Montana: Unarmed Security Officers

Legislation and Details for Montana


Montana Code Annotated (2017)
Title 37 – Professions and Occupations
Chapter 60 – Private Investigators,
Private Security and Fire Entities, and Process Servers
Administrative Rules of Montana
Department 24 – Labor and Industry
Chapter 182 – Board of Private Security
Patrol Officers and Investigators

Authorizing Department

Montana Board of Private Security
301 South Park Avenue, 4th Floor

PO Box 200513 Helena

Montana 59620-0513

Official Website

Licensure and License Fees

In Montana private security officers are required to obtain a license from the board prior to commencing employment with a security agency.
See: MCA 37-60-301

The requirement for licensure includes contract and proprietary security officers except as outlined in the exemptions.

The applicant has to provide evidence that the applicant is currently employed, or a contractual promise of future employment of the applicant upon issuance of a license, with a contract security company, a proprietary security organization, or an electronic security company.
See ARM 24.182.514(3)

All application packets for licensure in Montana must include the following:

•   Completed application and attached photograph.
•   Copy of driver’s license or birth certificate for proof of age.
•   Copy of birth certificate, United States Passport or Immigration green card for proof of citizenship or permanent legal residency.
•   Proof of training from a currently licensed security company.

•   Completed Character Reference form.

•   Completed Verification of Licensure form, if you hold or ever held a professional/occupational license in another state or jurisdiction.

•   Copy of a current firearms certification, if you are requesting Armed Endorsement.

See: Security Guard Application Form

Administrative Rules of Montana (ARM) 24.182.401
•   $100 – License application fee
•   $100 – License renewal fee
•   $50 – Fingerprints submission fee

See: Security Guard Application Form

Montana now provides for an electronic filing for the initial application for security guard.
See: Online Portal

Montana also encourages email contact with the Board that oversees the licensure process.

See: Montana Board of Private Security & Investigations Contact Information

Temporary License
Montana does provide for the issuance of temporary licenses during the period of application and examination in accordance with the following rule:

37-1-305 Temporary practice permits.
(2) A board may issue a temporary practice permit to a person seeking licensure in this state who has met all licensure requirements other than passage
of the licensing examination. Except as provided in 37-68-311 and 37-69-306, a permit is valid until the person either fails the first
license examination for which the person is eligible following issuance of the permit or passes the examination and is granted a license.

Foreign Jurisdiction Licensure

The Board of Private Security has the discretion to issue a reciprocal license based on the following regulation and code:

37-1-305. Temporary practice permits.

(1) A board may issue a temporary practice permit to a person licensed in another state that has licensing standards
substantially equivalent to those of this state if the board determines that there is no reason to deny the license under the
laws of this state governing the profession or occupation. The person may practice under the permit until a license is granted or
until a notice of proposal to deny a license is issued.

Age Requirements

Montana Code Annotated (MCA) § 37-60-303(1)(a)
The applicant must be at least 18 years of age.


MCA § 37-60-303(1)(b)
The applicant must be a citizen of the United States or a legal permanent resident.


None required.


MCA § 37-60-105
(1) Except as provided in subsection 2, this chapter does not apply to:

(a) any one person employed singly and exclusively by any one employer in connection with the affairs of that employer only and when there exists an employer-employee relationship and the employee is unarmed, does not wear a uniform, and is guarding inside a structure that at the time is not open to the public;

(b) a person:

(i) employed singly and exclusively by a retail merchant;

(ii) performing at least some work for the retail merchant as a private security guard; and

(iii) who has received training as a private security guard from the employer or at the employer’s direction;

(c) an officer or employee of the United States, of this state, or of a political subdivision of the United States or this state while the officer or employee is engaged in the performance of official duties;

(d) a person engaged exclusively in the business of obtaining and furnishing information as to the financial rating of persons or as to the personal habits and financial responsibility of applicants for insurance, indemnity bonds, or commercial credit;

(e) an attorney at law while performing duties as an attorney at law;

(f) a legal intern, paralegal, or legal assistant employed by one or more lawyers, law offices, governmental agencies, or other entities;

(g) a law student who is serving a legal internship;

(h) a collection agency or finance company licensed to do business under the laws of this state, or an employee of a collection agency or finance company licensed in this state while acting within the scope of employment, while making an investigation incidental to the business of the agency or company, including an investigation of the location of a debtor or the debtor’s property when the contract with an assignor creditor is for the collection of claims owed or due or asserted to be owed or due or the equivalent;

(i) special agents employed by railroad companies, provided that the railroad company notifies the board that its agents are operating in the state;

(j) insurers and insurance producers and insurance brokers licensed by the state while performing duties in connection with insurance transacted by them;

(k) individuals engaged in the collection and examination of physical material for forensic purposes;

(l) an insurance adjuster, as defined in 37-60-101;

(m) an internal investigator or auditor while making an investigation incidental to the business of the agency or company by which the investigator or auditor is singularly and regularly employed;

(n) a person who evaluates and advises management on personnel and human resource issues in the workplace; or

(o) a certified public accountant with a license or permit to practice or a practice privilege under 37-50-314 or 37-50-325 to the extent that the person is engaged in an investigation relating to the practice of accounting.

Permit Required

None required.

