What qualifications do you need to be a bouncer?

Written by sara melone
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What qualifications do you need to be a bouncer?
A bouncer typically works at nightclubs and bars as security detail. (modern nightclub image by terex from Fotolia.com)

A bouncer is otherwise known as the doorman or door security and is typically employed in nightclubs and bars. Standing post at the entrance, the bouncer's responsibility is to refuse entrance to patrons who do not meet minimum age requirements. Inside the establishment, a bouncer is charged with removal of rowdy guests and maintaining order. Most bouncers are not required to possess a degree, but certain skills, characteristics and training are needed for a successful bouncer.

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Physical Appearance

Typically, a bouncer possesses a certain type of physique. Someone who is tall and muscular is most often selected due to the level of respect his physical appearance is able to command. Although a specific level of physicality is not always a requirement of the job, most people who are looking to hire a bouncer will often choose someone with an obvious muscular form, a height of at least 6 feet and a sturdy frame with good posture. In simple terms, the industry tends to favour those individuals with a powerful or intimidating presence.

Clean Record

In most states, a bouncer is required to have a clean criminal record. Some states even require a bouncer to submit to a complete criminal background check including fingerprinting. An individual who has a record of crime, issues with intoxication or a tendency toward violence would not be considered appropriate for the role. There would be a perceived danger that a bouncer with a record may be more likely to cross certain boundaries in the course of the job and may even cause unnecessary physical harm in confrontation with a difficult patron.


Most establishments that hire bouncers will require the bouncers to attend some kind of training either in-house or provided by an outside security training organisation. Training may include legal issues and laws concerning use of physical force, alcohol, under-aged patrons and proper criminal procedures in working with law enforcement. Training also may encompass acceptable combat and self-defence moves for a bouncer in addition to sensitivity training to ensure bouncers are not overly aggressive in the course of the job. Required training regulations may differ according to the state. In California for example, regulations stipulate that a bouncer should attend the Skills Training Course for Security Guards in order to receive a security license.


A successful bouncer must possess certain personality traits and people skills to maintain order and enforce rules and regulations. He must have an ability to confront offenders in a manner that conveys authority but without further provoking or antagonising any individual or group. An overly aggressive demeanour can exacerbate a difficult situation, so a bouncer must possess or learn to develop the skills needed to diffuse tension.

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