Do you want to build a career as an armed bodyguard but don’t know how? If YES, here is a complete guide on how to become a personal bodyguard for a celebrity.
If you check the security section of online and offline job boards regularly, you will observe that the demand for bodyguards is increasing by the day, no thanks to the global increase in the rates of crime and insecurity. So, if you need a job and you have got some military training plus experience, then you should consider getting a bodyguard job. Chances are that a top business executive, or a top government official, or a celebrity, or any other high profile individual will employ you.
What is a Bodyguard?
A bodyguard (also called a close protection officer, security officer, or personal security) is a trained professional whose duty is to accompany and protect a high profile individual such as a celebrity, corporate executive, a political office holder, and a professional sportsman.
Being a bodyguard is more professional and tactical than what we see in movies. The job entails much more than having huge muscles and merely following your client closely. Working your way into a celebrity bodyguard career takes training, patience and lots of organization.
You will need to train your mind and your body by attending training courses to receive the required job related skills to work as a bodyguard. You also have to maintain your physical fitness level with a daily regime that targets both strength and endurance.
Take local bodyguard jobs to build a reputation as a reliable, fast thinking employee who is capable of handling emergencies. Take the tough jobs others pass on and show a willingness to go beyond the basic requirements.
In this post, we will be looking at what the job of a bodyguard entails, and how you can become a professional bodyguard. So without wasting your time, below are the requirements that you must have before deeming yourself fit to work as a bodyguard.
How to Become a Personal Bodyguard for a Celebrity – A Complete Guide
Types of Personal Security
Celebrities are known to employ different types of personal security contractors for different situations, including event security guards, armed and unarmed drivers, armed and unarmed personal security agents and full-time bodyguards who may even live at the celebrity’s residence to provide around-the-clock protection.
These celebrity bodyguard jobs are usually held by people who have have military or law enforcement experience. However, the close protection profession has developed methods and techniques distinct from those used in a military or law enforcement context, and they can be learned by anyone interested in the profession.
Duties of a Celebrity Bodyguard
If you would like to become a bodyguard for a celebrity, you will have to understand a number of specialized skills, some of which may not be directly related to security as much as protecting the celebrity’s reputation. The skills needed to work as a bodyguard are generally not learned in college, but at specialized bodyguard schools.
A day on the job for a Celebrity Bodyguard can include anything from escorting the client to dinner, business meetings, music video sets, shopping excursions, or award ceremonies. Often working in teams, the advance security team prepares an area for the client’s arrival by making an initial sweep of the location, ensuring its security before moving on to their next location.
The celebrity and bodyguard then arrive together—the bodyguard always careful to open the door and help his client out. Celebrity Bodyguards work with everyone from Managers, Agents, Attorneys, Personal Assistants, Promoters, Producers, Actors, Film Producers, Film Directors, Bar/Restaurant Owners, and of course, Celebrities.
Training Requirements You Need to Become a Bodyguard
Here are the training that you will need to order to become a celebrity bodyguard
i. Executive Protection Training: The Executive Protection Institute is an academy that trains people to become professional bodyguards. The academy offers courses in executive protection, handgun training including concealed carry and multiple attacker scenarios, business and legal issues for protection operatives and protection tactics.
Strategies that aim at mitigating or totally preventing risks are very important for celebrity bodyguards, as it is much better to protect the client by avoiding risk than by confronting it head-on. Many celebrities prefer their bodyguards to be as discreet as possible while conducting their duties, and the safety of the client can often be protected more effectively by planning the route carefully and scouting the location ahead of time, rather than by knowing how to win a gunfight.
ii. Close Protection Training: In some jurisdictions, there are requirements that a professional bodyguard must first obtain. For example, the executive protection course provided by the Executive Protection Institute meets the Personal Protection Specialist license requirements for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Usually, the training covers areas such as risk assessment, surveillance, hand-to-hand combat, negotiation, first aid and legal issues. There also may be media liaison training to work as a celebrity bodyguard.
Employment Prospects for a Bodyguard
Employment prospects are strong, for those with the necessary background, which isn’t everybody. In this career path of guarding celebrities, there is no entry level program, you start at the top of the game; you’re either qualified or you’re not. Successful applicants all come from the highest ranks of military service or are high-ranking, specialized veterans with a law enforcement background.
