How To Choose The Right School For You
Alright now, so, what should you be looking for when selecting a private security, personal protection, or executive protection school, and what type of questions should you ask?
- Are they legitimate?
- Do they have a business license to actually conduct business at their facility?
- Do they have the proper liability insurances in reference to the type of business they are conducting? (especially for training as dangerous as this).
- Does their facility meet the building codes?
- Do the surrounding key personnel know who they are and what they do? In other words, the local Sheriff, Police, County Court House, etc… There is no reason to have a school and conduct classes within the United States under secrecy. Call them and find out.
- Can you pay by Credit Card, Pay Pal, etc..? In today’s business environment with it so easy to conduct money exchanges there is no reason not to. This way you are sure your money doesn’t go off into the ether of the universe.
- Who are their instructors?
- Are their bios on the website?
- Can they set up a time to speak with one or more of them about the training, facility, and their backgrounds?
- Have they themselves been through the course, and can they teach each subject or are they simply a “specialist” for the class. Why would you take classes from someone who can’t do and teach all of the course, when they expect you to be able to know, do, and pass the entire course?
- Are they still operational? This is how they stay current. They should be used for who they are and not necessarily for whom they were.
- If they give you the old “Super Secret Squirrel” BS that you can’t meet them or talk to them, look somewhere else. Yes, if they are operational and depending on what they do when operational, they may have to use a different name or make sure they aren’t photographed. But there is no reason you can’t speak with them, after all they are teaching there, and you will see and meet them if you do decide to attend.
- What type of facility do they run the school out of? I have seen and heard all the horror stories. From class in someone’s basement eating McDonalds every day, to run down old houses and dilapidated yards, to tents in the desert, and even non-existent places that suddenly “had to be changed due to the situation and environment” so now we are in a rented room someplace. This is not a weekend making money type of work. There should be a dedicated facility designed specifically for this type of training.
- Are there current pictures of the training facility on the website?
- What is on the site exactly, and what training will be conducted off site, and why?
- If you happen to be in the area, or it is no great hassle for you to travel to it, can you visit the facility during normal operating hours? There should be no reason this cannot be coordinated. Again, if they give you the “Super Secret Squirrel” BS, then go someplace else. Now, naturally you must temper this with common sense. If you are going to a high end facility that trains people for government contracts, there may be some areas or training you cannot see. However, they should still be able to work something out.
- What type of equipment do they use?
- Are the weapons of the typical sort used on contracts today? Government contracts generally use Glock 17/19 pistols, Colt M4 Carbines or a similar model, Mossberg 500 Pump Shotguns, maybe even the Baretta M92. There are many others as well, but these mentioned are usual basic issue for Protective Security Specialists.
- How much ammunition is generally fired per weapon? Remember, being told that 3000 rounds of something is “allocated” simply means they have that much in reserve for you, it does not mean you will shoot that many rounds. I have heard firsthand accounts of courses using pellet guns, or shooting 6 rounds from a revolver and they certify you with weapons.
- Is the tactical equipment up to date and appropriate for the type of training you are receiving? Proper rigs with plates, tactical slings, drop leg and hip molded type holsters, Kevlar helmets, etc.. These are the types of equipment you will be issued to fight with, and you should always train the way you will fight.
- Are there dedicated vehicles for motorcade operations, tactical driving, etc.? Are there backups? Are they of the same type as is used on most government contracts? (generally suburban’s, Yukon’s, or the like)
- How many students are in the class, and what is the student to instructor ratio?
- The higher the student number, the less time they have for fixing any training difficulties with students.
- Cost? What you pay in regards to what you get.
- Compare the price of the course and what is offered to other schools.
- Ensure you compare schools that conduct similar training though. There are schools out there that offer you more in a weekend for $500 then we do in 30 days. That is pure power point and no practicals. There are courses for 2 weeks for $7–10K. You have to read issued manuals for weeks before, then you show up and there is a little theory and some demonstrations for 2 weeks and that is it.
- If you find a school that is dedicated to one type of training for a few days it is probably ok. For instance, a shooting class for 6 days and $3K, or tactical driving over 3–4 days and for around $3–4K. But when it comes to executive protection style course less than 3 weeks in length they are, for the most part, a waste of time and money.
Remember, this is your money and your livelihood. Do your research, prepare yourself with the proper questions before speaking with the representative of the company. Write down their answers, and if necessary call back with additional questions. Get proof and documentation of their business. Talk with recent graduates as well as those throughout the years and see what they have to say about the training and staff. Be diligent, be hard, and ask difficult questions. Most of all, if you have the capabilities, visit the site during a class and see the facility and training being conducted, this is the best overall indicator.
Good luck, and thanks for taking the time to read along.