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  • Writer's pictureAscalon Protection Group

How To Become A Bodyguard/Close Protection Operative?

Professional Bodyguards, Executive Protection Agents, and Close Protection Operatives are all essentially the same job role, just with different titles. A career in Close Protection is often a well-respected and esteemed career for people with the right set of attributes, and has also been made more desirable by several Hollywood films and TV series depicting illustrious Bodyguard characters. But how does one start out working in Close Protection?

As a minimum, all Bodyguards operating in a professional capacity must possess the appropriate qualifications, which will vary slightly depending on the country. For example in the UK, all Close Protection Operatives will have completed a Level 3 Close Protection Course regulated by the SIA (Security Industry Authority). For almost all personnel this will usually be supplemented by a higher-level First Aid qualification, such as FPOS-I, FREC3 etc. This will vary slightly for Operatives based in other countries, but will be similar. For example in the USA it is largely dependant on state, however most individuals at a minimum will be required to undergo a security guard course (upto 40 hours), often supplemented by further training in firearms and first aid. Operatives must also obtain the required permits such as Concealed-Carry (CCW).

The minimum ages for obtaining a Close Protection license are 18-21 years old (depending on country), however it is rare to see successful, full-time Close Protection Operatives under the age of 30. This is usually due to desired experience levels, and required etiquette and assurance when dealing with UHNW clientele. There are many companies all over the world who offer Close Protection training courses, and although all should be standardised and regulated by the various authorities, there are certainly some that are better than others. For recommendations of reputable training companies, please feel free to reach out to us.

For Operatives wishing to work in hostile Close Protection environments, they must also demonstrate competency or experience on various weapons systems. This is often why most hostile CP operations are carried out by ex-Military personnel, as they not only have the experience on weapons systems, but have often also operated in similar environments previously.

When it comes to the question of, “Do I need to be ex-Military or Police?”, the short answer, no. To obtain a Close Protection license it is not a pre-requisite to have a background in the Armed Forces or Government Services, and there are several successful individuals in the industry who can attest to this. However, many high-end Private Security Companies will not employ Bodyguards who do not come from these backgrounds.

After gaining a Close Protection license, it is important to connect with as many people as possible, and build up a professional network. Whilst there are sometimes positions advertised through Whatsapp, Facebook groups, Job Boards etc, most of the high-quality tasks are filled through networks or referrals, and connecting with other individuals and companies in the same space gives new professionals the best possible chance of picking up work. Some of the more reputable training companies will also have large network of personnel and potential taskings, which can also be a real asset to their newly-qualified Operatives.

When it comes to presenting a CV, ensure it is professionally written, free of any spelling or grammatical errors, and includes all relevant experience, whether that be Military, Police or within the Security industry. If struggling to find relevant experience, instead focus on highlighting personality traits, attributes and skillsets which lend themselves to being an asset to a Close Protection team.

Although landing a permanent position from the outset may be better for financial stability, working on an adhoc/freelance basis particularly when starting out is certainly the more rewarding option from a professional perspective. Operatives who have been exposed to multiple short-term tasks working for different clients, in different locations with different sized teams will often be more well-rounded individuals, and will potentially have had the chance for more professional development than those who have worked on one long-term task over the same period.

The key to a successful career in Close Protection is patience, persistence and professionalism. Rewarding opportunities are there, however as with many other industries, newly qualified or inexperienced Operatives should not expect to land on the most prestigious positions straight away. More often than not, the best way to grow in the private security world is to work hard, focus on gaining experience whilst demonstrating proficiency at all times (to both clients and colleagues), and to constantly nurture and grow a professional network.

A competent, professional and personable Close Protection Operative who follows all of these points, should have no problem becoming an established and successful Bodyguard in the industry.



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