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How to Get Started as a Bodyguard for Celebrities

The role of a bodyguard is to protect people who are typically wealthy, famous, political figures, and other at-risk persons and sometimes to protect their property. To become a bodyguard, you need to possess or acquire a broad range of skills in order to be considered for the job.

When I was in the military working as a special agent for both the Air Force Office of Special Investigations and for Army CID, I spent time as a protective services agent, also known as a bodyguard. I have had the pleasure of guarding countless generals and politicians as well as Oprah Winfrey, Colin Powell, Norman Schwarzkopf Jr, Kevin Costner, Barbra Streisand, and others, so I know what I am talking about.

The most successful and in demand bodyguards are loyal, possess above average intelligence, and have the ability to maintain a constant awareness of their surroundings as it pertains to the individual being protected. They must have excellent powers of observation, outstanding listening skills, the social skills necessary to work as part of a team, and be able to remain calm even in chaotic situations. In addition, bodyguards must be physically fit and process the ability to make fast and appropriate decisions followed up by decisive action under stressful conditions.

Being a bodyguard is a serious job that should only be undertaken by serious people. Essentially, bodyguards are personal protection officers. Lives and valuable property may be at stake, and the decisions you make when acting on behalf of your client will have far-reaching implications.

How to Qualify as a Bodyguard

Prior to earning the classification of a certified “bodyguard” you must undergo extensive training. Most bodyguards either have experience in the military or in law enforcement, however, this criterion is not mandatory. Anyone who is willing and determined to complete the requisite bodyguard training can break into the field. All it takes is a bit of determination and commitment. Some of the training you can expect to receive includes, but is not limited to:

During your training your knowledge about the responsibilities and risks of becoming a bodyguard and offering personal protection services will increase. Internalizing that knowledge as much as possible will help you cope with many of the real-world threats you might encounter.

How to Get a Bodyguard Job

Most bodyguards are almost always hired through a private security agency. Clients feel more comfortable working with an agency than directly with individuals because agencies give them an added level of accountability, provide training for its employees, and the ability to bring additional resources to bear if needed. Agencies are the middlemen between the client and the bodyguard. However, you can start your own bodybuilding company, but I recommend you do some time working for someone else and learning the business.

If you’re seriously interested in becoming a bodyguard you should try searching online for “Security,” “Detective Agencies,” “Bodyguards,” and “Close Protection.” I am sure you will find lots of information. If you have prior bodyguard training and experience, or experience in law enforcement or the military you’ll find that arranging for an interview won’t be very difficult. And even if you do require training, there may still be plenty of opportunity for you to become a bodyguard.

Having been a team leader for several movie stars, generals and politicians during protective service operations, I can tell you that it is demanding work. If you really want to become a bodyguard that is assigned to celebrity escorts you will need to know some important tips.

Celebrity protection is the opposite of traditional bodyguarding

Looking after executives is normally low visibility and very planned with every meeting organized in advance. However, celebrity bodyguarding requires high visibility details and numerous unplanned activities. Here are some tips.

  1. Practice your risk assessments and team escort drills to build in maximum flexibility for sudden detail changes. Anything between a sudden nightclub visit or unknown photo op with people on the rope lines. Adapt and adjust during every escort.
  2. Celebrities often want the bodyguards to look similar to their management group as appearance is important to the celebrity. With all the photographs and journalists hanging on every moment, the celebrity does not want the bodyguard to draw attention away from him or her. Research some of these celebrities’ lifestyles and consider if you would want to dress or act like they do.
  3. Join a Personal Protection stable in your country. Few people know this but celebrities will bring their own close protection expert and rely a lot on the local stables to fill the rest of the team roles.

    What is a stable? A bodyguard stable is a group of protection operatives that are all known and tested by a well-known bodyguard team leader. That means, if the team leaders know your work, you are more likely to be picked when they get the call. Get to know who the team leaders are in your town or city and work your way up by proving you are reliable and trustworthy.

  4. If you strictly want to do celebrity protection you may want to start working in the hottest nightclubs as security. Not only does this keep your skills sharp, you are more likely to be included in the security team when a celebrity makes an impromptu visit. If you act professionally and not get starstruck, you may find yourself being asked to get on the bodyguard register for the protection team.
  5. Register with the International Bodyguard Association, which bills itself as “The Oldest & Largest Bodyguard Organisation in the World.” It is an international non-governmental organization founded in 1957. With association membership you go onto the database when teams are being assembled and it is great way for new protection operatives to get a start without much experience.
  6. Of course, registering with the television stations is a must. Often the station will have their own bodyguard teams, but your break could be when someone else is sick or the team is overbooked. Find out which manager is responsible for booking security details and start by introducing yourself.

If you are not qualified or trained as a bodyguard, first get some quality training, then start with basic details and build your experience.


A career in the close protection services may not be for everyone but with the right training, drive and enthusiasm you can ensure that your passion to become a bodyguard starts off on the right foot by obtaining good training. Hopefully this article gave you just a little about how to get into the profession of protecting celebrities.

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