Frequently Asked Questions about PSOs
What is a PSO License, and who needs one?
If you work in a security capacity for any company that is not Private Patrol Operator (PPO or Security Company), you are now required
to either have a Guard Card or a PSO License. With a Guard Card, you can work for any PPO or any non-PPO company in a security capacity. With
a PSO license, you can work for a single non-PPO company. Any non-PPO company that hires guards in California is considered a Proprietary Private Security
Employer (PSE), and they are required to have a BSIS PSE license. When you work for a specific night club, entertainment company, hotel, store, sports team, or any other business in a security capacity, you can get a PSO license that allows you to work as a proprietary private security officer for that specific company.
IMPORTANT: If you have a Guard Card, you don't need a PSO license, you can work for any PSE employer with just the Guard Card. Many employers seem to be sending people with guard cards to get PSO licenses when they don't need it.
Does a PSO have to work for a PSE? YES, anyone hiring a PSO in the state of CA needs a PSO license. Make sure that your employer has their required PSE license, otherwise they are not even authorized by the BSIS to hire you. Many employers don't know that, as there are far
fewer PSE licenses in the state of CA than there are places that hire security guards. Any employer in CA that hires someone as a security guard needs a PSE license. And, a PSE license is easy and inexpensive to obtain. See PSE Information for details.
How do I get a PSO
Submit a PSO Application to
the BSIS, along with a check or money order for $50, and a PSO
Live Scan form signed by the Live Scan operator.
PSO Live Scan Form
What are the training requirements
for a registered PSO?
All PSOs must
complete a 16-hour course within the first six months of
receiving the PSO registration, or within six months of the
date of hire by the PSO employer. The training consists of
2-hours of Powers to Arrest, 2-hours of Weapons of Mass
Destruction and Terrorism Awareness, and 12-hours of
security related courses as outlined in the syllabus.
See the Training Syllabus BSIS web
site. This is the
exact training program offered by the
16-Hour PSO training course package.
How long does the PSO application process take?
Average processing time is approximately 30 days. Issuance
of the PSO registration is dependent on several factors
including the completion of the criminal history check by
the Department of Justice and the FBI.
How can I check the status
of my application?
You can contact the
BSIS at (800) 952-5210 or (916)
At what point am I required to obtain a PSO
With some exceptions,
when you are working exclusively for one employer, your
primary duty is to provide security services for his or
her employer, your services are not contracted to any
other entity or person, and you meet both of the
following criteria: (a) You are required to wear a
distinctive uniform clearly identifying you as a
security officer, and (b) you are likely to interact
with the public while performing your duties. For
exceptions to these requirements, see
Business and Professions Code section 7574.
Can I work on a temporary registration?
No, you must have a valid PSO registration in your
possession before going on duty.
If I have a conviction, can
I still apply for a PSO
Yes, applicants with criminal histories will be considered
and registration decisions are rendered on a case-by-case
If I have a CA State Guard Card, do I need a PSO registration?
No, if you have a CA State
Guard Card, you can work for any PSE or Private Patrol
Can a PSO carry a firearm or baton?
No, under no circumstances can a PSO carry a deadly
How do I know that all this information offered by
this website is legitimate?
You can see all the exact same information on the BSIS
BSIS PSO Fact Sheet.