this is allowed by Private Investigators as they feel Private Investigators are skirting the requirements when clearly performing the duties that should require some type of license, training, and insurance other than a 4 hour LTC class (which has nothing do with laws of arrest, reporting, and many other related topics). To add, DPS-RSD has no Private Investigator’s course, so DPS either waives your stated experience (note, “your stated”), OR you have “anyone” (yes, anyone) sign off on your 3,000 hours which is unverified by DPS. This “honor system” should not be taking place when it comes to weapons training, and issuing of Private Investigators license and is a disturbing process.
13. Do I Need A License If I’m A Police Officer?
This requires a detailed answer, as many have been misinformed, uninformed, or simply don’t like what the law says and do it anyway, so let’s run through this :
First, let’s address the obvious that yes, you are police officer 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with the ability to carry your police ID and your firearm with state backing and your department’s authorization. With that said, all customers and businesses should be aware that many police departments have policies in place that prohibit their officers from working non-departmental approved security details. Many departments also have policies against their officers or representatives from having anything to do with a private security agency.
Currently, if you are a Full-Time, Active, Peace Officer, in a sworn position, not on administrative or disciplinary leave OR retired, then you do not need to take any security guard classes nor hold any security licenses. With that said, we at TCTA think that if you are dressing up or wearing a security uniform that may open up another door where licenses and classes may be required in our opinion under 1702 OCC. *Special attention to the fact that volunteer officers, reserve officers, retired officers, or anyone that does not qualify under 1701 of the Texas Penal Code as being a current and active peace officer, and anyone not a full-time peace officer must take the security classes and hold the security licenses if working off-duty “security details” (outside of their department). Please note: Just because you are a police officer does not make every security detail a “police detail”- so a word of caution with semantics and the law. Last point here- If you only graduated from the police academy but are not in a sworn, and current, peace officer position, you are not a peace officer (sorry), and would need to take the classes and get licensed. Many graduate from the police academy and have not been hired on yet with a department and keep telling everyone they are a “Certified Peace Officer”- no you are not if not on a Department, and in a Sworn position.
Now, Can You Work Security As An Off-Duty Police Officer?
The short answer is: Yes. Ideally, if it is an off-duty security detail than that officer’s department or agency should approve (and most require a heads-up). Some even require a contract with the department and the business to provide this service. As stated prior many departments have policies and restrictions in place that prevent their officers from working “non-department approved”- off-duty security details.
How Do You Know If It Is Okay As A Business Owner Or Client To Hire A Police Officer?
Call the department, speak with the Watch Commander or any representative there, and they will inform you. Ask prior to hiring that off-duty officer, if that department will cover your business insurance wise (most will not -so if your business is targeted in a lawsuit you will not be protected by the police officer’s department)- another reason to employ a security agency that is fully insured to protect their client as well.
What if you are not a “Full-Time” peace officer but you are classifying your security detail as a “Police Detail?”
Okay, that means your client has a contract with the City/County/State and your department correct? – If not, then you have a problem. If you are not a full-time peace officer and this is not a department provided detail – you cannot just classify yourself and your detail as a “police detail” and exempt yourself from the requirements of being licensed- remember only full-time police officers are exempt from obtaining security licenses when working off-duty security details.
An area where there is a bigger concern especially to the private security industry and citizens is when we have off-duty peace officers running their own “Unlicensed security, Security Consulting or Bodyguard agencies” because they carry a badge. Just to be clear, off-duty police officers can work security as described above but they need to be working for a licensed security guard company or a department sanctioned detail, or a business with Letter of Authority from DPS to run a security department –one of the three.
Although full-time peace officers can work as a security officer or bodyguard without licenses, one thing many are confused on, and often lines are crossed with the fact that you CANNOT run an actual Security Guard company, Security Consulting business, or Bodyguard agency without being licensed and insured as a company as per Texas law; it is a Class – A Misdemeanor arrestable offence to do so. Keep in mind working “off duty security” for a licensed company and not be required to have pocket cards is completely different than running an entire off-duty unlicensed guard company whereas you have your own client(s), you are being paid directly from the client as their employee or 10-99 (subcontractor)- then you have taken the issue from “pocket cards” into now running an illegal company (two different things).
What’s The Definition Of Running A Security Company?
A: You have one client and you are providing a service for money, (you are being paid not your department) or there is a barter, free rent, or some type of compensation, to includes, donating your time or volunteering at a church – you are still providing a service in a “service or company” capacity. If you wish to claim that you’re an employee of the location, then you still need a Letter of Authority from DPS to run a security department of the business. Sorry, there’s no way around it legally. Our question which should be your client’s question is “Who is providing the required insurance coverage to your client if your police department is not?”
