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Model Electronic Security Licensing Language for States


DISCLAIMER: This model was developed through the cooperative effort of subject matter experts that represent national and regional ESA members and was reviewed by other low-voltage industry experts. This model should not be viewed as proposed legislation in any jurisdiction, but serves as a model for crafting such legislation where stakeholders desire more uniform licensing requirements for the electronic security and life safety industry that recognize the latest developments in technology.


  1. Licensing Board
    1. 1. Composition
      1. There is created a state board for licensing Electronic Security Contractors, called the "board" in this chapter. The board shall be composed of seven (7) members, to be appointed by the governor. At least one (1) member shall be a person who is not engaged in the contracting business in any county of this state. The remaining members of the board shall be Electronic Security Systems contractors as defined in -------, all of whom shall have been actively engaged in the business for a period of no less than four (4) years preceding their appointment and may be appointed from lists of qualified persons submitted by interested electronic security organizations, including, but not limited to, the ---------- Electronic Security Association.
      2. To constitute a quorum a majority of members must be present to conduct business.
      3. The governor shall consult with interested groups including, but not limited to, the organizations listed in subdivision (a)(i) to determine qualified persons to fill positions on the board.
      4. All subsequent appointments of successor members shall be made by the governor at the expiration of the respective terms of the members.
      5. In the event of a vacancy on the board for any reason and the governor failing to appoint a successor within ninety (90) days after the vacancy occurs, the board is empowered to fill that vacancy from lists of nominees submitted by the interested electronic security organizations described in subsection (a), until the governor makes an appointment.
    2. Powers and duties
      1. The board shall promulgate rules that may be reasonably necessary to implement and administer this chapter in an efficient and effective manner, including rules to require submission of reports and information by certified companies, licensees and registrants under this part.
      2. The board has the power to establish fees sufficient to pay the annual expenses of the board.
      3. The board shall determine minimum qualifications or establish minimum education, experience and training standards for applicants for Certifications and licenses under this chapter not inconsistent with other statutes, including those required for renewal.
      4. All persons required to be licensed, certified or registered by this chapter and who physically perform work within this state shall apply with the board within thirty (30) days after employment and shall submit to a background check conducted by the board, including a national criminal history check.
      5. The board shall conduct investigations regarding alleged violations and make evaluations as may be necessary to determine if licensed companies, licensees and registrants under this chapter are complying with this chapter.  The board may also investigate allegations regarding possible violations of this chapter by unregistered persons and shall seek enforcement under state statutes.
      6. The board may investigate allegations regarding improper, inadequate or ineffective Electronic Security System installations and seek enforcement under state statutes.
      7. The board has the power to promulgate rules and regulations not inconsistent with the laws of this state that it deems necessary for internal management and control.
      8. The board shall investigate and approve applicants to be licensed, certified or registered according to this chapter.
      9. The board may deny, suspend or revoke any license, Certification or Registration issued or to be issued under this chapter to any applicant or licensee who fails to satisfy the requirements of this chapter or the rules and bylaws established by the board.
      10. The board may issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of pertinent books, accounts, records and documents.
      11. To the extent that any other state, which provides for the licensing of Electronic Security Contractors, qualifying managers and licensed or registered employees provides for similar action, the board may grant licenses, without examination, of the same classification to an Electronic Security Contractor, qualifying manager, and licensed or registered` employee who has been licensed by such other state for at least one year, and upon the board being furnished with proof that the qualifications of the applicant are equal to the qualifications of holders of similar licenses in this state.  Provided further that the other state's statutes provide for criminal background checks and educational or experience requirements equal to or greater than those contained in this chapter.  The board through regulations shall establish Registration and fee requirements for such Endorsements. The fees shall be equal to or no less than those fees paid by (name of state) Electronic Security Contractors.
      12. The board shall provide a procedure for the renewal of Registrations issued under this chapter.
    3. License – Fees; Issuance; Renewal
      1. The board shall issue licenses authorized by this chapter to all qualified individuals in accordance with rules or regulations established by the board.
      2. Any license granted pursuant to this chapter shall be issued for a two-year period and shall expire on the anniversary date of the license issuance, unless it is renewed pursuant to regulations established by the board or unless it is suspended or revoked.
