Ballpark Estimate: $200 to $5,000+
Most bodyguards (also called personal protection agents) today lead a work life alternating between mundane duties with short burst of adrenaline and excitement, always working hard to keep their clients safe. While the type of dangers they face can span a wide range, what remains consistent is their commitment to fulfill their mission, regardless of what it takes.
Not All Drama
But while you may relish the thrill of the chase, it is important to keep in mind that all is not constant drama with many bodyguard positions. Depending on the situation you take, you will likely have much downtime, but will need to be sure to keep your guard up anyway. A bodyguard who is complacent may place himself and his client in danger.
The world can be a dangerous place, at least for some people in very high-ranking and visible positions. That’s why some of them need to employ personal protection for themselves and also for their families. In addition, people in the midst of a publicized controversy, those with a lot of money and power to risk and those who have information that could be valuable (or dangerous) to others may also need to hire a bodyguard to keep them safe from the ill will of those who wish them harm.
Keep in mind that some clients will want a muscle-bound bodyguard in traditional uniform to deter would-be attackers, while others may prefer their protector blend in more with the surroundings. For instance, a corporate executive may request someone who is trim and well dressed to accompany him. It is important to note, though, that even a bodyguard who maintains a low profile must be able to go to great lengths to keep his employer safe.
What You Need
Some of the types of qualities successful bodyguards bring to the position include being: agile, very physically fit, highly motivated, fast-thinking and strategic. You must also thrive on the unknown and enjoy getting a constant rush of adrenalin. In addition, you should be patient, persistent, loyal and willing to get to great physical and mental lengths for your client’s sake. Finally, good bodyguards know how to be a strong team player, have exceptional organization and planning skills, and are exceptionally good at communicating with people.
Regardless of whether you work as part of a larger group of bodyguards and need to coordinate in order to keep your operative safe, or whether you are working solo, you must be able to partner with the person you are protecting in order to most effectively fend off any potential danger.
No Risk, No Gain
While the role of a bodyguard comes with high risk, in return for your service you can expect fair compensation and generous benefits, particularly if you work for a celebrity or other wealthy client. In addition to your salary, you may also have a unique chance to travel to exotic locations on the job, attend exciting events and also to meet famous people. Just keep in mind that you will be expected to be very discrete and to maintain your employer’s confidentiality.
The Training Required
If the thrill of being a bodyguard appeals to your sense of adventure and danger, you may want to explore the training you will need to step into such an important position. Some of the best bodyguards have served as law enforcement agents or military officers. Such backgrounds are excellent training grounds and will give you a strong set of skills from which draw when protecting an individual. But even if you’ve never served in the military or walked the local streets on a police man’s beat, you can still become a bodyguard with a little extra help to get yourself started. The only requirement to sign up for many of the bodyguard training classes that are available is a high school diploma and a burning desire to do well in this field.
What to Look For
The type of training most programs offer, as well as the length of the courses, will vary from place to place. You will likely want to get some of the basics of executive protection and will need to know how to operate a firearm. Just keep in mind that if you will be carrying a gun you will need to apply for a license that will enable you to carry if legally in your municipality and state. Therefore, you’ll need to find out what the specific regulations and requirements exist to govern gun ownership and use in your area.
When shopping for a school, be selective. You will want to find a school that has a respected accreditation to teach the coursework and one that comes with a good reputation and references. Call you state legislature and find out if the school is licensed to teach in your state and if your certificate will indeed qualify you for a job. Don’t be afraid to check with former students and find out what they thought of the program. You can also ask if the school offers some type of job placement or referral service when you complete their training. This will help you get started in the field.
It’s also important to find out the caliber of training the school offers. Remember that you don’t want to simply select the least expensive and shortest program. You want to get the best education that you can so you will have the skills you need to rely on in an emergency.
What It Costs
You may surprise to know that you can get your certificate to work as a bodyguard in under a month’s time, and at an expense of under $200. Further, some schools offer classes over the Internet, so you can get training in the most convenient way and on your own personal schedule.
For instance, an online executive protection class through Phoenix State University takes about four weeks to complete and costs under $200.
If you prefer to get training face to face, you can take a day or three day workshop through J.A. Lasorsa and Associates in Florida. Classes there range from $700 to almost $1,700 and are taught by a former secret service agent.
If you have more money to invest in this endeavor, how about a long weekend in a small, intensive entry level training in the Los Angeles area through Security Pro USA. This will set you back about $2,500, including food and lodging during your stay.
If you are willing to go great distances for your training, there are several well-respected training schools abroad that are worth considering. Clearwater Close Protection Training in the UK offers a combination of classroom and practical exercises designed to get you up to speed fast as a bodyguard. A quick weekend training course starts at under $500, accommodations included.
Another international option with a high reputation that attracts Americans is the Counter Threat Group, which offers a three-week training program in England that focuses on international security, protecting VIPs, celebrities and other high-profile notables. Several levels of training are offered and tuition ranges from about $2,300 to almost $5,400 U.S.
So bodyguard training can run anywhere from a few hundred dollars on up to more than $5,000.
But while this may be your initial investment in your career, it is likely not the only one you will make. Many professional bodyguards invest in taking additional training and workshops throughout their careers as the challenges they take on continue to change.
What You Can Earn
You can expect the average salary of a bodyguard in the United States to be$50,000 or more a year. However, this is not by any means the top of the salary scale. Bodyguards who work for high-level clients and celebrities can make three or four times that amount. The rule of thumb is that the higher the security threat against the client, the more you can expect to make in your paycheck.
A Final Note
If you want to be a bodyguard but can’t spare the time or expense for training, there is one more avenue to pursue. You can purchase “Body For Hire: The Complete Bodyguard Training Series,” which is created by James Brown BEM and is a training module available in DVD format. This is available through Amazon.com and costs less than $100.