Close Protection Officer

Security is a wide-ranging industry and goes beyond just securing properties, venues or nightclubs. One aspect of security that is in demand is the need for protection security which is more commonly known as being a bodyguard. While you may have a varying range of duties to perform your main focus will be the protection of an individual from any physical threat or harm. You will be expected to act professionally and deal with intense situations effectively. In this role, training is crucial so that you can handle situations quickly to eliminate any threat or perceived threat that your client may face. In most cases the Close Protection Officer or bodyguard is self-employed; however, there are agencies that hire on a regular basis.

Wage rate hourly


Typical hours

20 to 48 hours a week usually includes weekends


SIA Close Protection Licence

Total cost

Starts at £899.00 and has a licence fee of £190.00

How to become a Close Protection Officer

To become a Protection Security Officer you will need to get your SIA Close Protection License. This license will give you the tools required for the job such as being able to handle high-pressure situations including any threats or assaults. 

Getting this license is also extremely important as you will be responsible for ensuring the safety of important individuals, like celebrities, politicians and sports stars.


When can you apply?

You can only apply for the license if you successfully complete the Level 3 Certificate for Working as a Close Protection Operative within the Private Security Industry. 


Course cost:

The SIA Close Protection License is a 16-day course that costs £899.00. You will be required to pass all of the examinations and practical assessments. If you are successful, on completion of the course you will be required to provide a license fee of £190.00. It is valid for three years. 

 An additional requirement, which is dependent on the company that you work for, is First Aid Training and a valid UK driving license. You can apply and pay for your license, at a local post office or online. The total cost of the course and the license is £1089.00. 


Legal requirements

SIA license requirements are: 

  • Be over 18 years of age
  • Have proof that you are allowed to work in the UK ( such as a visa) 
  • A criminal background check
  • A mental health check 
  • Have passed your SIA course

You can find out more about the mental health requirements as well as the criminal background check in other blogs on the site.

Become a Close Protection Officer

Start a successful career as a Close Protection Officer by following these steps:

SIA Close Protection Training

This is the first step to become a Close Protection Officer

Pass the course

3 Multiple Choice Exams and a Physical Intervention Assessment

Apply for your SIA Licence

You can apply for your licence through the postoffice after passing the course

Apply for jobs in your area

Once you have your licence, you can start applying for Close Protection Officer jobs in your area






3 years

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Typical job description and responsibilities


Following training for this role, you will be equipped with the skills to:

  • Ensure the safety of a designated individual(s)
  • Monitor surrounding activity and be able to detect suspicious or aggressive behavior
  • Drive the designated individual(s) to their destination
  • Control crowds around your client


The main objective of a Close Protection Officer is to ensure that the individual or individuals that they have been assigned to are protected from any danger or threat. Due to the nature of the job you will be trained to be able to respond quickly to life-threatening situations. Your decision-making skills will also be tested as you may have to alter plans at the last moment if you believe that a new threat has been detected. You will be required to stay near your client at all times while remaining observant about the surrounding area and possible threats.

Another important part of your job will include ensuring that a building or meeting place is secure for your client. You will have to assess exit points and other strategies to ensure that you can protect your client. In some cases, you may be required to safely drive the client to and from an event. In this instance you will be required to carefully map out the route you will take and try as best as possible to ensure that the person will not be in harm’s way.

There is no set standard for this aspect of security as it depends heavily on who you are assigned to.


Close Protection Officerss are also responsible for:  

  • Conducting background checks on new employees or an individual that your client has to meet
  • Ensuring the safety of your client in a public setting like an award show
  • Remaining vigilant to be able to spot suspicious behavior
  • Checking a client’s home for anything that might have been planted to cause the individual harm


Working Conditions

Probably the most important aspect of becoming a Protection Security Officer is your level of fitness. You will be required to be agile and always ready to defend your client in the event of danger. This means long periods of time on your feet.  You should be able to remain active for long periods of time without getting tired to the point that your concentration level drops. 