      3. The license fee shall be determined by rule of the board.
      4. An affirmative vote of a majority of board members shall be required before any action to suspend or revoke a license, to impose a sanction on a licensee, or to levy a monetary penalty. A board member shall disqualify himself or herself and withdraw from any case in which he or she cannot accord fair and impartial consideration.
  1. Definitions
    1. “Access Control” means the control of persons, vehicles and materials through entrances and exits of a controlled area or Building.
    2. “Alarm” means one or more detection devices connected to a control device, which would indicate an intrusion, a warning of abnormal conditions in a machine or system, a condition showing a sensor has changed from the normal condition, or a warning of a life safety danger.
    3.  “Building” means any structure used or intended for supporting or sheltering any use or occupancy
    4. "Certification" means the process of issuing an official acknowledgement from the Board that attests to the training, aptitude and qualification of persons required to obtain certificates in this chapter.
    5. “CSAA” means the Central Station Alarm Association, also known as The Monitoring Association.
    6. “Dwelling” means a Building that contains one or two Dwelling Units used, intended or designed to be used, rented, leased, let or hired out to be occupied for living purposes.
    7. “Dwelling Unit” means a single unit providing complete, independent living facilities for one or more persons, including permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking and sanitation.
    8. “ESA” means the Electronic Security Association, formerly known as the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association.
    9. “Electronic Camera” means a camera connected to an Electronic Security System used for monitoring or recording areas for the purposes of enhancing safety, monitoring restricted areas or equipment to discourage theft and other criminal activities, and for preventing, investigating and resolving incidents.
    10. “Electronic Security Contractor” means any individual, sole proprietorship, firm, partnership, association, limited liability company, corporation, or other similar entity who provides or undertakes to
      1. (i) install, service, maintain, design, repair or consult in the design of any electronic security equipment to an end user;
      2. (ii) respond to or cause a response to electronic security equipment for an end user; or
      3. (iii) have access to Proprietary Information concerning the design, extent, status, password, contact list, or location of an end user's electronic security equipment.
    11. “Electronic Security System” means an assembly of equipment and devices designed and arranged to signal the presence of an event requiring urgent attention, such as:
      1. Unauthorized entry, panic, robbery in a Dwelling or Building, or;
      2. Fire, smoke, carbon monoxide or other hazardous airborne substances in a Dwelling.
    12. “Electronic Security Technician”, means an individual who installs, services, maintains, designs or repairs electronic security or life safety equipment.
    13. “Endorsement” means a valid and current certificate issued by the Board, which shall give the certificate holder the authority to engage in electronic security or life safety work of the kind described and authorized by the Endorsement.  
    14. “Life Safety System” means a system or portion of a combination system consisting of components and circuits arranged to monitor and annunciate the presence of fire, smoke, carbon monoxide or other hazardous airborne substances and signal initiating devices to initiate appropriate response to those signals.  A Life Safety System does not mean smoke, heat or carbon monoxide detectors installed in Dwellings or Dwelling Units.
    15. “Low-voltage” means class two or class three remote control, signaling, or power-limited circuits, optical fiber cables or other cabling, or communications circuits, including raceways, as defined in the National Electrical Code for voice, video, audio, and data signals in residential or commercial premises.
    16. “Monitoring Company” means any individual, sole proprietorship, firm, partnership, association, limited liability company, corporation, or other similar entity that for a fee or other valuable consideration is authorized to provide monitoring services for electronic security, Life Safety Systems, or Personal Emergency Response Systems whether the systems are maintained in Dwellings or Buildings.
    17. “Monitoring Personnel” means an individual who monitors Electronic Security Systems, Life Safety Systems or Personal Emergency Response Systems and makes appropriate notifications to end users and public safety or other responders as dictated by the event.
    18. “NICET” means the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies”
    19. “Personal Emergency Response System” means any device which is designed to initiate a contact with a person or monitoring Company who responds to, or has a responsibility to determine the proper response to personal emergencies, but does not include hard-wired or wireless Electronic Security Systems designed to detect intrusion, fire or other emergency condition.
