You Can Fight in a War but Can’t be a Security Guard in Michigan

Published June 2, 2015

Michigan is tied for the nation’s most stringent licensing requirement to become a private security guard. To legally work in the field, a person must be at least 21 years old, hold a high school diploma, pay hundreds of dollars in fees and have experience in one of the following: three years as a security guard in another state (or four years as an employee of a security business), four years in law enforcement or two years in the military with an honorable discharge.

In other words, an 18-year-old can graduate from high school and sign-up to serve in the military, but if they wanted to take a job as a security guard at the shopping mall down the street, they have to wait a few years before being eligible.

The absurd amount of education and experience required in Michigan is much more than what is required in any other state. And only Nevada also demands a security guard wait until age 21 to legally work.

Meanwhile, 18-year-olds in Michigan can legally work as police officers and prison guards.

The Detroit News has a great editorial urging the Legislature to continue the work of cutting back overly stringent licensing requirements in Michigan. It notes:

Gov. Rick Snyder has established rules he says he’ll use to review bills and veto unwarranted licensing regulations. To pass his test, bills that would require a license must show substantial harm or danger to the public health, safety, or welfare; the occupation must involve highly specialized education or training; and the cost to state government for regulating the job must be revenue neutral.

Licensing laws drive up costs for consumers and harm people trying to find jobs by artificially limiting competition in the labor market (the poor often are disproportionately hurt). The state should only require a license if it can establish that licensure is needed to protect public health or safety.

Jarrett Skorup ([email protected]) is a policy analyst and Digital Engagement Manager at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. An earlier version of this news release was published at Used with permission.