Security & Protective Services Pathway

Recommended Security and Protective Services (SPS) Pathway

The courses below are recommended by our Board and network of industry experts. Each course link will lead to a page with lesson plans, national standards, and resources. For more information, feel free to email

This is a national exemplar. Each state makes decisions on how to best serve their industry and school programs. Always refer to state and local guidelines for implementation. 

Introduction Course – Introduction to Law and Public Safety (ILPS)

It is recommended that an SPS pathway begin with a broad based introduction to the law and public safety system. SPS professionals are a key part of the larger law and public safety system, so a critical starting point for the pathway is an exploration of the larger ecosystem the PSP lives in. Additionally, it is advised that a high school pathway in SPS not become so specific to SPS exclusively that participants are not exposed to other elements in LPS. The broader approach helps with marketing to encourage students to enroll.

Visit our Introduction to Law and Public Safety course page – with lesson plansClick Here 

Core Course – Security & Protective Services (SPS)

Security and Protective Services prepares students to work in the fastest-growing career field in LPS. Once students complete this course they will be fully prepared for entry-level work in the field. Students will be able to take the Certified Protection Officer (CPO) certification exam. The CPO is recognized by thousands of employers worldwide. After earning the CPO and a high school diploma, students will be able to be employed immediately in a field with excellent compensation and opportunities. Skills learned in SPS will also prepare students interested in careers in law enforcement and other LPS careers to build experience prior to their 21st birthday.

Visit our Security & Protective Services course page – with lesson plans Click Here

Third+ Course Options

Note – we are in the middle of major updates. We hope to have everything ready by the end of winter. 

LAPSEN recommends pathways have flexibility for local systems to adjust to local needs. It is also recommended that a “deeper dive” into SPS-related content come from dual enrollment opportunities, if possible. The SPS course covers secondary educational needs adequately. To maximize student career preparation, engagement, and marketing it is suggested to offer courses similar to those listed below to complete the pathway.

Option 1 – Law Enforcement (LE)

The Law Enforcement course may be the best option. There are numerous crossovers in skill sets and practices. The Law Enforcement course prepares individuals to perform the duties of police and security officers, including patrol and investigative activities, traffic control, crowd control, public relations, witness interviewing, evidence collection and management, court procedures and the law in general. Basic crime prevention methods, weapon and equipment operation, equipment maintenance, and other routine law enforcement responsibilities are also included.

Visit our Law Enforcement course page – Click Here (page is under revision and should be completed by spring)

Option 2 – Criminal Investigations and Forensics (CIF)

CIF is another great option as it is both marketable and industry is demanding more investigation skills for career candidates. Students will learn how crimes are investigated in America. Hands on skills in crime scene processing and recording will be covered as well as evidence handling. Students will learn how investigations are initiated and conducted as well as how constitutional restraints guide investigations. Techniques in interviews and interrogations will be practiced. Students will also learn about criminological theories and how they are applied to the investigation process.

Visit our Criminal Investigations and Forensics course page – Click Here (page is under revision and should be completed by spring)

Option 3 – Drones for Law and Public Safety (DLPS)

Bring some excitement to your pathway! This course prepares students for certifications to operate drones in the law and public safety environment. Drones are increasingly used in SPS areas. First, students will complete the necessary training to be prepared to pass the FAA 107 Pilot test. Students will then train in remote sensing and photogrammetry. Students will learn how to prepare and plan for law and public safety drone operations. A significant portion of the course time will be dedicated to developing flight skills and performing maneuvers necessary for such operations. Using the National Institute of Standards and Technology national standard performance test for unmanned aerial vehicles, students will train for real world applications.

Visit our Drones for Law and Public Safety course page – Click Here  (page is under revision and should be completed by spring)

Other Options

There are many options that local systems can review that may fit more appropriately.

Visit our overall course page – Click Here  (page is under revision and should be completed by spring)

Industry Recognized Credential (IRC) for the SPS Pathway

Certified Protection Officer (CPO) Certification 

The Certified Protection Officer certification demonstrates students have the basic knowledge, skills, and experience to understand security and protection officers careers, and their role and responsibilities within the public safety and criminal justice system. 

The CPO certificate is recognized by:

  • U.S. Department of Labor
  • ASIS International 
  • Canadian General Standards Board
  • Thousands of American companies

The CPO satiates all Perkins legislative requirements for Industry Recognized Credentials. 

Learn more about the CPO – Click Here or email 


Instructors in the SPS pathway need to have industry experience or training. 

To certify students in the Certified Protection Officer (CPO) industry recognized credential, instructors must complete IFPO approved CPOI training. IFPO offers training specifically for teachers through LAPSEN. Click Here to learn more. 

Click Here to go to our Training Schedule for SPS pathway and other training. 


The SPS pathway national CTSO is SkillsUSA. There is not an SPS competition per se – but there are several competitions that students can choose from to participate in that support the SPS pathway content. 

For more information visit or reach out to 

Career Pathways - Human Services

Student teams use their course of study as the basis of a project that will benefit their class, school, community or industry.

Commercial sUAS Drone

This competition for a team of 2 is designed to evaluate team members’ skills in the safe and efficient use of drone technology

Criminal Justice

This competition is a single competitor preparing to be officers or to work in other areas of criminal justice.


Customer Service

The competition evaluates students’ proficiency in providing customer service. This is one of the highest valued skills sets sought by SPS employeers. 


A team event testing students’ knowledge in starting their own businesses by developing business plans that identify needed products or services in a local market. SPS careers often lead into business development of security services. 

First Aid - CPR

Basic SPS skill for a single competitor. Evaluates a competitor’s ability to perform procedures or take appropriate action based on scenarios presented related to CPR first aid medical emergencies. There is also a written exam.

Job Skill Demonstration - 3 Types

Competitors demonstrate and explain an entry-level skill used in the occupational area for which they are training. “A” refers to skills taught in the pathway. “Open” is usually a skill learned in WBL or similar that is outside the pathway. “Action Skills” is for students with IEPs. In all cases, the skill should be hands on as it is a “demonstration.” 

Robotics - Urban Search and Rescue

A student team designs and operates a robot that simulate equipment used in rescue operations. 

There are dozens more that cover everything from speeches to specifc skill sets. 


We have numerous educators and industry specialists that have volunteered to help you. They are your network of support. 

National SPS Specialist – Jay Borgquist

Learn more about Jay – Click Here for his Linkedin

Email Jay – Click Here

Jay led our recent SPS update and revisions. Feel free to reach out to him to learn more.