When do You Need to Register as a PSO?

In California, you need to register as a PSO if all the following statements are true about you:

  • You work exclusively for one employer and are paid by that employer. Or you are paid directly by each employer you work for.
  • Your primary work duty is to provide security services to this employer or these employers.
  • Your security services aren’t contracted to any other company or person.
  • Your are required to wear a distinctive uniform that clearly identifies you as a security officer.
  • You interact with the public while performing your security duties.
  • You don’t carry a weapon while on duty.

Typical PSOs Jobs

Frequently, if you’re a bouncer, bodyguard, or provide security in the hospitality, entertainment and sports venues or health care industries, you may be a PSO or a security guard. No matter which category of security employee you fall into, you’ll need to take training classes, get background checked and register with the BSIS.

PSO Exceptions

Some exceptions to these requirements exist as described in the CA Business and Professions Code 7574.14. These exemptions include security employees working for most charitable organizations, attorneys, collection agencies, insurance brokers, banks, savings associations, motion picture studios and armored contract carriers. The exemptions also include most peace officers and security officers working for the government. If you think you may be exempt from registering as a PSO, please verify this exemption with your employer or the BSIS.

What does a Private Security Officer Card look Like?

The following is an example image of the PSO Card you must carry with you while on duty as a PSO.



To ensure registration is current and valid, call the BSIS License Verification Hotline at (916) 575-7000, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., or a license can also be verified at the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services website.

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