Requirement to carry an ID card

MCA 37-60-310(2)
(1)   A license must at all times be posted in a conspicuous place in the principal place of business of the licensee.
(2)   A holder of an identification card shall carry the card while performing the cardholder’s duties. A peace officer of this state or any of its political subdivisions may request to see the card at any reasonable time, and the card must be shown.

Moral Character

MCA § 37-60-303(1)(f)
An applicant for licensure under this chapter is subject to the provisions of this section and shall submit evidence that the applicant is of good moral character.


ARM 24.182.501(4)
Fingerprints required under Title 37, chapter 60, MCA, shall be submitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Montana Department of Justice for examination. Final licensure is granted only following receipt and review of the Federal Bureau of Investigation report and any investigations thereof. A fingerprint report is valid for one year from date of receipt of the report from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
See also MCA 37-60-304(2)(f)

Fingerprint cards are available at most local law enforcement agencies or the Montana Department of Justice. If you request from the board office, a fingerprint card and self-addressed envelope will be mailed to you. You must complete the fingerprint application information requested at the top of the fingerprint card prior to getting your prints taken. Most local law enforcement agencies will take your fingerprints for a nominal fee. Any fees charged by local or state law enforcement are the responsibility of the applicant.

The fingerprint card must be submitted along with a check or money order for $30 payable to “Montana Department of Justice” by mail to
Montana Criminal Records
2225 11th Avenue
PO Box 201403
Helena, MT 59620-1403

See: Application form

*Beginning March 1, 2019, the Montana Department of Justice will be increasing the fee for a Federal Fingerprint-Based Check to $30.00 for background checks
conducted for pre-employment, employment and, licensing purposes.

The background check and fee, includes the Montana WIN check, as required by the FBI. Statutory authority is required to conduct these checks.
Please contact the Montana Department of Justice at (406) 444-3625 for more information.

Substance Abuse

MCA § 37-60-303(1)(e)
An applicant for licensure under this chapter is subject to the provisions of this section and shall submit evidence that the applicant is not suffering from habitual drunkenness or from narcotics addiction or dependence.

Mental Health

MCA § 37-60-303(1)(d)
An applicant for licensure under this chapter is subject to the provisions of this section and shall submit evidence that the applicant has not been judicially declared incompetent by reason of any mental disease or disorder or, if so declared, has been fully restored.

Criminal History Background Check

MCA § 37-60-303(1)(c)
An applicant for licensure under this chapter is subject to the provisions of this section and shall submit evidence that the applicant has not been
convicted in any jurisdiction of any felony or any crime involving moral turpitude or illegal use or possession of a dangerous weapon, for which a full pardon or similar relief has not been granted.

The Application includes a background check consent form (page 9)
indicating that Criminal History Record Information is obtained from the Montana Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Personal References

One reference, not related by blood or marriage, which have known the applicant or associated with him/her for a minimum of one year, should be provided. Verification of moral/professional character form is included in the application packet for this purpose.

See: Application form

Training Requirements

MCA § 37-60-303(2)
In addition to meeting the qualifications in subsection (1), an applicant for licensure as a private security guard, security alarm installer, or alarm response runner shall: (a) complete the requirements of a training program certified by the board and provide, on a form prescribed by the department, written notice of satisfactory completion of the training; and (b) fulfill other requirements as the board may by rule prescribe.

ARM 24.182.807 Private Security Guard Training Program
(1)   Each security company or organization that employs or intends to employ an individual as a private security guard must certify, as part of the individual’s license application, that the individual has successfully completed a minimum of 16 hours of training as a prerequisite to licensure and prior to undertaking any of the duties defined as the practice of a security guard.
(2)   The training must address each of the following areas:
  (a)   role and function of the security guard;
  (b)   federal, state, and local statutes and rules applicable to the practice of private security guards;
  (c)   interaction and cooperation with law enforcement;
  (d)   limitations on the use of force and self-defense and the use-of-force continuum;
  (e)   emergency procedures and hazardous material preparedness;
  (f)   communication skills, report writing, and radio communication;
  (g)   crisis intervention and crowd control;
  (h)   patrol techniques; and
  (i)   ethical and legal issues, including, but not limited to:
     (i) confidentiality and right of privacy;
     (ii) searches of persons and property;
     (iii) limitations on the power to arrest and detain suspects;
     (iv) treatment of juveniles, persons with physical or mental disabilities, and other special classes (e.g., racial, religious, or cultural);
     (v) preservation of crime scene and handling of evidence; and
     (vi) preventing abuse of authority

Exam Requirement

The Board has authority to administer written examinations but that authority appears discretionary according to Montana rules. By using terms like “if” and “may”, the Board appears to have the power to administer exams and also has a passage standard of 70%. For a full review of these rules, see: ARM 24.182.505

Child Support

MCA § 40-5-702. Notice of intent to suspend license
(1) Upon the petition of an obligee alleging the existence of a delinquency or upon the failure of an obligor to comply with a subpoena or warrant, a support enforcement entity may issue a notice of intent to suspend a license.

MCA § 40-5-709. Non Disciplinary suspension for failure to pay child support
Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, the support enforcement entity has the authority to suspend a license or privilege to obtain a license under this part without any action by the licensing authority. The licensing authority shall, upon receipt of notice of suspension of the license under 40-5-703(5) from the support enforcement entity, suspend the license or privilege to obtain a license of the named individual. The suspension must be non disciplinary for professional or occupational licenses, and the provisions of 2-4-631 do not apply.

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