    20. “Primary Qualifying Manager” means a person who possesses the requisite skill, knowledge, and experience, and has the responsibility to supervise, direct, manage and control the Electronic Security System contracting activities of the Electronic Security Contractor with which he or she is employed; and whose technical and personal qualifications have been determined by investigation and examination as provided in this chapter by the board; and who has been issued a license by the board.
    21. “Proprietary Information” means access to information detailing the design, installation or maintenance of any Electronic Security System or has access to any code, number or program that would allow the system to be modified, altered or circumvented
    22. "Registration" means an official act of the board to identify employees who are not certified but are required to meet other qualifications due to their access to Proprietary Information.
    23. “Sales Personnel” means an individual who sells electronic security equipment on behalf of an Electronic Security Contractor to the end user and who has access to Proprietary Information.
    24. “Secondary Qualifying Manager” means a person who possesses the requisite skill, knowledge and experience, and has the responsibility to supervise, direct, manage and control the Electronic Security System contracting activities of the Electronic Security Contractor with which he or she is employed; and whose technical and personal qualifications have been determined by investigation and examination as provided in this chapter by the board; and who has been issued a license by the board.
    25. “Unrestricted Electronic Security System” means Electronic Security Systems located in Buildings, Dwellings or Dwelling Units.
    26. “Wireless Electronic Security System” means an Electronic Security System that can transmit and receive signals without the aid of wire, other than a pre-manufactured telecommunication or power cable.
  1. Electronic Security Contractor License
    1. Requirements.
      1. Any individual, sole proprietorship, firm, partnership, association, limited liability company, corporation, or other similar entity that, for a fee or other valuable consideration, plans, designs, certifies, leases, sells, installs, services, monitors, maintains, or responds to, either directly or through a third party, Electronic Security Systems for a Dwelling or Building that manually or automatically signals or detects any criminal or life safety event that would normally result in a public safety or other emergency response, shall be licensed as an Electronic Security Contractor under this chapter. The contractor shall sell or install only Electronic Security Systems that are recognized by any existing state building code that addresses equipment standards.
      2. The Electronic Security Contractor shall maintain general and complete operations liability insurance for the layout, installation, repair, alteration, addition, maintenance, and inspection of Electronic Security Systems in the following minimum amounts: $500,000 per person, $1,000,000 per occurrence, and $1,000,000 property damage.
      3. The Electronic Security Contractor shall be or shall appoint a Primary Qualifying Manager and may appoint one or more Secondary Qualifying Managers as provided by board regulations to be adopted. 
      4. The Electronic Security Contractor shall maintain current Registration as an Electronic Security Contractor and comply with all renewal and continuing education requirements as required by regulations approved by the board.
      5. The Electronic Security Contractor shall maintain compliance with all other applicable provisions of law related to business operation in the state of _____ and of any political subdivision in which the contractor is performing work.
      6. The Electronic Security Contractor shall submit fingerprints and consent to criminal history background checks through the state police and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).  Any officer, partner or shareholder who owns an interest in the entity of twenty-five percent (25%) or greater shall also submit fingerprints and consent to a criminal history background check as provided within Section 10 of this chapter.
    2. Qualifications.
      1. An Electronic Security Contractor who wishes to engage in business covered by this chapter shall:
        1. Be at least 18 years of age.
        2. Not have been declared by any court of competent jurisdiction incompetent by reason of mental defect or disease and not have been restored;
        3. Not be suffering from alcohol, narcotic or illegal drug dependence;
        4. Not have been discharged from the armed services of the United States under other than honorable conditions;
        5. Be in compliance with any other reasonable qualifications that the board may fix by rule.
        6. Except as provided below in subsection (6)(d) has not been found guilty or pleaded nolo contendere to one (1) or more of the following in any court in the State or comparable offense in another state, or in a military or federal court for which a pardon has not been granted:
          1. A felony;
          2. A misdemeanor involving theft, sexual offenses, violence, an element of dishonesty, or a crime against a person as determined by the board; or
          3. An attempted felony or solicitation or conspiracy to commit a felony that is classified as a Class A misdemeanor (or equivalent to Class A misdemeanor in the state).
          4. An individual shall not be denied issuance of a license or credential or renewal of an existing license or credential if the individual has been found guilty by any court of or pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to any misdemeanor if the person was found guilty of or pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to the misdemeanor five (5) or more years before the date of the application for issuance or renewal.
