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article / March 18, 2023

6 of the best executive protection training programs in the US

Behind every public figure, celebrity or senior company leader is a good executive protection agent. Because executive protection (EP) agents are responsible for the personal safety of people the world depends on, their duties go beyond those of a security officer. It’s a niche field with a specialized skill set, which means attending the right executive protection training program is crucial to their success.

We’ve rounded up six prolific executive protection agent training programs in the US, and some skills you should look for when screening agents. But first, let’s define the term.

What is executive protection?

Executive protection is a security service focused on protecting the well-being of a single individual or a group of individuals, usually high-ranking executives, public figures and their families. Duties can include: 

  • Providing escort and supervision (“close protection”) during events, work or travel

  • Monitoring premises, like an individual’s residence, work location or hotel room

  • Securing sites

  • Planning for potential threats

  • Deterring assailants 

What skills are important in an executive protection agent?

EP agents are unique in the industry because in addition to providing basic security services, they also need a particular set of advanced personal protection skills. Here are some qualities an outstanding EP agent should have:

  • First aid skills: Executive protection agent training should include basic first aid, including CPR, wound care, stabilization and transport. An EMT certification or at the very least a CPR certification is a must on an EP agent’s resume. 

  • Defense tactics: Keeping the protectee safe is their primary duty, so an EP agent should have proper defense training to deter an assailant. They should also know how to shield their client, allowing for escape. If you’re looking for an armed agent, they will need to have proper licensing to carry a weapon. 

  • Security planning: The best agents will do more than follow your senior leader up and down hallways. They will inspect sites before an event and plan ahead to resolve issues before they even materialize. Agents with a Special Forces or Secret Service background may have some of this training from their past careers.

  • Communication skills: Since EP agents usually only protect one individual at a time, they need to know how to build good relationships and trust with their clients. Agents who are good communicators may have better outcomes during an emergency, and their presence feels like less of an intrusion to your senior leaders. 

  • Tech-savvy: EP agents need to know how to use modern, integrated security hardware and software, including body-worn cameras which can capture valuable evidence in case an incident takes place, and less-lethal energy weapons, like TASER which can immobilize an incoming assailant, allowing enough time for the protectee to escape to safety.

The next most important thing after hiring a qualified EP agent is providing them with the right tools to do their job well. Axon has over 26 years of experience in developing solutions for law enforcement and corporate security, which means we know a thing or two about the subject matter. Our Axon 3 body-worn camera and TASER suite of products are widely accepted as an industry standard in law enforcement agencies. If you’re looking to update your security hardware or software, let us know how we can help.

6 of the best executive protection training programs

Executive Security International (ESI)

ESI offers one of the most well-known and respected executive protection training programs in the world. Founded in 1981 by marital arts instructor and EP agent to celebrities Bob Duggan, ESI has both a 28-day residency course on executive protection as well as a short three-day course on celebrity protection. 

Trainees learn how to work with high-net-worth individuals and integrate security planning into an organization’s everyday routine, including threat assessment, covert operations and surveillance. After completing the courses with at least a passing grade, the students receive a Certified Protection Specialist (CPS) credential. 

Length: 28-day residency course; 15-day residency course with nine online courses; three-day online celebrity protection course

Cost: Varies by program, $8,900 for 28-day residency

Location: Online and in Grand Junction, CO

Executive Protection Institute (EPI)

Founded in 1978, EPI bills itself as “The first credential-ready executive protection training.” One of the most sought-after and competitive executive protection training programs, EPI conducts two seven-day training courses per year in West Virginia. Attendees learn how to prevent and manage incidents, handle medical emergencies and communicate with clients and their team. 

EPI’s program focuses heavily on prevention and advanced planning, including teaching students defensive choreography and building vigilance. At the end of the seven-day program, students can apply for credentials with the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services (VA DCJS) and the Security Industry Authority (SIA).

Length: 7 days

Cost:  $3,990

Location: West Virginia (exact location varies)

LaSorsa and Associates

Founded by former Secret Service Agent Joseph A. LaSorsa, this executive training program is taught by Secret Service agents still active in the industry. The nine-day course focuses on practical skills to help aspiring EP agents conduct intelligence operations and practice defense tactics. First aid training, defensive driving and route planning are also taught as part of the training.

By the end of the program, trainees receive an online certificate of completion as well as a First Aid certification and an optional protective arms certification.

Length: 9 days

Cost:  $5,650, which includes accommodations and some meals

Location: Miami, FL

Pacific West Academy 

Pacific West Academy helps military veterans transition back to civilian life via their Certified Executive Security Specialist course. The program offers both in-class and physical training, with an emphasis on surveillance techniques, reaction drills and basic first aid. Students also go through TASER training and less-lethal conflict management.

Graduates receive a certificate of completion and can choose to take continuing education courses online.

Length: 39 days

Cost: $15,800

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Allied Universal Executive Protection Training Academy

Allied Universal is a multinational security company that offers security services to corporations and private individuals. They also provide an executive protection agent training course. Students can enroll in courses online and sign up to attend in-person workshops on defensive tactics, agent conduct and best practices, as well as firearms training. 

Length: 10 days

Cost: Reach out to Allied Universal Academy for a quote.

Location: Las Vegas, NV

Select International Training Institute

Eric Parker, a former US Army veteran, started Select International Training Institute to help entry-level EP agents gain a comprehensive set of skills in a short amount of time. The course covers everything from vehicle safety to mail screening to public relations and of course, defense training and protective intelligence.

The course ends with a mock detail exercise where graduates have the opportunity to put their new knowledge to the test.

Length: 5 days

Cost: $1,200 ($1,000 for veterans)

Location: Tampa, FL

Continue your education with Axon

We help law enforcement agencies and security professionals stay up to date on the latest technology and tools. Axon hosts TASER, VR, and software solutions courses and you can even apply to host a course with us. Learn more about the Axon Academy