How Much Do Bodyguards Earn Monthly or Annually?
Bodyguards for celebrities can earn as much as $100 per hour and usually work 8-12 hour shifts. Earnings can vary based on the guard’s experience level and the level of security threat to the company. Celebrity Bodyguards can be assigned to higher status or higher threat clients as their experience grows. That means a larger paycheck. Celebrity Bodyguards can also open their own agencies, or be promoted to executive positions within the agency.
Becoming a Bodyguard – Qualities You Must Possess
1. You must have detailed knowledge of the profession
Before proceeding any further, you must ensure that the field of protection is suitable for you. Keep in mind that you will have very little time for yourself, family, and other commitments, as you will be in company of your client most of the time.
You must be detail oriented and keep a good personal appearance, yet, you must never attempt to dress better than a client but know what is appropriate wear and the right clothing for your environment. A personal bodyguard must have a positive attitude since you will work long, stressful hours, often with no thanks other than the fact that everyone is alive at the end of the day.
You need to know how to conduct yourself with a client and more importantly how to represent yourself with the client at all times. You are the closest person to the client at all times, and many times their direct representative. This allows you, the Protector, to always be “in position” and ready to act as necessary. You also have to bear in mind that any misconduct of yours when on duty can rub off negatively on the celebrity.
Also, keep in mind that working as a bodyguard entails lots of traveling and engaging in other endeavors for your client. Finally, remember that bodyguarding is a very risky profession. (I’m sure you understand what I mean.)
2. You must be of sound health
Becoming a professional bodyguard requires you to have a good health and smart shape. You should rarely have problems with your health and your senses of vision, hearing, and smell must be perfect. In addition, you must be psychologically sound. This is because you need to have a good sense of judgment and ability to make very quick decisions, especially in crises.
Physical health and strength are an absolute must to conduct a proper protective assignment. This line of work involves long hours that are mostly spent being on alert for dangerous situations. It takes a physical toll on the body each day and you must maintain your physical health and strength to properly survive as a bodyguard. You never know when an incident may occur and when you have to put into practice those physical attributes and strengths to remove yourself and your protected from a dangerous or given situation.
3. You must be well trained in defensive tactics
You must undergo an extensive physical and aptitude training in defensive tactics. This includes how to handle weapons, how to give first aid, and defensive driving. If you have had some military training or experience, these would have already become part of you. This is because armed forces and the police offer protection training to officers, as they are used as bodyguards to senior officers or other dignitaries.
However, if you have never had any military experience, you can contact your local police station for more enquiries on how to learn defensive tactics. Better yet, you can sign up for an online training course such as Bodyguard Training International. Defensive skills does not necessarily translate into martial arts skills. You do need to have the skill base to defend yourself and your client if necessary, but martial art skills are not your primary tool.
A lot of times, bodyguards and even clients think that because a bodyguard has all the martial arts belts, it translates that they will be safe. However, depending on your threat assessment and risk analysis, a good bodyguard should be able to keep the client safe in the first place without confrontation.
4. You must possess other security based skills
Even if you have had some military experience or have undergone training elsewhere, remember that you won’t need your defensive skills most of the time. Other skills you must have (and that you need more often) include effective communication and good human relation skills.
You should be able to communicate effectively with your clients both verbally and by way of gesture. You should also have solid writing skills. Good human relation skills are also important because most guests would get to meet you first before gaining access to your client, and how you respond to guests can make or mar your client’s reputation.
5. You must be licensed to be a bodyguard
The requirements for bodyguard licensing vary depending on your state or country’s laws. Before applying for a license, find out about the requirements and ensure that you have met them. In some countries, you must have had some military experience or professional training at a reputable agency before you will be issued a bodyguard license. However, in many other countries, no such requirements are required.
6. You must be Intelligent
Most of the time, your client will expect you to act without supervision. So, your ability to handle assignments independently is very important. This, of course, requires you to be very intelligent. In addition, you must be able to draw helpful conclusions and hints from both related and unrelated events. This will help you act in the right way and at the right time. Again, a high level of intelligence is required for this because misjudgment or wrong observation of situations usually lead to terrible consequences.