    1. Exemption from Electronic Security Contractor Licensing or Certification
      1. The following shall be exempt from Electronic Security Contractor licensing requirements under this chapter:
        1. An officer or employee of the United States, this state, or any political subdivision of either, while engaged in the performance of his official duties within the course and scope of his employment with the United States, this state, or any political subdivision of either.
        2. Any retail store that sells Electronic Security Systems, Access Control, Electronic Camera systems, Personal Emergency Response Systems or Life Safety Systems at retail locations to an individual end user for self-installation.
        3. Retail sales employees of a retail store or other off-site location, but only as to work performed by them on behalf of the exempted employer and who have no access to Proprietary Information of the end user Dwelling or Building as defined in Section 2(u).
        4. Equipment manufacturers not providing direct sales, monitoring, design or installation of Electronic Security System service to end users.
        5. Telecommunication installers/dealers not providing direct sales, monitoring, design, installation or maintenance service of Electronic Security Systems.
        6. Equipment distributors or suppliers not offering sales, monitoring, design or installation services directly to the Electronic Security System user.
        7. The provision, installation, testing, routine maintenance, factory-servicing, selling or monitoring of a Personal Emergency Response System.
        8. Individual property owners personally installing an Electronic Security System within the owner's Dwelling Unit or other Building not open to the public.
        9. The installation of Electronic Security Systems on motor vehicles and boats.
        10. Locksmiths not providing direct sales, monitoring, design, installation or maintenance service of electronic security or Life Safety Systems.  Locksmiths who install only mechanical locks or mechanical locks that have an integral Alarm as part of their design without electrical components and electromechanical locks such as self-contained, Low-voltage exit Alarm devices that secure a single-entry point, that are not part of an integrated system, are also exempt from the requirements of this chapter;
        11. Utility companies when not installing, selling, servicing or monitoring electronic security or Life Safety Systems;
        12. Low-voltage contractors not providing direct sales, monitoring, design, installation, maintenance or service of Electronic Security Systems or Life Safety Systems;
        13. Electrical, mechanical or HVAC contractors licensed under other statutes in this state while performing the duties of their employment as electrical, mechanical or HVAC contractors.
        14. Architects and engineers not providing direct sales, monitoring, installation or maintenance service of Electronic Security Systems or Life Safety Systems. 
        15. Employees or Sales Personnel of an Electronic Security Contractor who:
          1. Do not alter, install, maintain, move, or repair Electronic Security Systems on end-user Dwellings or Buildings; and
          2. Are not granted access to passwords or codes that can be used to arm or disarm Electronic Security Systems installed on specific end-user Dwelling Units or Buildings, or, if working at an out-of-state location, has received a satisfactory fingerprint and background check from a state or federal agency or entity that contracts with a state or federal agency.  This subsection shall not relieve a person of his or her obligation to comply with the applicable Registration and background check provisions of this chapter for on-site electronic security sales at end-user Dwellings and Buildings.
    1. Local Licensing Requirements
      1. This chapter and the rules and regulations promulgated pursuant to this chapter shall have uniform force and effect throughout the state.  A municipality or county shall not enact an order, ordinance, rule, or regulation requiring a person or business entity to obtain a Certification from the municipality or county, other than proof of a valid license issued by the board.
      2. Nothing in this chapter limits the power of a municipality, a county, or the state to require the submission and approval of plans and specifications or to regulate the quality and character of work performed by Electronic Security Contractors through a system of permits, fees, and inspections otherwise authorized by law for the protection of the public health and safety.
    1. Licenses from Other Jurisdictions
      1. The board may accept an application for a license, Certification or Registration from an applicant who holds a valid license, Certification or Registration from another regulatory agency or jurisdiction, which requires equal or greater experience and knowledge requirements.
    1. Employee Certification
      1. Qualifying Manager Certification
        1. Each Electronic Security Contractor shall designate a Primary Qualifying Manager and may designate one or more Secondary Qualifying Managers. An Electronic Security Contractor may designate more than one Secondary Qualifying Manager in order to satisfy the requirements for more than one Endorsement as provided by board rule. If more than one Secondary Qualifying Manager is designated, the Electronic Security Contractor shall indicate for which Primary Qualifying Manager each designated Secondary Qualifying Manager serves as an alternate.
