Recently we were contacted by a gentleman asking about our executive protection training program for North Carolina. He had been referred to us by alumni and was interested in attending our next class so he could be licensed to provide EP services. But he was confused by our Executive Protection Training Standards, he was sure the state regulatory agency, the Private Protective Services Board only required a 40-hour program of instruction, so why did we have over seventy hours?
He wanted to attend the forty hours for the “certificate” and that was all. It simply made no sense to him to attend a class over the 40 hours, so he decided we were not the “right program” for him.
State Executive Protection Training Standards
What this gentleman was referencing was the state minimum standards required for a license to provide EP services. Note* So we understand what we are talking about here, minimum standards are defined as “a level of quality or achievement, that is thought to be acceptable as a minimum, and below which is unacceptable”, “It may also relate to or be referred to as acceptable, decent, ethical, or reasonable”.
The State of North Carolina assembled a group from across the security industry and they determined what the mandatory training for a license should consist of. That is, they determined the minimum standards. And as a strong supporter of standards we applaud the State for this effort. The new program is one we hope other states will consider and emulate because in the case of North Carolina it allows those interested in executive protection to work in the industry without the additional burden of becoming a licenced private investigator as previously the requirement and sets a standard for those entering the industry.
“If you’re going to enter into an industry that provides services to keep someone safe and alive I would point out that being someone who just does enough to meet the minimum standards isn’t going to impress many employers or clients”.
Matthew Parker, ISA CEO
Executive Protection Training Standards, January 31, 2024
In Troy E. Black, the 19th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps memorandum titled “Meeting the Standard” dated June 2021 there was this observation, “Ceiling vs. Floor”, “What we should not overlook is that the standard is not the ceiling it is the floor”. “The minimum end of the standard is the place where we get a foothold”, and “It gives us a solid platform to stand on as we reach the next rung”.
In this memo, the Sergeant Major points out “Marines need to be encouraged to exceed the minimum requirements and reach for the high end of the performance standard”. Well I would submit this philosophy of exceeding the standard best describes the executive protection agent as well as the US Marine. And this must start at the beginning of your career, start with every facet of what you do. Never set your objective or goal to simply meet or achieve the minimum standard.
In the exceptional article “Why You Should Make ‘Exceeding the Standard’ the Norm” written by Stew Smith for Military.com and published June 14, 2021, he points out “If you’ve gone through rigorous military training, you’ve likely heard the phrase: “Exceeding the standard is the standard.” That’s a mindset common in highly competitive programs where it’s hard to get accepted and even harder to complete.
This is the reason military veterans are in demand by employers, the exceed the standard mindset. So if you’re happy with just meeting minimum standards in your training how will that look to an employer?
Stew Smith notes “If you have the mindset to complete a challenging journey, chasing the minimum standard isn’t enough”. Well I would submit entering the executive protection industry is going to be a “challenging journey” and only meeting the minimum standards won’t get you far in that journey.
In the online article on Indeed, What Are Job Requirements? Updated July 19, 2023, and written by Camille Joson, she notes job listings will “describe what qualifications the employer is looking for in ideal candidates”. But she also mentions an open secret about the difference between minimum standards and the preferred requirements.
Well, let’s look at how a “minimum standards” agent fares in the job search. For instance, In this executive protection job listing on Indeed for Strategic Threat Solutions of Los Angeles four required qualifications stand out;
Note; C-Level executives require their EP drivers to be VDI graduates and government agencies and the military look to Joe and VDI for training and to discuss the training of their agents and drivers.
Snarky Comment; Oh, but you went where? That’s right, the minimum standards school whose course meets the state requirements but nothing more. But hey, it was less expensive and you didn’t go to class on a weekend.
So the job listings may not be kind to you Mr. Minimum, but let’s keep looking at that school you attended. Besides the state minimum does it help you earn or achieve more than one professional license, accreditation, or certification?
Well, that would be a no. You just completed 40 hours and have the state license covered but so what, so does everyone else who attended. How does your resume look any different?
But let’s for argument’s sake say you attended and graduated from the ISA executive protection course. Congratulations, you just earned credentials in another state other than North Carolina, and that state’s credential is honored in multiple locations. You just completed a program that is approved for law enforcement and federal government agencies, accredited for continuing education credits with some college and university programs, earns you the required continuing education credits for private sector security and exceeds the state-mandated training standards.
Your resume now says licensed to provide services in multiple states, your state certified as a Personal Protection Specialist and your certificate has multiple state stamps or ID course numbers. Oh, by the way, this program is endorsed by an extremely well-respected national organization the International Foundation of Protection Officers.
So how about it Mr. Minimum, are you ready to exceed standards for no other reason but to get a job ahead of the other minimums?
In the article Meeting The Standard: Good or Bad by Charles “Rocky” Lippold published September 22, 2015, he points out for the company owner “Standards are a large part in the success of your firm and no matter if they are published or unwritten everything you do has a standard”. “You can have a firm that strives to meet the standard or one which starts from the standard and excels from there”.
So if your company provides executive protection do you want to be the company known as meeting standards or exceeding them? When your client or industry peers discuss your services with others do you want them to say “They do or accept the minimum”?
Ques; When you renew your liability insurance do you consider the training of your team? How many claims or lawsuits are you prepared to risk because you hired the minimum agent?
Ques; When you market your services, do you say hire us, we meet the state standards, or our agents are experienced and trained beyond the state requirements or meet the highest standards in the industry?
For the purpose of a comparison we used our training program vs the 40-hour variety, but there may be other highly regarded training providers fully accredited and exceeding the state standards of North Carolina.
We strongly encourage anyone entering the executive protection industry to do their due diligence, talk to hiring managers, look at job listings, and ask questions.
Matthew Parker is a licensed private investigator and professional dignitary and executive protection specialist with over seventeen years of executive and dignitary protection experience. Since his retirement in 2011 after twenty years of service with the US Army, he has been the Chief Executive Officer and the Director of Training for Independent Security Advisors LLC, a certified disabled veteran-owned company.
Mr. Parker is a Department of Defense certified master instructor and state certified law enforcement instructor serving as the course lead and master instructor for programs of instruction relating to dignitary & executive protection and terrorism.
These executive protection training programs developed by Mr. Parker are currently awarded law enforcement or state regulatory accreditation in six states, recognized for college credit, and received the first-ever endorsement by the International Foundation of Protection Officers.
Mr. Parker is also a graduate of the Federal Law Enforcement and US Army Law Enforcement Training Academy’s and has received specialized training in instructional design and training, close protection, physical security, and counter/anti-terrorism.
Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. [email protected].
Executive Protection Agent- job post Strategic Threat Solutions Los Angeles, CA
Charles “Rocky” Lippold, MBA, is the owner of Show Me Financial Solutions
Troy E. Black, the 19th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps memorandum titled “Meeting the Standard” dated June 2021
Camille Josonl; Camille Joson is a Senior Associate Attorney
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