7. Trustworthiness and integrity
These two qualities are also very important because keeping information about your client confidential is necessary. This is because discussing your client’s lifestyle and practices may lead to personal damage and may put your client’s life at risk. This will also affect your reputation negatively. So, you must be very good at concealing secrets and trustworthy enough to conceal vital secrets even when tempted to divulge them.
8. Firearm Training: you can only carry firearm if you are legally allowed to do so. You may have to travel with your client to a country that will not allow to you to carry a firearm and as such, you must comply with their laws. If you are going to carry a firearm on a protective assignment, then have the proper training and, more importantly, the proper licenses and permits.
9. Basic Medical Knowledge: if you want to enter into this profession, then you will need to have a basic medical knowledge. At the most minimum level, a personal bodyguard should have CPR and basic first aid training. A training and certification as an emergency medical technician can go a long way.
This training can be received through most community colleges and there are also many private schools that provide the training. As a bodyguard, you will be more likely to have a medical incident than an outright assault with the personality you are protecting, and having a good medical background when that happens can save a life, even your own.
Advantages of Being a Bodyguard for a Celebrity
If you have always hated the idea of working as a bodyguard, you probably don’t know the benefits of taking the job. Here are 10 reasons why it rocks to be a bodyguard:
a. The fulfillment
If you are someone who loves to grab every opportunity to help others, then working as a bodyguard will give you some sense of fulfillment. Why not, when someone else has entrusted you with the safety of his or her life and property?
In years to come, if you look back on your life so far, you would be happy with yourself for having protected lives and property. And you won’t be regretting like Mikhail Kalashnikhov, the inventor of the AK-47 rifle, did when he said he wished he had invented something more beneficial like the umbrella.
b. A good starting point
If you take up a bodyguard job and you later leave the job for some reason (like getting a better offer), but on a good note, your next employer will deem you trustworthy. Who deserves to be trusted more than someone who has selflessly and diligently protected another individual’s life and property? So, working as a bodyguard with an employer and having a good track record makes you a “hotcake” that subsequent employers would readily hire.
c. Going places
As a bodyguard, you will be working with a high profile individual. So, you will be in their company almost all the time. Whenever they travel, you will go with them. And whenever they have meetings with other influential figures, you will be in their company.
So, being a bodyguard gives you the chance to visit places you would never have been if you were not one. And you will meet people you may never have met. If you are fortunate to work with an employer who travels frequently to other countries, you will really enjoy working as a bodyguard.
d. Living big
Depending on the relationship between your employer and you, working as a bodyguard can make you live like a king, courtesy of your employer. Most employers would offer you the chance to dine with them, enjoy music with them, go on vacation with them, and catch fun in other ways with them. Though, you may not be actively involved in these activities; so as not to get carried away.
e. Enhanced knowledge and skills
Depending on the tasks you handle for your employer, working as a bodyguard sharpens your senses and skills as well as increases your knowledge about many things. For instance, if you follow your employer to places where good knowledge and expertise is shared freely (such as board meetings, investment presentations and conferences), you will also “tap” from that. (Nobody can steal what you know from you).
f. No rigorous work sometimes
Some employers hire bodyguards just to avoid taking risks, not because they feel threatened or because they are in places where crime rates are high. If you work with such employers, you will have a swell time working as a bodyguard because there’s almost nothing to do, other than accompany your employer everywhere he or she goes. What’s sweeter than getting paid for less work?
g. Special privileges
As a bodyguard, you will get to enjoy some privileges by merely using the name of your employer. For example, if you need to write a letter to some higher authorities, having your employer’s signature as a referee or merely mentioning their name in your letter would accelerate the response. Although many people abuse this opportunity, you will enjoy it for a long time if you stay within bounds.
h. You can be a hero
Most employers would applaud and reward you if, on one occasion, you fought selflessly to protect them from violent criminals. (Of course, it’s just natural for people to appreciate and reward anyone who saves them from danger). It’s the same if you save your employer’s life by acting fast based on some logical deductions. They would always regard and respect you as a hero for as long as the episode lingers in their memories.
i. Increased intelligence
Working as a bodyguard helps you make reliable logical deductions from limited information within very short time. This is something that only intelligent people can achieve. And the more you do it, the more your intelligence increases. You get it?
