The security industry is growing at a higher than average rate in many communities around the globe. With the increase in security concerns, there has been an increase in demand for qualified security installers. Currently, there are over 76,400 security installers working in the US. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and O-Net Online, jobs for security and fire alarm installers are expected to grow at a much faster rate than the average for all jobs at 11-33% in the period 2018-2028.
To protect consumers, many states regulate the industry with licensing rules. There is no national licensing standard. Every state has different laws and requirements for licensing. And there are some states that have no licensing requirements at all. Licensing requirements are typically established at the state (or jurisdictional) level through the work of licensing boards. The goal of the licensing requirements is to decrease liabilities with poorly installed alarm systems.
Some argue that licensing and CEU requirements are not equitable from smaller to the larger security firms. Approximately 80% of security firms employ 1 to 9 employees but 70% of the employees of security firms are employed by companies with 100+ employees. Regardless of the company’s size, the licensing requirements for firms are the same. Another consideration that impacts licensing is outsourcing. Alarm installation and repair is outsourced 69.4% of the time and alarm monitoring services are outsourced 68.9% of the time. It is the responsibility of the security firm, outsourcing jobs or not, to make sure that all employees who need a license do, in fact, have a license.
Forty-four (44) states and the District of Columbia require a license to work as a security alarm installer. On average, these requirements mean aspiring installers will:
• Need 535 days of training
• Spend $213 in licensing fees
• Be required to take at least one exam
License requirements for security installers vary widely across states. For example, Delaware only requires the installer to register, whereas Vermont has the most burdensome requirements at more than five years of time given to experience, $250 in fees and one exam. In 17 locations, alarm installers must have a year or more of experience while 14 states do not require any education or experience at all. Licenses are valid for between one and three years. In terms of security managers, most of the most populous states have experience requirements. Seven states require an exam to become a manager. Only eight of the most populous states have a minimum age requirement to be a security manager ranging from 18 to 25.
Just as important as the licensing process is the compliance management side of things. Having a system that tracks, automates and provides metrics on the license holders and the company can be the difference between staying legal and not. Recently PSA Security Network saw the critically important need here and made a Compliance Management system available to all member companies. The Certification Tracker, powered by Obsequio, developed by The CMOOR Group, provides a mechanism by which companies can keep certifications and licenses up to date. This easy to use system is less cumbersome and far less expensive than other similar systems.
Most states with licensing requirements have established continuing education unit (CEU) requirements to renew licenses. Of the 45 locations with a license requirement, 36 have a CEU requirement as well. The CEU criteria are as varied as the licensing criteria. In some jurisdictions the installer may need to take six hours of CEU training within two years and in other jurisdictions it may jump to a 36-hour requirement within 3 years.
An excellent way to maintain licenses through CEUs is through PSAEducation.com’s partner – SecurityCEU.com. The site boasts over 190 hours of online training approved for CEUs at the national and state level. And probably the best thing about the site, besides the quality of the training, is the Library Model that gives students access to ALL the courses in the core catalog for 12 months for one LOW price. If you would like to learn more about the Certification Tracker or SecurityCEU.com courses, please visit PSAEducation.com.
Since founding her own eLearning company, Connie Moorhead has helped to define the role of online learning in the security, fire and life safety industry. Moorhead’s company, The CMOOR Group, developed some of the industry’s first true eLearning programs, allowing manufacturers of security products to speed up launch dates and increase product instruction to dealers and distributors; bringing new online course offerings and streams of revenue to organizations like The Monitoring Association (TMA), Comcast, Johnson Controls, Siemens, DMP, and many more. CMOOR has created its own training portal, SecurityCEU.com, where students can earn necessary continuing education credits inexpensively and conveniently online. The site hosts over 190 hours of online industry content and new courses are added regularly in specific security, fire and life safety topics. It was at Connie’s leadership that SecurityCEU.com began to offer training that was approved for CEUs at both the national and state level for license compliance as well as offer a solution for tracking and auditing license renewals – Obsequio, our Compliance Manager.
When Connie is not running her business she is serving on one of the many industry groups or volunteer committees for which she participates. Connie is an active member of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), the Learning Guild, and the National Association of Women Business Owners. Connie was also a monthly contributing editorial writer to Security Dealer Magazine from 2006-2009 and continues to write as a guest editor for several key industry publications.