According to the California Contractors State License Board, you need a separate permit to improve your home. And we’re not talking of only additional structures, but also with certain electrical works. However, as a DIY homeowner, do you need a license to install security cameras around your property?
Well, as you may know by now, a good home security camera system is no longer a luxury, but a need. True, many Americans are still surviving without, but it’s a crucial home improvement if you want to heighten the safety of your loved ones.
As by the law, however, most states require the integrator to have a separate license to install the CCTV, burglar alarms, electronic access control, or all three systems. However, each of the states has varying requirements, in which case you’ll even take an examination of the respective field.
Note the Difference Between Permit and License
Usually, many people use these two terms interchangeably. However, a security camera or alarm system license is very different from a permit.
If we can start with the permit, the idea is to register the system of your home or business with the city or county government. Your security system will receive its unique registration number, which will help guide emergency services to your home in the event of an incident.
On the other hand, a security camera license is mostly for professional technicians and monitoring companies. It helps show that the respective integrator has the permission to provide services in and within that area. The said services can be surveying the property that needs the security camera system and or installing them.
Part 1: Security Camera System Permit
First of all, as a homeowner, you only need to worry about the security system permits- not the license. However, it’s perfectly legal to put up your wireless security camera system on your own without getting a permit. You just have to make sure you’ve followed all the crucial laws on surveillance cameras, or else you’re subject to heavy fines/ damages or up to one-year imprisonment.
Sadly, however, it’s not all CCTV systems that are legal to install without a permit. If it’s wired security cameras, you may need to get a separate permit for electrical wiring. This will help ensure your project complies with the minimum standards to protect against injuries and damages. Thus, saving you from heavy fines in case anything happens.
More on that, you could end up paying a fine if your system has a sounding alarm but doesn’t have the official approval. Of course, the applicable law focuses on alarm systems, but various CCTV has a built-in siren nowadays. Swann security cameras and also Ring Floodlight are great examples.
Do You Need An Alarm Permit For Your Security Camera Siren?
As was mentioned earlier, various local governments have different requirements when it comes to security system permits. For instance, Miami-Dade county provides that you must register your residential or business “alarm” systems. That includes all the systems that are under professional monitoring or self-monitored but have sirens or flashing lights that will cause the police to respond.
In a nutshell, a security system permit’s really crucial, albeit that also depends on how you look at it. If you’d like the police to swiftly respond to your distress call, then that permit is a must. In some places like New Orleans, the police department can even suspend alarm response if you don’t have a permit.
As was mentioned, the security system permit will register your home address under a unique number. It’s this number the responders will use to identify and contact you to verify if the alarm is genuine or not.
When it comes to the question of fees, every local government also operates differently. You can be charged as per the type of security systems you have, namely single or complete units, and either as a one-time payment or yearly renewal.
For example, Miami-Dade county requires you to pay $25.00 for registration and an annual charge fee of $15. See the permit fees from other local governments below.
|Colorado Springs||Municipality||$24.00||One Year|
|San Diego, California||City||$10.00||One Year|
|Rye, New York||City||$50.00||One Year|
|Tempe, Arizona||City||$10.00||One Year|
|Fayetteville, Arkansas||City||$0.00||One Year|
|Geneva, Illinois||City||$0.00||One Year|
|New Orleans,||City||$0.00||One Year|
|Savannah, Georgia||City||$12.00||One Year|
|Baltimore, Maryland||City||$0.00||One Year|
|Clark, Washington||County||$20.00||One Year|
For more details on the fees of the security alarm permit of other cities and counties, you can visit your local government offices or the official website.
Note, you may want to equip a separate alarm system if your security cameras don’t support professional monitoring or a dispatch siren. The alarm system must also be working properly, including the control panel that alerts the authorities.
Part 2: Security Camera System License
As we already said, you don’t need to have a license to install a security camera system in your residential or business property. The license is for the professional technicians, which, by the way, must be acquired before providing any services.
Similar to permits, the process to get a security system license varies across various local governments. However, this certification is mostly with the state agencies instead of the city and county governments. A good example is the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services for the State of California.
