Q: What is Act 235?

A: Visit Pennsylvania State Police PDF doc here:
Act 235 is essentially the the training required to be armed or unarmed security in Pennsylvania. Some employers do hire non-certified personnel in unarmed capacities but these individuals would be considered proprietary private security with no real difference than an employee who has been designated "security." In most cases these employers have "hands free" policy or "hands off" in that security simply observes and reports. Although it is always good policy to keep your hands off patrons and customers here it would be important here.

Q: What types of jobs can I get?

A: Armed & Unarmed Security Officer, Private Investigator (required for PI License), Fugitive Recovery Agent (working for bondsmen etc.), Body Guard, Security Details like in motorcades, Security on Nuclear Power Plants, Private Schools, Hospitals, etc.

Q: What is involved in Act 235 Training & Certification?

A:  The course consists of 3 modules for armed security and 2 modules for unarmed security.

  1. Academics: Crimes codes, powers of arrest, use of force, identifying misdemeanors and felonies, scenarios and real-life drills and exercises, legal authority, constitutional restrictions report writing and more.

  2. Skills: Baton, Handcuffing and more.

  3. Firearms: Safety, cleaning, loading and unloading, qualification course of fire.

One can achieve a "L" card = without firearms or an "F" card = with firearms. Some employers only want L cards and some require F cards. We suggest F card unless otherwise needed. If you attempt to get the F card but for example fail the firearms qualification course or are unsafe with a may only obtain the L card. You can inquire should you fail the firearms part regarding retesting for the F card.

Q. How long does the full F Card Act 235 class take?

A: Act 235 F card takes 40 hours and L card takes approx 26 hours.

Q: When are classes scheduled?

A: Classes are held in weekday stretches of 40 hours usually (4) 10 hour days. Or, classes run on weekends in 2 consecutive weekends 10 hours per day.

Q: If I get an L card can I upgrade to an F card?

A: Yes. You will take a 14 hour class.

Q: What does it cost for everything to get my Act 235 F Card?

A: Psychological / Physical / Finger Prints = Approx $230, Act 235 class, state fee, etc = Approx $400
The DOCTORS require cash payment only and LEASOT requires cash or credit card for the
actual Act 235.

Q: How do I get started?

A: see here: Getting Started

Q: Do I need to bring my own firearm?

A: You can bring your own or we can provide one. We also have holsters available. The firearm should be 9MM or larger and a firearm that you feel comfortable with.

Q: Do I need to bring ammunition?

A: Now we provide ammunition. You will let us know what types of ammunition you need and we will have it the week of training.

Q: What else do I need to bring for the full 40 hour class?

A: We can provide the following if you do not have it however, if you have it then bring it:

  • Baseball type hat to protect from brass shell casings dropping in your face etc.

  • Eye and Ear protection

  • Your firearms that you want to be certified with - 9MM or larger.

You will also need to bring payment, your approval letter to attend the class, a form of identification such as drivers license etc.

Q: If my PSP approval letter has expired can I still attend class?

A: No, you will need to do the Psyc and Physical and application process again and wait for
the approval letter.

Q: How long does the Act 235 certification last once certified?

A: 5 Years

Q: Do I need to do any firearms qualifications during the 5 year certification?

A: No, however, we recommend that you train and practice regularly.

Q: I am retired Law Enforcement, can I get any time shaved off or possibly get 235 without taking the class?

A: No, the reasoning is such that you must re-learn civilian powers of arrest/detainment and learn how to do this job now that you are no longer active law enforcement.

Q: What is the Fugitive Recovery Class about?

A:  Training focuses on physical aspects of fugitive recovery including room entry and handcuffing.
Training focuses on US Supreme Court Decision (Taylor vs. Taintor, 16 Wall 366). Fleeing Fugitives and lawful recovery.

Q: Do I need Act 235 certification to take the Fugitive Recovery Class?

A: Yes, Act 235 certification is the pre-requisite for nearly all advanced classes we provide.

Frequently Asked HR218 Questions

Retired Law Enforcement Officers Identification and Qualification Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  Do I need a new identification card annually along with the qualification card?

A: No.  The identification card issued by your former law enforcement employer will not be assigned an expiration date. You are only required to request a new qualification card if you desire to carry a firearm under the Act 79 (Retired Law Enforcement Identification Act) when the old one expires.

Q:  I retired prior to the effective date of the new regulation.  Is the identification card issued to me before the regulation was passed valid if it does not contain all of the information required in the regulation?

A: No. Law enforcement officers retiring prior to the effective date of the new regulation (37 Pa. Code, Chapter 221), can request a new identification card from their former law enforcement agency, pay the required fee, and receive the new identification card within 60 days of the request [37 Pa.
Code §221.23 (b)].

Q: My agency will not issue an identification card to me.  Can I still obtain a qualification card?

A: No. A firearms instructor cannot qualify nor issue a qualification card to an individual who does not have an identification card issued by a law enforcement agency defined in the Act.

Q:.  Is the course of fire the same course successfully completed when actively working as a law enforcement officer?

A: “A retired law enforcement officer shall meet the firearms standards established by the public agency from which the law enforcement officer retired or the guidelines established by the Commission to carry a firearm of the same type as the concealed firearm that the officer intends to carry” (37 Pa. Code §221.33 (c). The current Commission firearms qualification guidelines are available on our website at by clicking on the link FAQs, and then firearms requirements 

Q:.  What other types of training are required for qualification?

A: Firearms qualification will include instruction on the use of force by a civilian found in 18 Pa. C.S. Chapter 5 (relating to general principles of justification) the Crimes Code.  [37 Pa. Code §221.33 (c)]

Q:  What fee can a firearms instructor charge for providing training and qualification?

A: The law is clear, certified law enforcement firearms instructors can set the fee based on what the market will bear.  There will be many firearm instructors participating in the program statewide.  Retired officers may benefit from contacting several individuals from the list of qualified instructors (available by county) to get the best training at the most reasonable fee.

Q:.  How do I obtain a new qualification card if the one I am issued gets lost?

A:  According to the regulations for the administration of the program, “If your qualification card is lost, stolen, destroyed, mutilated or becomes illegible,” the retired officer may obtain a replacement qualification card by requesting one from the firearms instructor who conducted their original qualification.  The retired officer is responsible for paying the required fee as set by the firearms instructor.  Another option would be to re-qualify with a different certified police firearms instructor.  [37 Pa. Code §221.34 (a)]

Q:  I am a retired law enforcement officer. Why does the new regulation require a background check?

A: The new regulation follows specific guidelines already stated in the federal law on this subject. The background check covers the post retirement period and is required to be updated annually.

Q:  I retired from a law enforcement agency in another state, obtained identification and qualification cards in that state before relocating to Pennsylvania. Do I need to obtain a qualification card in Pennsylvania if I received both cards in the state where I worked as a law enforcement officer?

A:  No. As long as you met the other state’s standards for training and qualification within the most recent 12-month period, you will not be required to obtain a qualification card for that year in Pennsylvania [18 U.S. §926C (c) (5)]. If you continue to reside in Pennsylvania after the qualification card expires, you may qualify in Pennsylvania with a firearm through an instructor recognized by the Commission and obtain a qualification card. Until that time, you must carry the identification card and qualification card from the state issued if you carry a concealed weapon.

Q: When do I have to request a new qualification card and new identification card?

A: You must request a new identification card from the law enforcement agency from which you retired when information has changed or when the original identification is stolen, destroyed, mutilated, or becomes illegible. A new qualification card must be requested from the certified firearms instructor providing the instruction and qualification when information changes or the original qualification card is lost, stolen, destroyed, mutilated, or become illegible.