The duties that you will have to perform will largely depend on the nature of your assignment. For example, a bodyguard who is protecting a celebrity or a politician will have to have good crowd control skills and must always be on high alert. However, in both instances, you may not be required to drive. In other assignments, you may be called upon to do all of the above mentioned.


Skills and personal qualities required: 

A Close Protection Officer needs to be:

  • Always alert of their surroundings
  • Dedicated to observing the behavior of individuals at a meeting place or venue
  • Detail-oriented 
  • Physically fit
  • A quick problem solver
  • Able to quickly communicate with the rest of the team and coordinate safe escape routes quickly
  • Able to detect suspicious movements and behavior
  • Knowledgeable of licensing laws and health and safety regulations
  • Able to write basic reports and detail events accurately


Education required

While there are no specific qualifications such as GCSEs required to take your SIA course you will be expected to be in very good physical condition. Since a huge number of people from countries who have the right to work in the UK can also apply for the license, your physical ability and problem-solving skills can set you apart. It’s also important that you have a good command of English as you will need to effectively communicate with your team and/or client. You may also be required at times to write reports and communicate with your team.


Employers also look favorably on candidates who possess some or all of the following skills:

  • Security or law enforcement experience
  • Can assure an authoritative presence 
  • First aid skills 
  • Active listening skills that can help them jump into action if they detect a disturbance
  • Excellent communication skills 


Benefits of the job 

There are many benefits to becoming a Close Protection Officer. Some of them include

  • Increased earnings
  • Management of the safety of a celebrity, politician or sports star
  • Developing real investigative skills
  • Potentially meeting new famous people 
  • Getting to see new places
  • The chance to stay at upscale hotels and locations 
  • Depending on the assignment you get free meals 


Life skills you will acquire:

Being a bodyguard for someone is a very demanding and fulfilling job where you will be able to challenge your physical health as well as your investigative skills. In this role, you are the line of defense between your client and danger. You will learn to use your senses to detect any danger early and to effectively eliminate any threat.


It will also help with your problem-solving skills as you will often be required to come up with plans that ensure the individual’s safety. Through training you will also:

  • Learn about working in the Private Security Industry
  • Learn about working as a Close Protection Operative
  • Conflict Management


If you should choose you can also opt for additional courses like: 

  • Evasive Driving and/or Convoy Driving
  • Introduction to Short Firearms
  • Close Combat Training
  • Anti-Ambush Training

How much does a Close Protection Officer actually earn

An experienced bodyguard can earn up to £40.00 per hour while an inexperienced officer may start off at £18.00. Your hours most likely will be totally dependent on your client, however, since it’s common for protection officers to accompany their clients to events, you can expect to work weekends and nights.

The job is considered an around the clock one as you always want to provide the right protection to your client. To make sure that there is full protection of the client most times the shifts are broken down into six-hour ones. This way the client is always protected by someone who is alert and observant.

How much does a Close Protection Officer earn?

As we stated most bodyguards are self-employed and the range of their wages are affected by the number of clients they have at a given time. A protection officer has the personal responsibility to make sure that their client is safe. Clients range from political figures, famous celebrities, business executives to regular civilians who feel they need extra protection.

You will be expected to travel with your clients to public events and in some cases accompany them on their day-to-day activities. Most times this type of protection is done as part of a larger team.

The table below shows how much you could earn: 



Typical weekly (40 hours) 

Typical annually (40 hours per week) 


£18 to £22

£720 to £880

£37,440 - £45,760


£22 to £32 

£1120 to £1280

£45,760 - £66,560






When starting out as a protection officer you may make less than your more senior counterparts. Most start off with a wage between £18.00 to £22.00. As you are given and trusted with more responsibilities you will find that your income will begin to grow. The longer you stay with a team or a client the more you are likely to make as trust is a major aspect of this job. You can aim to make around £37, 440 a year as long as you can find clients on a regular basis.

Which personality traits suit this career the most

  • Detail Orientated
  • Alert
  • Dedicated
  • Trustworthy
  • Strategic Thinking
  • Self Directed

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