There seems to be some confusion around the topics of bodyguard certifications and licenses. I think this is a result of prospective female bodyguards trying to break into the industry and trying to sift through the multitude of training schools, associations and the “puffery” being perpetuated by misleading marketing language. I seem to answer this question a lot from prospective students. So I would like to put this out to all those who haven’t asked for some reason or another, but want to know.
There are multiple ASSOCIATIONS for bodyguards, most of which charge a fee to be a member. Some are better than others as far as what benefits they offer their members. An Association is nothing more than a business created by someone who thinks they can provide a service and try to make the bodyguard industry better. They usually have experience in the field and would like to further the industry as a whole. Some do a good job of that and some don’t. Either way, there is nothing special needed to create an Association other than the desire, willingness and a business license. They are not usually “sanctioned” by an overarching authority. They intend to BE the authority.
Most Associations are trying to “standardize” the industry by offering their own CERTIFICATION. Their Certification is a set of knowledge, skills and abilities that they think a bodyguard should have to be successful. There again, the association chooses what to include in the Certification, there is not one set of standards. They are trying to create that set of standards. There are many differing opinions in this industry so you have to weigh how much credibility each one has. A Certification is NOTHING MORE than a piece of paper proving you attended a course that you can put on your CV to show to a prospective employer. Some Certifications will make you look better than others because of the school’s credibility.
A LICENSE is what the governmental unit of your area grants to individuals that allow them to work as a bodyguard legally within their jurisdiction (area). Certifications are not Licenses. Every governmental unit has different requirements to get a license. Some may not even require you to have a Certification because it doesn’t mean anything to them.
There are some students that are coming to us saying that they want an international bodyguard course because they want to work internationally. Keep in mind though that just because the course is called an International Bodyguard course, it does not give you any more privileges than a course called Bodyguard Training. They might give you instruction slanted towards how to operate across country lines but there is no international license. There is no authority that could grant such a license because there is not a governmental unit that governs the whole earth. You still have to get a license in every country, state, area, province, etc that you want to work in.
Some of prospective students have been led to believe that they will be trained by US Federal Agencies. This is not true. US federal law enforcement agencies do not train bodyguards. If a school makes that claim, it should be a red flag. Pay careful attention to the language. It may be that one of the instructors used to teach at a US federal law enforcement academy prior to training bodyguards, but the curriculum you will learn is not sanctioned by that agency. There are companies that have contracts with the federal government to provide training, but again, if you are not part of the agency they are training, you won’t get that training material. You will get a civilian version or a close protection version, but not a military or law enforcement version.
So, as far as associations and schools go, no one can tell you which one to join or which school to attend. Only you can decide what’s in your best interest for your career. You should get as much knowledge as you can from many different sources. Just make sure the source isn’t making you think it is more than it really is.