How to Become a Private Security Contractor

by Jared Lewis; Updated September 26, 2017
US soldier

Private security contractors are private military contractors who provide security or defense services in times of war and peace. Some of these contractors must bid for contracts with the government to gain employment, while others contract their services out to companies or important individuals. The Department of Defense requires security companies submitting bids to disclose financial information and gain security clearances through extensive background checks. Escalating global conflict or a continued U.S. military presence in various parts of the world will likely necessitate further employment of private security contractors by the U.S. government.

Step 1

Complete your education. You only need to obtain a high school diploma or GED to enter the military, but a college education will be helpful. College graduates automatically have an inside track to becoming a military officer. As an officer, you can obtain additional training and benefits that are not provided to enlisted personnel. It does not necessarily matter what academic major you pursue, but a degree in an area like public safety, police science, criminal justice or even military history is a good choice.

Step 2

Gain experience by serving in the military, as a police officer or as part of a government law-enforcement agency like the FBI or the CIA. Any experience you can gain that involves security protection services, law enforcement or military combat will help you when starting your own private security company and training employees. Whether your experience is military or otherwise, you need to know the basics of gun control and use, self-defense and security service.

Step 3

Establish your private security business. You will need to determine whether you will be providing military security services or domestic private security services. You can work alone or with a group of other security professionals. If you have the capital to do so, hire other security professionals to work for you.

Step 4

Submit bids to the Department of Defense for military security work. The department will occasionally contract with private security contractors. If you decide to go this route, be prepared to disclose all of your financial and background information — for your company, yourself and your employees. The Department of Defense will want to know exactly who it is entering into a contract with. You will also need to gain security clearances as determined by the nature of your contract. There are three main levels of security clearance: confidential, secret and top secret. This also involves extensive background checks by the Department of Defense that can take several months to complete.

About the Author

Jared Lewis is a professor of history, philosophy and the humanities. He has taught various courses in these fields since 2001. A former licensed financial adviser, he now works as a writer and has published numerous articles on education and business. He holds a bachelor's degree in history, a master's degree in theology and has completed doctoral work in American history.

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