        2. The Primary Qualifying Manager or employees shall be designated in the application for Certification; and, if a Primary Qualifying Manager is no longer acting in that role, the Electronic Security Contractor shall so notify the board, in writing, within 30 calendar days, on a form designated by the board.
        3. If a Primary Qualifying Manager is no longer acting in the role of Primary Qualifying Manager and the Electronic Security Contractor has designated a Secondary Qualifying Manager, the Secondary Qualifying Manager shall become the Primary Qualifying Manager and the Electronic Security Contractor shall so notify the board, in writing, within 30 calendar days of the date on which the preceding Primary Qualifying Manager ceased to act in that role. If the Electronic Security Contractor has designated more than one Secondary Qualifying Manager, the notice to the board shall indicate which Secondary Qualifying Manager has assumed the position of Primary Qualifying Manager.
        4. If a Primary Qualifying Manager designated by an Electronic Security Contractor is no longer acting in the role of Primary Qualifying Manager and the contractor has not designated a Secondary Qualifying Manager, the contractor shall designate a new Primary Qualifying Manager and shall notify the board, in writing, of the designation within six (6) months of the date on which the former Primary Qualifying Manager ceased to act in that capacity, on a form designated by the board. If the board has not been notified of the appointment of a new Primary Qualifying Manager within six (6) months of the date on which a Primary Qualifying Manager ceased serving in that capacity, the board shall suspend the Certification of the Electronic Security System contractor.
      2. Qualifying Manager Requirements
        1. A Primary Qualifying Manager or Secondary Qualifying Manager shall meet one of the following requirements and pass an exam covering state rules, regulations laws and:
          1. Current licensure as a professional engineer with competence in Electronic Security System design.
          2. For Life Safety System Endorsement, current Certification by ESA as a Certified Fire Alarm Designer (CFAD), current Certification by NICET as a Fire Alarm Systems Level III, or equivalent approved by the board.
          3. For Unrestricted Electronic Security System Endorsement, current Certification by ESA as a, Certified Alarm Technician Level II, Certified Service Technician (CST), Certified System Integrator (CSI), or equivalent approved by the board. 
          4. For Dwelling Unit Electronic Security System Endorsement, current Certification by ESA as a Certified Alarm Technician Level II or equivalent approved by the board.
          5. For Dwelling Unit Wireless Electronic Security System Endorsement, current Certification by ESA as a Certified Alarm Technician Level II or higher, or equivalent approved by the board.
      3. Electronic Security Technician Certification Requirements
        1. The Electronic Security Technician shall meet one of the following requirements:
          1. Current licensure as a professional engineer with competence in Alarm system design.
          2. For Life Safety System Endorsement, current Certification by ESA as a Certified Fire Alarm Technician, current Certification by NICET as a Fire Alarm Systems Level II Certification or equivalent approved by the board.
          3. For Unrestricted Electronic Security System Endorsement, current Certification by ESA as a Certified Alarm Technician Level I, or equivalent approved by the board.
          4. For Dwelling Unit Electronic Security System Endorsement, current Certification by ESA as a Certified Alarm Technician Level I, or equivalent approved by the board.
          5. For Dwelling Unit Wireless Electronic Security System Endorsement, current Certification by ESA as a Certified Alarm Technician Level I, or as a Certified Wireless Alarm Technician Level I, or equivalent approved by the board.
      1. Certification – Fees; Issuance; Renewal
        1. The board shall issue Certifications authorized by this chapter to all qualified individuals in accordance with rules or regulations established by the board.
        2. Any Certification granted pursuant to this chapter shall be issued for a two-year period and shall expire on the anniversary date of the certificate issuance, unless it is renewed pursuant to regulations established by the board or unless it is suspended or revoked.
        3. The Certification fee shall be determined by rule of the board.
        4. An affirmative vote of a majority of board members shall be required before any action to suspend or revoke a Certification, to impose a sanction on a certificate holder, or to levy a monetary penalty. A board member shall disqualify himself or herself and withdraw from any case in which he or she cannot accord fair and impartial consideration.