In addition to that, the agencies that give the licensure require the applicants to meet the requirements before approval. Some of these requirements include:
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Pass the relevant examination and complete the short training course that follows.
- Pass the criminal history background check through the Department of Justice and FBI
- Have at least two years (or 4,000 hours) of experience in a recognized alarm company
- Have a clean slate as per the Alarm Company Act. That means you must have committed
no offense or violated the act in any way.
Note, you can apply for the license to install security cameras under a corporation (as a qualified manager) or an individual qualified agent. If it’s the latter, most of the states will only be interested in your age, licensing examination, and background check.
So, Do you need a license to install security cameras
Despite all we’ve said so far, it’s not all states demand an agent license to install CCTV or burglar alarm systems. A few examples include states like Colorado, Ohio, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Missouri, New Hampshire, Kansas, and Kentucky.
As for the rest of the states, the requirements and procedure to obtain the license to offer video surveillance services varies. Here are a few examples:
In California, you must get a license before you start installing CCTV, burglar alarms, or electronic access control systems for your clients. However, the state can only give you the documentation after you pass the relevant alarm-related exam and the criminal history background review.
The examination is usually based on the C-7 Low Voltage Systems that covers CCTV configuration and installation. Or C-28 Lock and Security Equipment paper if your license is for electronic access control systems.
In Alabama, each of the three types of security systems requires a unique license. As such, you’ll need separate licenses to install security cameras, burglar alarms, and electronic access control units. But before you can get that license, you’ll need to prove the completion of the relevant NTS training course.
In Arizona, it’s not easy to get a license to install CCTV or burglar alarm systems. Why is that? Well, you first have to pass two examinations, with one on business management and the other technical field on the general electronic knowledge, alarms, PA systems, digital communication systems, et cetera.
After you’ve passed the exams, register with the Arizona Board of Technical Registration, which is the body to review your licensure eligibility. Once your application goes through, you can now apply for your license, which also includes you obtaining the worker’s compensation assurance cover.
In this state, you also must get the official documentation before you start installing security cameras and burglar alarms for your clients.
Before you can get that license, though, you must pass the background check, just as with the other states. Then, you’ll need to complete and pass the 6-5 Limited Electrical Contractor exam, which covers security systems, videos systems, access controls, and general electronic knowledge.
In Louisiana, there are about three types of licenses that you can get so you can start installing security cameras or electronic access control. The first license- let’s call it Type A, requires you have proof of completion of the NTS Level II course. You can also get a license to work if you have completed the NTS level I course, but you must be under the supervision of a “senior” technician. The “senior” technician in this case is a qualified agent who has completed the NTS
Level II course.
Apart from Type A, you can also install CCTV in Louisiana if you have the Type A-2 license. In this one, the state requires you have completed the ESA/ NTS certified alarm technician Level II course or the ESA/ MTS Advanced Intrusion Systems course and NICET Level II.
Similarly, you cannot install security cameras in Virginia without the necessary license. But to get that license, you must first verify your background check. Then, complete a 14-hour training if you’re applying as an Electronics Security Technician. If you’re obtaining the license as an Electronic Security Technician’s Assistant, you’ll undergo 4 hours of state-approved training.
For the license procedure and requirements from other states, you can visit the respective office in person or their official website
Key Takeaway: Acronyms Used In the Article:
CCTV: closed-circuit television
PA Systems: public address systems
NTS: National Training School
ESA: Electronic Security Association
NICET: National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies
As you can see, you don’t need to get a license to install security cameras in your own home. The law’s only subject to those who wish to share their adept services with members of the community. And even then, some states still have no license requirements unless it’s a large monitoring company.
As a homeowner or business operator, what you may need to register is a permit for having your security camera. Of course, the responsible departments require all those systems with an audible alarm. But you could also take advantage of the professional monitoring service that came with your CCTV and get the permit.
Even though the security alarm permit will help ensure the police respond to your distress call on time, it still has its drawbacks. One of these drawbacks is a false alarm, which could subject you to heavy fines and penalties. So, you have to make sure your systems are working properly at all times to keep the false triggers as low as possible.