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What is a Proprietary Private Security Officer?


A private proprietary security officer is the title given to security personnel who meets certain requirements. People interested in this line of work should also understand the position can have multiple titles. Some of these interchangeable titles include:

  • Private proprietary security officer
  • Proprietary private security officers
  • PSO
  • PPSO
  • Security guard
  • Security officer
  • Bouncer
  • Private security person

Sometimes there is a distinction between the terms, but not always. For example, some people think of a bouncer as someone who stands outside a nightclub. However, if that bouncer falls under a particular set of criteria, he or she may well be a private proprietary security officer.

The requirements for a private proprietary security officer can have some variances from place to place. Generally speaking, a private proprietary security officer or PSO is someone who:

  • Works for a single employer
  • Provides security services for that employer
  • Does not contract work out to other employers at any time
  • Wears a uniform that identifies them as a security officer
  • Interacts with the public to perform security duties

Job duties and requirements are not the same for every employer who hires a PSO, nor are the requirements to obtain a proprietary private security officer license the same in all places. As there are many businesses and employers who hire private security for a variety of functions, there is a lot of steady employment involved with becoming a private proprietary security officer.

How to Become A Proprietary Private Security Officer?

When looking into how to become a proprietary private security officer, it is important to pay close attention to the local and state requirements. In most cases, the process involves attending proprietary private security officer training followed by obtaining a proprietary private security officer license.

In some places, a person can start working without a private proprietary security officer license as long as they go through a recognized proprietary private security officer training program within a given time frame to obtain it. Once again, these rules and requirements will vary from state to state and from employer to employer.

Applicants must always make sure they are looking at the right information. Some states have strict policies and governing bodies for people who want to work in the security field in any compacity. For example, California has the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services.

The BSIS lists the criteria and requirements for becoming a PSO in California. These requirements may not apply anywhere else. When choosing a PSO training program, applicants should always make sure it is sanctioned by whatever governing body regulates the security trade in their jurisdiction, if necessary.

How to Obtain a PSO Proprietary Private Security Officer License

The path to obtaining a private proprietary security officer license starts with a proprietary private security officer training program that is recognized by the jurisdiction the applicant wants to work as a PSO in. Some employers may have specific training courses they want a prospective PSO to take as well. Generally, when the employer requires additional training, they can still hire someone with the requirement the applicant fulfills those specific training duties shortly thereafter.

Proprietary private security officer training typically takes a set number of hours. During the course, the applicant will learn several security-related things such as:

  • Powers of arrest,
  • De-escalation
  • Liability
  • Terrorism awareness
  • Moral and ethical issues

and many other things. The training will also prepare the applicant on how to become a proprietary private security officer recognized by the locality and how to go about filling out a proprietary private security officer registration application.

Once an applicant obtains their PSO proprietary private security officer license, registration, or proprietary private security officer card, they may still have to meet criteria specific to certain employers. For example, some employers may want job applicants to pass certain types of background checks.

In some jurisdictions, a felony or even misdemeanor charge can prevent someone from either obtaining their proprietary private security officer card or a job from a specific employer. Applicants may also have to submit to drug and alcohol testing. A psychological evaluation may also become necessary for those seeking licensing or employment in the security field. An example of this comes with North Carolina’s licensing requirements, which states that applicants must be of good moral character.

This is an important aspect of the process to look into before pursuing work as a private proprietary security officer. The application for a proprietary private security officer may also list certain requirements, so applicants must pay close attention when filling them out. In most cases, the process to become a PSO is a straightforward one and worth considering.

Related: 

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10 Highest-Paying Unarmed Security Jobs

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Top 10 National Security Jobs

Top 10 Cities for Security Jobs

Top 10 States for Security Careers


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Securitydegreehub.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.