Ways To Start A Career In VIP Close Protection

Last updated: November 17, 2022


The security industry’s careers aren’t limited to protecting properties, venues, or nightclubs. Protective security, otherwise known as bodyguarding, is one aspect of security that’s in high demand. For high-profile individuals, the world can be dangerous, with assaults, stalking, thefts, kidnappings, invasions of privacy, and even assassinations on the rise. They need more than just bodyguards to remain safe. Executive Protection or VIP Close Protection are specially trained bodyguards offering higher security for high-risk individuals. 

As an executive protection agent, your primary focus will be protecting an individual against physical harm or threat. In contrast to a regular bodyguard, your role is not reactive. Instead, you anticipate any dangers or threats and prepare in advance to mitigate them. 

To succeed, you must act professionally and manage intense situations appropriately. Training is critical for this role, so you can deal with situations quickly and eliminate any danger posed to your client. Generally, a bodyguard or close protection officer is self-employed, but some agencies hire regularly.

How To Become An Executive Protection Agent

Becoming a VIP close protection officer requires specialized skills, training, relevant qualifications, certifications, and licenses. Extensive experience in related security roles is a must. On top of this, a protection agent must be physically, mentally, and emotionally fit. 

Required Skills

A person wishing to become a bodyguard must have the following essential skills:

  • Evasive and defensive driving skills – Bodyguards often drive their clients around. Aside from being a good driver, they must be able to drive evasively in a dangerous situation. This means driving safely at high speeds is needed. 
  • Firearms handling skills – Bodyguards carry firearms (when allowed by the law) as an added protection in cases of extreme danger. They must be comfortable carrying it around (often concealed) and skilled in using it when needed.
  • Combat training like martial arts or self-defense – In most cases, firearms are not available to protect against an enemy. Bodyguards must be well-trained in hand-to-hand combat to defend their clients. This is the last resort as close protection agents are trained to anticipate danger and evade it safely and discreetly. 
  • Good written and interpersonal communication skills – Protection agents must have keen attention to detail. They can recount situations clearly to the various people (like law enforcement) they will communicate with throughout their jobs. Apart from communicating with the client, they will regularly coordinate with others to ensure their client’s safety.  

Relevant Experience

Many protection specialists are veterans or police officers with experience handling difficult situations and knowledge of how to avoid them. They have demonstrated experience in the following areas:

  • Patrol and security
  • Customer Service
  • Private Investigation
  • Emergency Response
  • Military or Law Enforcement
  • Entry and Exit Point Control
  • Evasive Driving
  • Movement and Escort
  • Coordination with Law Enforcement
  • Crowd control

If you’re considering a job in executive protection, start by getting experience in the above areas. These will give you (and your future client) confidence that you know what you’re up against. 

Qualifications And Licenses

Different clients and security agencies may have different sets of qualifications, but the following are the most common ones they look for in a VIP protection agent:

  • Graduate from an executive protection school
  • Security guard license
  • Concealed Carry Firearm Permit
  • CPR/ First-Aid/ AED certificate
  • Post-secondary education
  • Active driver’s license
  • Passed a criminal background check and mental health check

Now that you know how to get into executive protection, spend time and resources accumulating these skills and experience. Enroll in VIP protection training and seek advancement in other relevant skills like driving, emergency response, close combat, and tactical firearms. Get the pre-requisite qualifications and make sure your licenses are constantly updated. 

Develop soft skills like problem-solving, communication, administration, teamwork, and planning. Remember that emergencies don’t happen all the time. Mostly, your role as a protection agent is to plan for impending danger and devise ways for it not to happen. 

Applying for Close Protection Jobs

Once you’re confident that you have the basic skills and experience required to become a close protection agent, your next task is to find out how to get into close protection job pools. Due to the sensitivity of this career, it can be tough to know where to start. There are generally two ways to start: become self-employed or join a security agency. 

You can begin building a network with security professionals, particularly those working in close protection. You can research security agencies and start reaching out to them. Job adverts for this kind of post are not mainly advertised, so you must be creative in finding these jobs. Moreover, word-of-mouth and networking are the easiest ways to land protection jobs.

Look for a mentor and work with them to expand your knowledge and circle. Be ready with your professional resume, highlighting your skills and qualifications for the job. 

Becoming a close protection agent is a fulfilling but demanding job. More than the glamorous perception and the perks they get, they protect lives and ensure people’s safety. 

Learn more about securing your life and assets by going through Security Forward’s blog section.

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