It does not take a website, a business card, or written contract to define your activities as running an unlicensed business. As stated prior, if you have one client that is paying you to perform a service, you’re running a business (if done outside of a contracted police department detail) – get a business license or contract out with a company that has one. A police badge is not meant to allow full-blown private companies (or covert companies) to be formed and operate without state required licensing and insurance. There is a big difference between working as a security officer and running an entire unlicensed company.
Let’s make sure that while we are enforcing the law on a daily basis as peace officers, that we are also obeying the law at night when working a non-departmental security detail for private clients and not running an unlicensed company or operating as such. Any questions or clarification on this topic, feel free to contact us at any time and we will point you in the right direction.
As we tell others when they violate the law: “Just pay the fee, get the proper license and insurance.”
14. Do I Have To Work For A Company Once Licensed?
The short answer to this question would be: Yes.
In the state of Texas, you cannot work as a freelancer, as it is a Class-A misdemeanor which is an arrestable offence to do so.
You must be working for either a licensed security agency or you can work for a private business that has what they call a “Private Business Letter of Authority” from DPS to run their own in-house security department. You cannot take your security guard pocket cards and go around and start soliciting services on your own.
At TCTA, we go through the entire licensing process and cover all the do’s and don’ts in all of our classes. We will leave no questions unanswered at the end of our courses. Please check our schedule and feel free to sign up online at any time – we will get you going in the right direction!
15. Will My Military Or Police Experience Waive Any Courses?
On a case-by-case basis, DPS-RSD has waived some required experience or time for licensing as a Private Investigator, Qualified Manager, Instructor, and Security Consultant. It is highly unlikely that DPS-RSD will waive any requirements for basic security guard licensing such as Non-commissioned, Commission, Bodyguard courses due to the fact that DPS wants you to know the laws here in Texas as it pertains to the private security industry, as such, you will be required to take those classes although you can always write them and request a waiver.
We will tell you from experience that you will have completed all the required basic courses before you ever receive any written response from DPS, (sorry DPS but true); so you might as well take the classes and knock them out which can be done in a week with TCTA.
16. Will My Out-Of-State Licenses Work Here In The State Of Texas?
Out-of-state security licenses as far as Unarmed Guard, Armed Guard, and Bodyguard will not carry over to the state of Texas. The state of Texas, (although they appreciate your experience and background), want you to learn the specific laws and regulations in this state as it pertains to the private security industry.
Things that do carry over in the state of Texas would be your Concealed Handgun License (LTC) depending on the state and our agreement with them. Baton training, Handcuff training, Pepper Spray training, Conductive Energy Weapon (Taser) training, etc.; as long as you have the certificates and pocket cards, you can pass those on to your new employer here in Texas.
Will I Receive Credit For Classes That I Completed In The Police Academy Or Military?
Many of us got Pepper spray training, Baton training, or Handcuff training while in the military, or the police department. The problem is, if you did not receive a wall certificate or pocket card to show your new employer, then you will have to retrain to get those certificates and pocket cards again – Sorry…
Training is fun to go through again anyway :-)
17. I Only Want My Bodyguard License, Do I Need A Level-3 Also?
Yes, in order to receive your Level-4 PPO Bodyguard license from DPS, they will want to see proof that you have completed the Level-3 Commission security class, to include, have an active Commission card on file – then submit to an MMPI (psychological evaluation).
“I already had a mental evaluation done years ago”
Okay great, you will need that Doctor to sign the DPS form; if not, you will have to take another MMPI -cheers!
18. I Only Want My Commission License, Do I Need A Level -2 Also?
Yes, in order to receive your Level-3 Commission license from DPS, they will want to see proof that you have completed the Level-2 Non-Commission security class as well.
“I already took the Level-2 years ago but lost it.”
You will have to take it again – Cheers!
19. Are There Any Online Classes Authorized By DPS-RSD?
As far as the Lv-3 Commission or the Lv-4 Personal Protection (Bodyguard course)- absolutely not. As far as the Lv2 Non-Commission class- great question.
The Commission and Bodyguard course MUST be given by a DPS licensed training academy and given by a DPS licensed instructor. DPS has made some changes to the Lv2 Non-Commission class over the years and almost (in our opinion created liabilities). They had their own online process prior to 2010, then they removed it and created a classroom course and test. A few years later they required that class be six hours, a few years after that they reversed themselves and took away (1) The time requirement (2) removed that it does not need to be given by a training academy (3) removed that it does not need to be given by an instructor (4) removed the words “must be given in a classroom enviorment” (now some ran with this and said “hey lets do an online class” and we are unsure if that was the intention of the changes.
