Guard Card vs. PSO License

Posted on: by Kristen Marie | No Comments

There is a lot of confusion in California around the Guard Card and new PSO license that was recently created by a new piece of legislation in California. In the past, proactive bar and nightclub owners only hired bouncers and in house guards that had their “Guard Cards” in order to reduce their liability and keep patrons safe at their establishments. However, today there is a new license for bouncers and in-house guards known as the PSO License, or PPSO license. This license coupled with our PSO Training, provides job specific education that prepares bouncers and in-house guards for the situations they are most likely to see in their employment. This includes alcohol and service liability, proper use of force, documentation, recognition of club drugs and narcotics, and more topics all tailored to the bar and nightclub industry.

To further understand the difference between the Guard Card and PSO License, let’s explore some more common questions about these two different licenses.

Question: Why was the new PSO law and licensing created?

Answer: Realizing that nightclubs and bars could be safer, Sentator Maldonado from San Fransisco proposed a change to the law in 2006 to ensure that bouncers and in-house guards were given job specific training and have background checks in order to work. From this proposal, the law was created mandating both background checks and job specific traning for all bouncers in California to make sure bars and nightclubs are safe for patrons and employees.

Question: Is there an advantage to having bouncers get their PSO license vs. a Guard Card?

Answer: Although it is permitted under the law to hire someone with a Guard Card or a PSO license, the PSO licensing course provides job specific training that is tailored to bouncers and in house guards as opposed to a more generic security training. Specifically in our course, we teach bouncers and in house guards important information about Alcohol Service Liability, Club Drugs and Narcotics, and job specific examples and scenarios that would not be covered in a typical Guard Card course.

Question: Do I need to make sure a current employee gets their PSO card?

Answer: Yes. Under the current law the employer is responsible for providing training to any current employees who are not licensed by the state. This training, as well as the BSIS background check, requires that the bouncer/in-house guard completes 16 hours of training either in person or online.

Question: How long is PSO training versus traditional Guard Card traning?

Answer: PSO training is a 16 hour course that can be completed online or in person. Traditional guard card training is 40 hours of training for a completed legal license.

Question: Do bouncers and in-house guards have to renew their licenses like they do with the Guard Card?

Answer: Yes. However the renewal process if slightly different for a PSO license when compared to a Guard Card. A PSO license must be renewed every 2 years and there is a 2 hour training refresher that is required. There is also a $35 fee. To renew a Guard Card, 8 hour of training must be completed every 2 years and there is also a $35 fee.

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