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How to Become a Professional Bodyguard

Bodyguards are security specialists that protect individuals from incurring physical harm. They also prevent possible kidnappings, acts of invasion of privacy, destruction or theft of property as well as any other related tasks. There is much more involved in working as a bodyguard than protection, as the specialist must complete many documents, operate vehicles, control crowds, communicate with the public, and possibly even save the lives of those around them using various techniques such as first aid and CPR. 

There is quite a big difference between working as a security guard and a bodyguard, and the two should not be confused. Security guards usually work in a much lower capacity, often working in parking lots of buildings and stores and ensuring that things are as they should be, while keeping written logs of the various rounds that they must make. They report any unusual activity, theft, and they may even possibly detain suspects in certain situations until the police arrive. Some security officers are armed, although most are not. On the other hand, professional bodyguards risk their lives to ensure the safety of the person or persons they are protecting, and this is done with a great deal of skill and expertise. According to Heidi Zeigler, author of the book Bodyguard, “There are many different kinds of dangers and threats in which bodyguards protect their clients. These threats can include kidnapping, murder and blackmail.”

Securing a Job as a Bodyguard

Before becoming a bodyguard, an interested individual should first decide if risking their lives to protect others is something that they want to do. After that has been decided, the next step is to obtain the necessary training, either by paying for the training courses out of pocket or by securing employment with an agency who will provide all the training, and depending on the company, even provide payment while training to work as a professional bodyguard for their company. Individuals have the choice of working for actual government agencies such as the FBI, CIA, etc, or starting a new company after completing all the proper training courses, or even working for a private bodyguard agency.

Education and Training Requirements

According to a job posting for a professional security job which is equivalent to a bodyguard position, with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), a bachelors degree is required. Usually, however, only a high school education is usually necessary in order to work as a bodyguard, but there is a great deal of in-depth and specialized training required. The training that a bodyguard must undergo can be extensive. Bodyguards can work in different capacities, with different job descriptions requiring a different amount of skills. Training that virtually every armed escort must undergo in order to start a successful career includes but is not limited to: firearms training and the ability to obtain a CCW (carrying a concealed weapon), first aid and CPR, defensive tactics, tactical shooting, hostage negotiation, emergency evacuations, and an immense amount more. 


Aside from the actual training involved in becoming a bodyguard, individuals working in this type of field are also required to possess other specialized skills, many that can only be obtained through experience. The ability to maintain the confidentiality of clients at all times is one of the most important skills. There is also the necessity to listen raptly, communicate effectively and observe the surroundings thoroughly as well at all times. In addition, successful bodyguards must also be able to effectively handle extremely stressful situations without it interfering with their job performance.

Physical Requirements

To work and be successful, bodyguards must meet certain minimum physical requirements. Physical agility is an absolute must, as the job often requires frequent travel by car as well as on foot. Being height and weight proportionate is not always necessary as long as the bodyguard is in good physical shape and is capable of withstanding potential instances that may require physical excursion. Since bodyguards can never predict when an emergency may arise which would necessitate the immediate escort of a client out of possibly threatening circumstances, the bodyguard needs to be capable of physically running for long distances, if necessary. 


The average entry-level salary of a bodyguard varies depending on the job’s geographic location, but averages about $50,000 a year. A bodyguard or with specialized skills, such those acquired through additional training, can earn as much as $100,000 a year or possibly even more. The more potentially life-threatening a particular job is as well as the more responsibilities a bodyguard is willing to accept can greatly increase earning potential. Other important factors that determine how much a bodyguard can earn are: 

  • Experience with celebrities and other VIPs
  • Availability to work internationally and is able to travel frequently
  • Willingness to perform special duties
  • The status and reputation of a bodyguard

Working as a bodyguard can prove to be a very stressful and dangerous job at times, but with hard work, regular clients, and the ability to schedule time in-between jobs for rest, it can be a very rewarding career, both financially as well as personally.