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Top Certifications to Consider if You're in the Security Field

Training and certifications are becoming more and more of a hot topic among security professionals and companies alike as the sector grows. Certifications are a great way to demonstrate your competence to potential employers. It's a way for professionals to promote themselves as experts in their fields by showing that they have the credentials to back up those claims. However, certifications are not all equal. We've compiled a list of the top security certifications to consider if you're in the security field in this article. Aside from helping you in your job search, earning these security certifications will raise your marketability in the workplace. 

Certified Lodging Security Officer (CLSO) 

In partnership with the US Department of Homeland Security, the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) developed the CLSO training curriculum. Program participants learned the most up-to-date techniques for ensuring the safety of guests and employees in this service-oriented sector. 

The Lodging Security Officer Program offers security guards and other personnel general procedures and advice, along with hospitality-specific information to ensure the safety of lodging businesses. Among the topics covered in the program are: 

  • The laws and obligations that apply to a lodging establishment
  • A security officer's authority and limitations under the law
  • Routine security tasks and procedures, such as documentation, patrols, and investigations
  • Preparedness and response to incidents and crises such as human trafficking, terrorism, hostage situations, and natural disasters

All candidates pursuing the CLSO must complete an examination of 60 multiple-choice questions in two hours. 

Physical Security Certification (PSC) 

Administered by the Center for Development of Security Excellence (CDSE), the PSC signifies that the holder has demonstrated a thorough knowledge of physical security concepts, principles, and procedures. This certification is suitable for the Department of Defense personnel, industry, and the federal government conducting physical security duties. Examinees must demonstrate a fundamental understanding of the following subject areas: 

  • Physical Security Concepts
  • Physical Security Standards
  • Standards, Countermeasures, and Planning
  • Physical Security Planning and Implementation

PSC assessments are independent of training, so you are not expected to accomplish any specific courses before completing the exam. Nevertheless, it may be advantageous to prepare for the exam by getting further education, training, or experience in the subject areas covered by the test. 


Certified Protection Officer (CPO) 

The CPO program is intended for protection and can also help security professionals sharpen their security skills under the International Foundation for Protection Officers (IFPO) guidance. 

Participants in this program are required to complete 80 hours of coursework, which covers both core principles and advanced security procedures. This extensive curriculum is among the most distinguishing characteristics of this program. Its 80 hours of instruction will cover more than 40 specialized topics, allowing you to gain a broad understanding of a wide range of subjects. For seasoned security professionals, the concepts taught may seem too basic, yet achieving this certification is well worth the time it takes to re-learn well-established procedures. 

Candidates must pass an extensive final test after completing the 80-hour training to receive the CPO certification. This in-depth exam stage encompasses all the subjects and concepts that have been covered throughout the training process. Employers see passing this exam as a sign of your current understanding of trends and the ability to demonstrate your competence, which are two of the most challenging qualities to measure. 

Associate Protection Professional (APP) 

The American Society created this certification program for Industrial Security (ASIS) International to serve as a stepping stone for aspiring security managers. This course is designed for security personnel with one to four years of experience. Obtaining the APP will demonstrate your mastery and expertise of the following areas: 

  • Security Fundamentals
  • Business Operations
  • Risk Management
  • Response Management

The APP exam comes with 100 multiple-choice questions with points. There may be an additional pre-test of 25 unscored questions included for a total of 125. The exam takes two hours to complete, including the pre-test questions. 

Certified Protection Professional (CPP) 

Also administered by ASIS International, the CPP is the benchmark for people who work with security. More than 12,000 security professionals worldwide have earned the CPP, making it a globally recognized gold standard of expertise for security management professionals. It demonstrates a person's expertise and management abilities in seven critical aspects of security, which include: 

  • Security Principles and Practices
  • Business Principles and Practices
  • Investigations
  • Personnel Security
  • Physical Security
  • Information Security
  • Crisis Management

For the CPP exam, there are 225 multiple-choice questions, of which 200 are scored, and 25 are pre-test (unscored). The review of pre-test questions is factored into the allotted time of four hours. 

The Bottomline 

The world of security has shifted dramatically during the past few years. As a result, companies today place a significant value on qualifications and certifications among security officers. Fortunately, there are plenty of certification programs available today for security guards. In this article, we've shared some of the ones you need to consider if you want to pursue and grow in this career. 



Robby Coles
Robby Coles
Robby Coles is a born and raised Nashville, TN resident. He has been a marketing content writer for the past 14 years and has recently joined the Thinkcurity team as a Content Marketer. He enjoys writing compelling content that drives engagement. Robby is a wine enthusiast and dog dad that splits his time between Nashville, TN and Vienna, Austria.

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