Texas Marshal Protection
Agency

“Excellence, Honesty, Integrity”

Texas Marshal Protection Agency, LLC BBB Business Review
Texas Marshal Protection Agency Badge

Training & Education

Private Security Training & Education

Author: James Watson, Owner/President
Texas Marshal Protection Agency, LLC

Whether you’re new to the Private Security & Investigations industry, or you’re a seasoned officer or investigator, you can never have enough training. Even when you think you know it all, the latest training courses offered by reputable sources arm you with the knowledge to succeed in the performance of your duties. There are online training courses, and in-person courses; free and paid.

Wherever you ultimately choose to obtain your training, something you should always keep in mind is whether this training will be recognized by the Texas Department of Public Safety to satisfy your continuing education requirements (more on that below). So, let’s dig into what the law says about training and continuing education!

Security and Personal Protection Officer Initial Training Requirements #

Believe it or not, you can’t just get the initial training wherever you want. Per Texas Administrative Code §35.141:

The Level II training course shall be completed by all applicants for a security officer commission or for a license as a noncommissioned security officer. The course material shall be prepared or approved by the department. A certificate indicating completion of Level II training shall be submitted to the department with the required application. Level II training may be taught by the licensee’s designee, or a department approved school and department approved instructor using the most current version of the respective department Level II training course manuals.

The Level III training course shall be completed by all applicants for a security officer commission and a personal protection officer license. The course material shall be prepared by and obtained from the department. A certificate indicating completion of Level III training shall be submitted to the department along with the application to license the individual. Level III training must be taught by a department approved school and a department approved instructor.

The Level IV training course shall be completed by all applicants for a personal protection officer license. The course material shall consist of a minimum of fifteen (15) classroom hours and shall be offered by department approved personal protection officer training schools and taught by department approved personal protection training instructors. All training shall be conducted with a department approved instructor present during all instruction. All students of a personal protection officer training course shall be tested with an examination prepared by and obtained from the department.

Peace Officer Exemption

Applicants for either a security officer commission or a personal protection officer license who are full-time peace officers, certified by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE), may be exempted from the Level III training requirements upon submission to the department of a sworn affidavit attesting to the applicant’s review of and familiarity with the Act and the related administrative rules.

Applicants for either a security officer commission or a personal protection officer license who have honorably retired as Texas peace officers within the preceding two (2) years may be exempted from the Level II and III training requirements upon submission to the department of proof of their honorably retired status (in the form of documentation from the employing agency or TCOLE), and of a sworn affidavit attesting to the applicant’s review of and familiarity with the Act and this chapter. For purposes of the above exemption, “honorably retired” means that the applicant:
(A) Did not retire in lieu of a disciplinary action;
(B) Was eligible to retire from the law enforcement agency or was ineligible to retire only as a result of an injury received in the course of the applicant’s employment with the agency; and
(C) Is entitled to receive a pension or annuity for service as a law enforcement officer or is not entitled to receive a pension or annuity only because the law enforcement agency that employed the applicant does not offer a pension or annuity to its employees.

Inactive Licensees

An inactive or expired licensee who has not been employed in the investigation or security services industry in the past three (3) years or more must submit current training certificate(s) to the department.

Continuing Education Requirements #

Per Texas Administrative Code §35.161:

An application to renew an individual license may not be submitted until the required minimum hours of department approved continuing education credits have been earned in accordance with the Act and this chapter. Proof of the required continuing education must be maintained by the employer and contained in the employee’s personnel file. All individual licensees shall indicate they have completed the required minimum hours of department approved continuing education credits on their application for renewal.

Owners, partners, and shareholders who hold individual licenses as owners only, shall complete a total of eight (8) hours of continuing education, including seven (7) hours in the subject matter that relates to the type of regulated service provided by their company, and one (1) hour of ethics. Noncommissioned security officers, and all individuals not required to obtain a commission or license under the Act are specifically exempted from the continuing education requirements.

All individual license holders not otherwise addressed in this section shall complete a total of eight (8) hours of continuing education, seven (7) hours of which must be in subject matter that relates to the type of individual license held, and one (1) hour of which must cover ethics.

Private investigators with more than fifteen (15) years of continued licensure as a private investigator shall complete a total of twelve (12) hours of continuing education, eight (8) hours of which must relate to investigations, two (2) hours of which must cover ethics, and two (2) hours of which must involve the review of the Act and the rules of this chapter.

Private investigators with less than fifteen (15) years of continued licensure as a private investigator shall complete a total of eighteen (18) hours of continuing education, fourteen (14) of which must relate to investigations, two (2) hours of which must cover ethics, and two (2) hours of which must involve the review of the Act and the rules of this chapter.

Any individual licensed as a private investigator who fails to complete the required continuing education during the twenty-four (24) months of initial licensure is not eligible to make a new or renewal application until such time as the training requirement for the previous licensure period has been satisfied.

Commissioned security officers and personal protection officers shall complete six (6) hours of continuing education by completing the renewal portions of the Level III or IV training course, as applicable. All continuing education for commissioned security officers and personal protection officers must be taught by department approved training schools and instructors. Commissioned security officers shall submit a firearms proficiency certificate along with the renewal application.

Attendees of continuing education courses shall maintain certificates of completion furnished by the school director in their files for a period of two (2) years. Attendees shall furnish the department with copies of all certificates of completion upon request.

Continuing education courses are only valid if completed within the two year period preceding the license’s current expiration date.

Continuing Education Schools #

Per Texas Administrative Code §35.162:

Except as otherwise provided by this subchapter, all continuing education credits must be earned through department approved continuing education schools.

Licensed companies with ten (10) or more licensed employees may make a written request for a letter of exemption allowing them to provide continuing education to those employees registered under the requesting company’s license…The exemption provided in this subsection does not apply to commissioned security officers or personal protection officers.