We all know an online class is a shortcut, and many are lazy and don’t want to sit through a few hours of a complete class we get it. But here are the problems with an online Non-Commision class: (A) how does that school know who is taking the test and not someone else? (B) how do you know the student is not cheating on the test? (C) how do you ask the instructor for help? (D) How are these school Instructors and Managers signing they “trained you” when they never met you or verified who you are? You might not even be in this state taking the exam. Can you imagine how stupid a school will look if they email out certificates of training to terrorists (who take their class online), or any person who provides a fake name, or a name of a famous dead person then publicized it- that school will look like idiots in the media. I can see it now someone posts a certificate they got online from ABC security training with the name “Osama Bin Laden” or “Abraham Lincoln”- and it will show how unsafe, unreliable, and untrustworthy those sites are. As an employer we recommend never taking a certificate for an online security class, that says something about your employee (lazy and will take shortcuts), to include still untrained.
Do it right and take a proper class especially in this industry your life and liability is on the line.
20. Is There A Level 1 Class?
No, there is no such thing as a Level-1 license or course. This is part of an old numbering system that DPS has never addressed or adjusted since. The Level-1 was when DPS used to require everybody that worked at a security agency be licensed even if they were non-security personnel, such as a receptionist or dispatcher, etc.; the term was “Employee of Licensee,” and is no longer required of non-security personnel that works for a security guard company.
As a part of the online Level-2 Non-commissioned class that used to take place prior to 2010, it was split into two parts: Level-I and Level-2 (we never understood the thought behind it either). As of now, there is the Level-2 Non-commissioned, the Level-3 Commissioned, and the Level-4 Bodyguard.
TCTA provides all classes: Level-2 through Level-4 including Handcuffs, Baton, Pepper Spray, & Conductive Energy Weapon.
21. Can I Take Classes In Any Order?
Yes, you can always take any class in any order that you wish to fit your scheduling or budget needs, however, DPS will only process certain licenses in a certain order.
*In order to get your Bodyguard license you need to have your Commission license. In order to get your Commission license you need to have your Non-commissioned course complete.
Pepper Spray, Handcuffs, Conductive Energy Weapons along with First Aid can be taken right away, as you can use and carry those items immediately as a Non-Commission Officer. As far as Baton and firearm, you must wait until you have your Commission license before you carry those.
22. How Does Your Free Lifetime Recertification Program Work?
If you take our Level-3 Commission class or our Level-3 Commission recertification, then your next time back at TCTA is free. All returning students of TCTA receive free recertifications or requalifications for the life of the company. All the student has to pay for is ammo and their range fee – instruction, class, and certificate will be free.
If you take TCTA’s Handcuffing, Baton, Pepper Spray, or Conductive Energy Weapon class, your recertification will also be free when you return in two years. You will be required to buy the training ammo you shoot for your Conductive Energy Weapon, but nothing for the class.
Returning students are required to bring in their prior certificate or receipt as proof; if they are unable to do so, on a case-by-case basis we may elect to charge again, so make sure you hold onto your certificate that was issued by TCTA and we will get you all taking care of at no charge upon your return.
23. What Is Your Entire Enrollment Process?
Our enrollment process is very simple although for some reason some students seem to make it harder than need be.
We always joke around here that people will book an airline ticket online and pay $500.00 (no questions asked), and without needing to speak to anyone – but when it comes to signing up for a $55.00 security class online, a panic and uncertainty sets in with the buyer… and we can’t figure that it out.
The first thing you do is to read our website (including course page and FAQ); find out which class you need or want, then check the schedule. *If you don’t see the class that you want posted, request a private session – either way, fill out a contact form and press submit and that will begin the process with us.
One of our staff members will respond back to you in 24 hours (but usually a lot less time). We will send you an online invoice for the class you signed up for requesting payment online. Once you pay the invoice, we will send a second email acknowledging your payment and providing classroom guidelines, safety procedures and directions. Everything you need will be contained in that second email; it will only arrive once the invoice is paid – don’t worry, there is no secret stuff going on, as all classes are straight-forward and fully explained on the site. Once you get that second email, the only thing you have to do is show up. It’s a very simple process: 1. Sign up 2. Payment 3. Information pass down 4. Show up and train.
As you may have already found, we have an outstanding website full of information, to include a very detailed FAQ page and several videos to watch all of which provide a wealth of information. All of the questions and topics on the FAQ page and our videos all came from prior students – chances are, your remaining questions will be answered by checking them out.
We will make sure you get through the process safely, and all taken care of :)