Close protection officer, CPO
Bodyguards protect individuals or groups from the risk of violence, kidnapping and other harmful situations.
Salary range: Variable
How to become a bodyguard
You can get into this career by:
- a college course
- applying directly
You could do a college course, which would teach you some of the skills and knowledge you need in this job. Relevant courses include the Level 3 Certificate for Working as a Close Protection Operative.
You’ll usually need:
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
You can apply to an organisation directly to work as a bodyguard or go through a recruitment agency specialising in security work. You’ll need a Close Protection licence issued by the Security Industry Authority.
To get a licence, you’ll usually need to complete the Level 3 Certificate for Working as a Close Protection Operative. This is available through training providers approved by the Security Industry Authority. Older qualifications may be acceptable, depending on when you got them.
Many people enter this career after working in the police or the armed forces.
It may be useful if you can speak more than one language for certain jobs, for example diplomatic work.
You can find more details about training to be a bodyguard through the Security Industry Authority.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- knowledge of public safety and security
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- the ability to work well with others
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- thinking and reasoning skills
- concentration skills
- customer service skills
- excellent verbal communication skills
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to:
- have a good level of fitness
- have a first aid certificate
- pass enhanced background checks
- be over 18 years of age
- have a Security Industry Authority licence
- have a full driving licence
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day tasks could include:
- protecting clients from threats like terrorism, or from political opponents, stalkers or over-enthusiastic fans
- checking out premises before clients arrive
- planning to identify and prevent potential threats or disruption
- staying constantly alert to react to threatening situations
- accompanying clients on business and social visits
- driving clients to and from venues
You could work at a client’s business or at a client’s home.
Your working environment may be outdoors some of the time and you may spend nights away from home.
You may need to wear a uniform.
Career path and progression
With experience, you could specialise in surveillance, driving or residential security, or move into risk assessment consultancy work.