Executive Protection Training Pitfalls

Recently there have been many inquires sent to me, and in multiple social media forums regarding the world of Executive Protection training. I will try to address some of those questions and some industry issues that we face on a daily basis.

Training….

Training is a critical part of any job you do, however with Executive Protection training there are multiple pitfalls you need to be aware of, and watch out for. Anyone can put together a training program and claim it’s “The Most Comprehensive, or Highest Quality Executive Protection Training” but before you give them your hard earned money you should do some research.

First thing you should know is that NO Executive Protection School can give you a license or a certification that is State or nationally recognized. Executive Protection Schools DO however provide a certificate of course completion but that does not mean that you are now officially certified.

Additionally

…Even after you go through a training course you will still need to get a license in whichever State you are to be working in. (this applies to 98% of the States within the union) States don’t care what course you have gone through outside of their State specific certified training location.

To be clear if you go to JoeBob’s EP school in Alaska, however you work in Nevada, you will still need to attend training at a certified PILB (Private Investigators Licensing Board) training provider. This training is mandatory by the State and will enable you to qualify for the Nevada Guard Card, which allows you to become employable.

There are training schools that do meet individual State requirements enabling you to apply for licensing, and they also will assist you with that process. Asking if the school you are considering meets those State requirements would be a good question before making any decisions.

You can reference certification vs. certificate on multiple sites however since it relates to security I will quote the ASIS (American Society for Industrial Security) website.

Question:

What is the difference between certification and certificate programs?

Answer:

Certification includes an experience and education component and requires passing an exam. It allows a practitioner to put letters after his or her name (CPP, CPA). In addition, certification requires recertification, which ensures that practitioners stay current in their field through continuing education.

A certificate program typically indicates attendance or completion of a course or series of courses with a specific focus. They are open to newcomers and experienced professionals alike. The end result demonstrates knowledge of content at the end of a specific period of time.

Multiple schools will state you can now use letters after your name to indicate course completion and “Certification”. However for how long are those letters relevant? What if you do not stay current, and if those letters do not require any recertification can you and should you still be able to put those letters after your name? The institution may say you are now “Certified” in their marketing materials and once the course is completed but who has authorized them to certify you?

To actually be able to “Certify” anyone is a long process of intense validation requirements by an outside agency such as American Council of Education (ACE), Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE), which is what ASIS utilizes, National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), American National Standards Institute (ANSI), ASIS or any other outside recognized validating agency. If you are “Certified” and the Training Institute doesn’t meet these or other outside agencies standards, what exactly does that Certification mean? Even ASIS, who is leading organization for international security professionals, currently does not yet have a board certified program for Executive Protection. (This may change in the near future with the new creation of the Executive Protection Council)

This is not just a definition of certification vs. certificate but includes morals and ethics. As a security professional you shouldn’t try and sell your service based on a school you attended 3 years ago yet haven’t yourself stayed current in the Executive Protection industry.

You should also need to know, who has validated or accredited the training that is being suggested? Has an outside agency validated the course material, the instructors, and if so when and how often? Should you take their word for it, or should you ask for proof of validation and accreditation.

I often am asked about schools that offer to accept veterans GI Bill. As a veteran myself this is a very near and dear subject. Multiple schools take advantage of this option by providing training you do not need, raising the course cost rates, extending the class time, and the list goes one. I have also seen where Company A can accept the GI Bill however Company B and C can not, so Company B & C now work with with Company A giving the impression of partnership however the end state is collect you enrolled and drain your GI Bill benefits. This makes asking question not just of the school but also of others in the industry all more important.

If you have earned the GI Bill, don’t consider that as easy money to spend just because it in some account in the cloud and the funds are not coming directly out of your pocket. You worked hard for that money and you should get the biggest proverbial bang for your buck.

In my professional, and personal opinion GI Bill benefits are best utilized for actual college courses that can help you in the Executive Protection industry (such as business courses or criminal justice) or towards actual true certification courses such as an Emergency Medical Technician EMT, TECC, or TCCC.

If you do decide to spend your GI Bill benefits on a EP course ask yourself; what benefit do you retain from that course after 6 months, 1, 2, 3 years later? Alternatively if you take a college course you will always have that college credit which can be applied at any time towards any degree, this is a better ROI or Return on Investment. If a Executive Protection School does state their course offers college credit, trust but verify, call a local university and ask them would they accept credits from that specific Executive Protection School.

Another issue you will find is training institutes willing to training you on a spectrum of topics and courses that promise you the high paying jobs in the contracting world, this is false. For example a PSD (Personal Security Detail) or DDM (Designated Defensive Marksman) course offered by JimBob training Inc. has no weigh on whether you are accepted for a high paying contracting job overseas. All this does is give JimBob Inc. a big payday, usually from a GI Bill, while you sit home without the promised high paying contracting job.

As a former contractor and as an instructor, with more then 10+ years experience I can tell you unequivocally government agencies (and the companies contracted by those government agencies) do not accept any of these schools as relevant training. As an instructor, when we had students that had outside civilian training we generally had to spend more time with them to reteach and break the bad techniques taught by the JimBob’s training Inc. (This happened on occasions when individuals got approved to attend the Department of State Worldwide Personal Protective Service (WPPS) -Worldwide Protective Service (WPS) vetting course, and some students thought by attending JimBob’s PSD training prior to going through the WPPS/WPS course would better their odds of passing the vetting processes. In fact it was an expense that usually did not pay off well for them in the end and most did not pass the vetting process. The reason they did not pass was due being taught incorrectly and their inability to relearn and adapt quickly to actual standards and requirements.)

If your current resume doesn’t include the skill sets and experience needed to contract overseas, these schools wont help you with those deficits. Example; If a contract position requires you to be a qualified graduate from the US Army Ranger School, and you are not, JimBob Training Inc. “Ranger” training can not and will not be considered to be a substitute for the actual US Army Ranger school.

Lastly on training institutes, it is always best to find a company that offers training AND also does the job. Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTP’s) change and anyone who teaches yet doesn’t do the job (or hasn’t done the job) can’t be expected to be teaching the most current and relevant information.

To sum up on training, ask questions, never take the word of the training site staff on how great their program is. Remember they are salesman and want you in the course so they can make money. Also no training school can promise you work, if they do that’s an immediate RED FLAG and they should be scratched off your list immediately.

This is not to say all training providers are horrible and terrible, there are a handful that are great. However there are many more opportunists out there willing to take advantage of your eagerness to become an Executive Protection Specialist. Remember anyone can put a great website together, say all the right things and have all the cool pictures. Do your due diligence before you give them your hard earned money, ask the tough questions, if they are legitimate they will give answers and proof that they deserve your business… Remember you are their customer….