Access Control 101 Course On-Demand Overview

Understand the most important terms, technologies, and trends in access control. Aimed at people with limited technical exposure, the IPVM Access Control 101 course is uniquely designed to provide an introduction for those new to access control.

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Advanced Access Control vs Access Control 101

IPVM has two courses on access control, reflecting increased interest for accessible education on the subject. The primary difference is that Access Control 101 will cover concepts at the beginner's level, while Advanced Access Control will focus on more technical material, allowing deeper coverage of complex topics.

Course Schedule

In 11 sessions, we examine the following topics at a 101 level:

1. Life Safety

We start with an overview of the code requirements behind access control systems, familiarizing you with the various levels of codes and regulations governing system design.

2. Credentials

This section introduces the form factors and tradeoffs for credentials in access control, from radio frequency cards and fobs to mobile and biometrics.

3. Readers

In the readers section, we cover physical form factors, including mullion mounts, wall mounts, and more. We also introduce critical considerations in choosing readers, including credential compatibility, location, range, and required infrastructure.

4. Doors

The doors section covers an often-overlooked parts of access control, teaching components, materials, swing, operators, closers, special listings, and the basics of installing access control to pre-existing doors.

5. Locks

This section examines both mechanical and electric locks, their use, pros and cons, and how to select a suitable lock for a door.

6. Controllers

We then cover the functions and purpose of controllers in access control, as well as the various designations, including open vs closed, edge vs central, and the form factors of controllers.

7. Management Software

Our management software section covers the software that controls how the system behaves, including monitoring, configuration, and rules.

8. Architecture

In architecture, we combine all of the physical components covered individually, explaining how they interact and the key considerations in planning and installing an access control system.

9. Business

We provide an overview of how the access control market works, from the giant incumbent companies to new entrants and from A&E firms to access installers.

10. History

In our penultimate section, we explore the history of access control to provide key context in understanding the state of the market and technology today, as well as prepare for our next section on the future of access control.

11. Trends

Our last section, Access Control trends, examines some emerging trends in access control, leveraging IPVM research and reporting into class material to help students understand what to look out for as you enter the access control field.

Who Should and Should NOT Take this Course

This course is intended for individuals with no or little access control experience. If you are just entering the field, planning to enter the field, or transitioning to a role involving access control this course is designed for you.

Because this course is taught at a 101 level, individuals familiar with access control or who have significant field or technical experience likely will not benefit from this course. For more detailed coverage of access control topics, consider our Advanced Access Control Course.

Course Instructor

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The course is taught by Brian Rhodes from IPVM. In addition to teaching access control

 courses, Brian also heads up access control coverage and testing. Before coming to IPVM, Brian worked as an engineer, designer, and manager of access, video surveillance, and intrusion projects for a security integrator.


At the end of classes, you will take a cumulative final exam including multiple-choice and short answer questions. If you pass, you will earn an IPVM Access Control 101 certificate of course completion (see list of current IPVM Certificate Holders).

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An active IPVM subscription is required to take the course.


If you have any questions, please email us at