The department may recognize as valid those continuing education credits that relate to the regulated services for which the individual is licensed and are earned through courses offered by:
(1) a local, state, or federal agency;
(2) an institution of higher education;
(3) a local, state, or national non-profit professional or trade association; or
(4) a continuing education school or program recognized by, or licensed with, another state’s private security licensing agency.
Credits claimed under this subsection may not be used to satisfy the continuing education requirements for commissioned security officers or personal protection officers.

Where to Find Training #

When searching for a “department approved continuing education school” as described above, it’s great to start with a school search in TOPS (Texas Online Private Security), which is operated by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

  • Step 1 – Click here!
  • Step 2 – Select Training from the options on the screen.
  • Step 3 – You will be presented with some options.
    • If you need your initial training, select Level 3 Training School.
    • If you need continuing education, select Security Continuing Education and/or Private Investigation Continuing Education as applicable.
  • Step 4 – Once you’ve narrowed down the type of training you need, you can further narrow down the results by inputting your city or zipcode.
  • Step 5 – Lastly, there should be a box to check so that they can verify you’re not a robot; go ahead and verify you’re a human! Once that’s done, hit that Search button!

You will now be able to see the options you have available to you based on your area! At this time, DPS does not list the phone numbers or websites for these training providers, but a simple Google search should find that information very quickly. Do some research on your options…not all training is equal!

Some Recommendations #

As noted above, not all training is equal. In my experience, I’ve attended training courses where the instructor gave the bare minimum information, and on top of that, gave the answers to the test before they were to be graded…absolutely the most unprofessional and disappointing experience I’ve seen in my years of being in this industry.

I’ve also attended training courses where the instructor provided a ton more information than is required by the State (feels good when you actually get your money’s worth), and literally failed those students that did not pass the examination phase…they were provided an opportunity to repeat the class free of charge, but nonetheless, there were no free passes. It’s important to find out as much as you can about the training you will receive before choosing where you will obtain your training.

Taking the above information into account, I’d like to offer some great choices. Please note, not all of the providers below are currently licensed with the Texas Department of Public Safety to provide initial training and/or continuing education…look for DPS Licensing below the name of the organization for details.

In-Person Training #

I do recommend getting in-person training when possible. There are plenty of great training academies out there, and I’ve listed below the best I’ve found thus far (in the San Antonio area). 

  • Handgun Safety Training Corporation
    DPS Licensing: Level 3 Training School, Level 4 Training School
    • Level III Initial Training & Renewals
    • Level IV Initial Training
    • Defensive Handgun Tactics
    • Basic Handcuffing
    • OC & Baton

Online Training #

There are certain instances where online training makes more sense, and for the sake of convenience, I’ve listed below a few resources you should familiarize yourself with for training that can be done online.

  • Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX)
    DPS Licensing: Level 3 Training School, Level 4 Training School, Security Continuing Education, Private Investigation Continuing Education

    TEEX comes heavily recommended for those seeking their Level II Initial Training. They have a ton of courses available, quite a few of them providing TCOLE credit as well. Very rarely, you will find that one of their courses are being offered free of charge for a limited time, so check their site frequently!

  • PI Education
    DPS Licensing: Private Investigation Continuing Education

    For Private Investigators, PI Education is essentially your one-stop shop for your continuing education needs!

  • Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE)
    DPS Licensing: Not Required Per Texas Administrative Code §35.162

    Notes:
    Credits claimed may not be used to satisfy the continuing education requirements for commissioned security officers or personal protection officers.

    If you have a PID, you should be taking advantage of the FREE training offered by TCOLE. Not only do you get TCOLE credit for these courses, but even if you’re not appointed to an agency at this time, you can still immerse yourself in all the knowledge available to you, to better equip you as a Security Officer and/or Private Investigator!

  • Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG)
    DPS Licensing: Not Applicable – Use For Extra Training Only

    Notes:
    Credits claimed may not be used to satisfy the continuing education requirements for commissioned security officers or personal protection officers.

    This is another fantastic option for those seeking TCOLE credit. Some courses offered by AACOG are FREE, and others do have a fee associated. You can take these courses whether you have a PID or not! AACOG also provides in-person training, so check out their website or give them a call to find all the course options they have available.

  • OSS Academy
    DPS Licensing: Not Applicable – Use For Extra Training Only

    Notes: Credits claimed may not be used to satisfy the continuing education requirements for commissioned security officers or personal protection officers.

    OSS has a plethora of training courses available; some provide TCOLE credit, and some don’t. I don’t recall ever seeing any courses being offered by them free of charge, but the course prices tend to be budget-friendly.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER:

The information provided in this page does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this page are for general informational purposes only. Information on this page may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information. This page may contain links to other third-party websites; such links are only for the convenience of the reader, user or browser. In addition, Texas Marshal Protection Agency, LLC and its members do not recommend or endorse the contents of these third-party sites.

Readers of this page should contact their attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter. No reader, user, or browser of this page should act or refrain from acting on the basis of information on this page without first seeking legal advice from counsel in the relevant jurisdiction. Only your individual attorney can provide assurances that the information contained herein – and your interpretation of it – is applicable or appropriate to your particular situation. Use of, and access to, this page or any of the links or resources contained within the page do not create an attorney-client relationship between the reader, user, or browser and page authors, contributors, or contributing entities.

The views expressed at, or through, this page are those of the individual authors writing in their individual capacities only – not those of their respective employers, or Texas Marshal Protection Agency, LLC. All liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on the contents of this page are hereby expressly disclaimed. The content on this posting is provided “as is;” no representations are made that the content is error-free. For more information, please visit our Terms and Conditions and our Disclaimer.

Was this helpful?