Entry into the security industry
Successful completion of the expert knowledge examination represents the first real level of qualification in the security industry. With the certificate of competence, you receive a recognised certificate from the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK) and are henceforth active as an IHK-certified security employee.
Once you have passed the exam, you can be sure that you have the necessary tools at hand. Of course, many things will also come with professional practice, but especially in legal terms you should definitely not let any uncertainties arise right from the start!
Qualification for the labour market
Clearly, the security industry is not always easy. Shift work, duty on public holidays, at weekends or when the others are asleep. But besides this downside, the job also offers many opportunities and variety. The security sector is diverse (patrol services, events, reception, money and value transport, alarm reception centres, factory security,…) and, depending on the job, sometimes also offers quite good earning opportunities. In particular, you should not disregard the remuneration (bonuses) that are fixed by law! If you are currently looking for a job, taking the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK) examination can be a very good step into the world of work. The job offer for qualified employees is currently very good — especially in the metropolitan areas, security guards are in high demand.
Depending on your current professional situation, there are various ways to get funding for the examination and/or a preparatory course for expertise § 34a.
What funding opportunities are there?
- Unemployed (ALG I & II)
The costs can be covered by the employment agency, the job centre or the ARGE (education voucher). In addition to the normal benefits, travel costs (distance to the course and to the examination) and costs for childcare during the qualification may also be covered.
It is important here that you clarify everything with the relevant body in advance. The school should be certified according to AZAV/AZWV (Akkreditierungs- und Zulassungsverordnung Arbeitsförderung / Anerkennungs- und Zulassungsverordnung Weiterbildung) and have a measure number for the course!
- Retrainees (incapacity for work in the old occupation)
If you can no longer practise your old profession for health reasons, it is possible to take the expert knowledge examination as part of a retraining programme.
The costs are usually covered by the employers’ liability insurance associations or the German pension insurance.
(§ 33 SGB IX Benefits for participation in working life)
- Soldiers of the German Armed Forces (SaZ)
The Bundeswehr’s Vocational Support Service (BFD) pays for the schooling and vocational training of soldiers. The aim is to enable (former) regular soldiers to have a successful future in a civilian profession. The support depends on the duration of the military service obligation and is based on the Soldiers’ Pensions Act (SVG). A BFD officer can provide you with binding information on funding options (assumption of course costs, flat-rate travel allowance, housing allowance, childcare,…). If necessary, with previous military training you can also enter directly into a higher training level in the private security industry (e.g. as a service worker, specialist or even master for protection and security).
Tip: If you are looking for a job or are about to change jobs, sometimes private job agencies or the new employer will cover the costs of further qualification as a competent security guard. It doesn’t cost anything to ask!
Taking on new activities
You are already an employee with Information work in a security company according to § 34a GewO?
Then it will probably be a little bit easier for you to pass the expert knowledge examination. This is because you already have knowledge and experience from the training procedure as well as from practical experience. It is often the case that security service employees with training in accordance with §34a (as an entry requirement) are to take on further or more qualified activities in the future. If you are considering a job as a bouncer, a security guard in the public sector or a shop detective, you will not be able to avoid the qualification test (or an even higher qualification) anyway. The same applies to activities in a managerial position (e.g. as an operations or property manager) in the context of guarding refugee and asylum accommodation and guarding large events with protected access. But also for other high-responsibility activities, the qualification test according to §34a GewO is increasingly demanded by the client as a minimum qualification — often as a quality feature, even if there is no legal obligation to do so (e.g. when working in the field of security and property protection, in security centres, as a team leader, etc.).
What funding opportunities are there?
If you are already in a permanent job and you will be assigned tasks in the future for which the examination is mandatory, your employer should also cover the costs. Security companies often offer the courses themselves. If the company does not have suitably qualified personnel available for training, it is possible to book company seminars (usually directly “in-house”, i.e. on the company’s own premises) at security schools. The advantage lies in the lower costs compared to when each employee would register for a seminar on their own. In addition, this approach has tax advantages for security companies. In the meantime, however, there are also efficient possibilities for online training; here, the qualification measure can be carried out flexibly in terms of time and at extremely low cost, during ongoing business operations. Ideally, this can be done “on the side”, without having to give an employee extra time off.
As an employee, you will not always be able to avoid having to cover the costs of preparation and examination yourself. Especially if you want to advance professionally, course and examination fees can be an excellent investment in your own future. However, be sure to talk to your employer about whether you can at least receive a subsidy. After all, the company also benefits from your expanded knowledge. Compared to face-to-face courses, i.e. lessons on site, you can of course save a lot of money in self-study. However, make sure that you pass the exam at the first attempt and that the examination fees you have paid twice and three times do not put a spoke in your wheel. Here, too, specialist literature and online learning programmes with corresponding learning objective checks are extremely helpful!
Company foundation and own boss of a security company
“Nothing ventured, nothing gained” could be the motto. The fact is, the security industry is highly competitive. The profit margins are often small. But with the right idea and a sound concept, perseverance and the necessary financial resources, anything is possible! The security industry is an industry of the future. Recently, the market has boomed especially in the guarding of refugee accommodation and asylum seekers’ homes, but also in many other areas such as retail (supermarket guarding). Become your own boss in the guard and security industry. The compulsory requirement according to § 34a of the Trade, Commerce and Industry Regulation Act (Gewerbeordnung) is the successful participation in the expert knowledge examination. (Since December 2016, a course of at least 80 teaching units is no longer sufficient to become self-employed in the security industry). Of course, self-employment must be thoroughly thought through and many more steps must be taken into account when setting up a business. As a (future) managing director of a security company, you will also be flawlessly screened and must not have anything on your record. Apart from being a professional decision, self-employment is also a very personal one. You have to be an entrepreneurial type to stand your ground and should have in-depth professional knowledge as well as social and leadership skills.