        5. A provisional certificate may be awarded to the applicant for initial Certification for up to 90 days if the Electronic Security Contractor has ascertained through a privately administered national background check that the applicant has not been convicted of a disqualifying offense.
  1. Employee Registration
    1. Sales Personnel Registration Requirements
      1. Electronic Security Sales Personnel shall meet the following requirements:
        1. Successfully complete the ESA Security Sales Essentials course, Understanding Electronic Security Systems, company provided training approved by the board, or board approved equivalent.
    2. Monitoring Personnel Registration Requirements
      1. Monitoring Personnel shall meet the following requirements:
        1. Successfully complete the CSAA Central Station Operator Level 1 training course, company provided training approved by the board, or board approved equivalent.
    3. Registration – Fees; Issuance; Renewal
      1. The board shall issue Registration authorized by this chapter to all qualified individuals in accordance with rules or regulations established by the board.
      2. Any Registration granted pursuant to this chapter shall be issued for a two-year period and shall expire on the anniversary date of the Registration issuance, unless it is renewed pursuant to regulations established by the board, or unless it is suspended or revoked.
      3. The Registration fee shall be determined by rule of the board.
      4. An affirmative vote of a majority of board members shall be required before any action to suspend or revoke a Registration, to impose a sanction on a registrant or to levy a monetary penalty. A board member shall disqualify himself or herself and withdraw from any case in which he or she cannot accord fair and impartial consideration.
      5. A provisional Registration may be awarded to the applicant for initial Registration for up to 90 days if the Electronic Security Contractor has ascertained through a privately administered national background check that the applicant has not been convicted of a disqualifying offense.
  1. Employee Criminal History Check Requirements
    1. The following criminal history check requirements apply to all employees with Proprietary Information including, but not limited to Qualifying Managers, Secondary Qualifying Managers, Electronic Security Technicians, Sales Personnel, Monitoring Personnel and Retail Sales Personnel:
      1. Any person seeking Certification or Registration under this chapter shall submit fingerprints in a manner approved by the board and submitted to the state department of public safety (or police agency responsible for criminal history checks) and FBI for verification of identity and criminal history check.
      2. No employee may receive certification or Registration, except as provided in subsection (10)(a)(ii)(4) below, who has been found guilty or pleaded nolo contendere to one (1) or more of the following in any court in the State or comparable offense in another state, or in a military or federal court for which a pardon has not been granted:
        1. A felony;
        2. A Class A misdemeanor (or equivalent to Class A misdemeanor) involving theft, sexual offenses, violence, an element of dishonesty, or a crime against a person as determined by the board; or,
        3. An attempted felony or solicitation or conspiracy to commit a felony that is classified as a Class A misdemeanor (or equivalent to Class A misdemeanor in the state).
        4. An individual shall not be denied issuance of a license or credential or renewal of an existing license or credential if the individual by any court has been found guilty of or pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to any Class A misdemeanor (or equivalent to Class A misdemeanor in the state) if the person was found guilty of or pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to the misdemeanor five (5) or more years before the date of the application for issuance or renewal.
    2. Any person denied Certification or Registration under this section may appeal to the board for further consideration.  The board may consider mitigating circumstance in determining whether to waive the denial and issue a Certification or Registration.
    3. Criminal history check will be conducted prior to renewal of any license, Certification or Registration.  Resubmission of fingerprints shall not be required for current licensees, certificate holders or registrants.
  1. Continuing Education
    1. All Primary Qualifying Managers, Secondary Qualifying Managers and Electronic Security Technicians shall receive continuing education requirements necessary to maintain current Certification through ESA, NICET or board approved equivalent for the type of Certification the employee holds.
  1. Alarm Confirmation
    1. The board shall require a Monitoring Company to utilize a system providing for event confirmation, verification and notification procedures, in accordance with ANSI/CSAA CS-V-01-2016, unless an exemption is issued by occupancy type, or an exemption is issued on an individual case basis by the local authority having jurisdiction.
    2. An Electronic Security Contractor or Monitoring Company is not liable for civil penalties and fines assessed or imposed by the applicable local governmental entity for excessive false Alarms not attributed to Monitoring Company error or improper installation by the Electronic Security Contractor or Monitoring Company.
    3. The board shall provide by rule for the implementation and enforcement of this section.
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