Explanation of security grades in South Africa

An explanation of security grades in South Africa starts and ends with PSIRA, the government body responsible for regulating the private security industry in South Africa.

The Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) is the organisation responsible for regulating the private security industry in South Africa.

One of its key functions of PSIRA is implementing the grading system for security guards.

Explanation of security grades in South Africa

The Grading System:

PSIRA grades range from E (entry-level) to A (highest level), each with defined roles and responsibilities:

GradeMain FunctionResponsibilitiesTraining DurationMinimum Age
EPatrol OfficerBasic access control, observation, and reporting40 hours18 years
DAccess Control OfficerManages access points, verifies credentials, and patrols designated areas80 hours18 years
CProtection of Information OfficerSupervises lower grades, performs access control at higher-risk areas, conducts searches, and handles basic administrative tasks120 hours18 years
BSupervisionSite or shift commander, managing patrol operations, coordinating responses, and reporting incidents160 hours21 years
AManagementOversees overall security operations, conducts risk assessments, implements security plans, and manages security personnel200 hours23 years


  • Specialization: Within each grade, guards can specialize in areas like armed response, VIP protection, or crowd control.
  • Qualifications: Certain grades require additional qualifications, such as first aid training or firearm proficiency.
  • Cost: Pricing for security services is often influenced by the guard’s PSIRA grade. Higher grades typically command higher fees.

Benefits of the Grading System:

  • Standardization: The grading system ensures a consistent level of training and competency across the industry.
  • Transparency: Clients can easily understand the level of expertise they are paying for.
  • Career Progression: The system provides a clear path for career advancement within the security industry.

Choosing the Right Security Grade:

The ideal security grade for your needs depends on various factors, including:

  • Security risk: High-risk environments requiring complex procedures demand higher grades.
  • Budget: Costs increase with higher grades.
  • Specific requirements: Consider specialized skills needed, like crowd control or first aid.

Overview of Security Grades

In South Africa, security officers are classified into different grades based on their training and qualifications.

An explanation of security grades in South Africa must therefor include a short explanation of the different grades.

These grades determine the salary of the guard and they are:

  • Grade E
  • Grade D
  • Grade C
  • Grade B
  • Grade A

Each ascending grade requires a higher level of training and denotes a higher skill set.

The grading system is designed to ensure that security officers are prepared for the specific responsibilities they will face in their roles.

Grade E: The Entry-Level

Grade E is the entry-level for security guards.

This grade covers the basic principles of security, including:

Individuals at this level are typically tasked with basic security duties such as access control and guarding.

Grade D: Intermediate Skills

Grade D builds upon the foundation of Grade E.

Key components of Grade D training include:

  • Advanced security practices
  • Use of security equipment
  • Basic first aid
  • Crowd control techniques

Security officers with Grade D certification often handle more responsibility, including managing lower-grade security staff.

Grade C: Advanced Skills and Supervisory Role

Grade C security officers possess advanced skills and are often placed in supervisory roles.

Their training includes:

  • Advanced first aid
  • Firearm handling (if applicable)
  • Incident management
  • Team leadership skills

Officers with this grade are responsible for supervising Grade D and E security officers and managing security operations at a basic level.

Grade B: Management Skills

Grade B certification is geared towards middle management in the security industry.

Training focuses on:

  • Advanced leadership and management
  • Operational planning
  • Risk assessment
  • Liaison with law enforcement agencies

Grade B officers typically manage large teams of security staff and oversee complex security operations.

Grade A: Senior Management

Grade A represents the highest level of security training.

This grade is reserved for senior management and includes training in:

  • Strategic management
  • Advanced risk management
  • Financial management
  • Organizational skills

Grade A officers are responsible for high-level security operations and often have a strategic role in security companies.

Chart: Security Grades and Competencies

GradeKey CompetenciesTypical Roles
AStrategic management, Risk assessment, Financial (Resource) managementSenior Management
BManagement, Operational planning, Risk assessmentMiddle Management
CAdvanced first aid, Incident management, Team leadershipSupervisory Role
DAdvanced security practices, Basic first aid, Crowd controlIntermediate Security
EBasic security practices, SA Legal system basics, Communication skillsEntry-Level Security

Significance of Security Grades

The grading system in South Africa’s private security industry is essential for several reasons:

  1. Ensures Professionalism: By requiring specific training for each grade, the system promotes professionalism in the industry.
  2. Enhances Security: Different grades ensure that security officers are equipped with the appropriate skills for their roles.
  3. Regulatory Compliance: It ensures compliance with PSIRA’s regulations, promoting industry standards.
  4. Career Development: The grading system provides a clear career path for security professionals.

The grading system for security guards is a most important part of providing effective security services in South Africa.

We hope that this explanation of security grades in South Africa will help you better understand what the important requirements are for becoming a security guard and that it will make it possible for you to make an informed decision about becoming a security guard.