Most times, your work as a bodyguard goes beyond keeping watch on your employer. Sometimes, you would be a driver. Sometimes, you would be a receptionist. Sometimes, you would be a secretary. The more you handle such side assignments, the better you become at managing multiple tasks simultaneously and effectively.
Disadvantages of Being a Bodyguard
It is a known fact that to every advantage, there is a corresponding disadvantage. If you are considering taking up a job as a bodyguard, then you need to know everything about the job before proceeding. Being a bodyguard has its pros and cons. And here, we won’t be looking at the rosy side; rather, we will be looking at the downsides of the job.
It doesn’t matter if you are working with a celebrity or a top business executive or a political office holder. The disadvantages are the same in all cases, irrespective of your client. And it’s very important that you know these disadvantages before taking up the job. Here are the disadvantages of being a bodyguard:
i. Highly risky
Ordinarily, this goes without saying, being a bodyguard is very, very risky. You are responsible for protecting and defending your employer against attacks and harm in all its ramifications. You will watch out for potential threats and protect your employer against them.
Sometimes, you may have to undertake very risky tasks just to evade danger. So the bottom line is, there would be times you will risk your life just to protect your employer and keep them safe. (That’s exactly what bodyguards are paid for).
ii. Little or no time for yourself
If you are such an individual who loves to hang out with friends or catch fun at the beach every day, you may have a hard time coping with being a bodyguard. This is because the job is very time demanding. You will have very little time for yourself, as you will be in the company of your employer most of the time.
iii. Loads of unexpected assignments
If you have been thinking that being a bodyguard only involves accompanying your employer in order to keep them safe, you are wrong. Granted, that’s your basic assignment, but there may be more to being a bodyguard than just that.
Sometimes you will have to play the role of a receptionist, sometimes a driver, sometimes a secretary, sometimes an errand boy or girl, and so on. Worse, these “special” assignments come when you are not expecting them! But it’s better to anticipate such even before taking up a job (so you won’t be surprised when you are given such tasks to handle).
iv. Meager pay
Although some bodyguard jobs are very lucrative, most are not especially when you are new to the profession and you don’t have much experience. In the US, the starting pay for most bodyguards is around $10 per hour. Now, that’s very meager when compared with the demands of the job and the risks involved. However, your salary as a bodyguard would increase markedly with time. Some highly experienced bodyguards could earn as much as $100 or more per hour.
v. It is hard to find better opportunities
When you are working with one employer, you will be very much occupied that you may not have time to search for better job opportunities. Even if you can find one, your employer’s demands may prevent you from applying or showing up for an interview. And that’s even if you are not too busy to find such opportunities.
vi. Physically demanding
Being a bodyguard requires that you are physically fit and that your health is sound. Most of the time, you will be engaged with physical activities such as walking, driving, and running. So, if your health is such that makes you to visit the hospital too often, working as a bodyguard isn’t for someone like you.
vii. Mentally depleting
Working as a bodyguard requires you to think very fast and make vital decisions based on intelligent conclusions. Even this mental workload could have a negative impact on you psychologically. So, if you are not someone with an impeccable ability to quickly link events mentally and handle several mentally demanding tasks at once, you may have a hard time coping with a bodyguard job.
viii. You are to blame for any harm to your client
Whether or not you get injured while trying to protect your employer is not an issue; the real issue is whether or not your employer is safe. You will be blamed for the slightest injury to your employer, even if you have strive very hard to prevent such from happening.
ix. Some people look down on bodyguards
In some places, people look down on bodyguards and see them as unimportant. Some people get annoyed when they try to reach your employer and you are getting in their way. These people see you as an “avoidable obstruction.” Even worse, some employers treat their bodyguards badly, they yell at them or blame them at the slightest opportunity they have.
x. Errors are not pardoned
Most employers would sack you for any slight error from you that they believe could have cost them their life, even if that isn’t the result. So, there’s hardly some security in the job; you can be fired anytime for mistakes that should be pardoned.
Now, what’s next? After ensuring that you have all the requirements discussed above, you may need to contact any protection specialist or search the internet for contact information of reputable, successful, and legitimate protection agencies around you. Having done this, contact the agencies with your credentials and apply for job as a bodyguard. Securing a job this way (through an agency) is easier than pitching your application on your own.
However, if there is no protection agency around you, search the internet or check your local newspaper for bodyguard job vacancies. Then pitch your application as directed.