In addition to the higher risk as pointed out by @JamesRoth, you also need to consider that there are regulations against 'naked shorting' so you generally need to either own the security, or have someone that is willing to 'loan' the security to you in order to sell short. If you own a stock you are shorting, the IRS could view the transaction as a Sell followed by a buy taking place in a less than 30 day period and you could be subject to wash-sale rules. This added complexity (most often the finding of someone to loan you the security you are shorting) is another reason such trades are considered more advanced.
You should also be aware that there are currently a number of proposals to re-instate the 'uptick rule' or some circuit-breaker variant. Designed to prevent short-sellers from driving down the price of a stock (and conducting 'bear raids etc) the first requires that a stock trade at the same or higher price as prior trades before you can submit a short. In the latter shorting would be prohibited after a stock price had fallen a given percentage in a given amount of time. In either case, should such a rule be (re)established then you could face limitations attempting to execute a short which you would not need to worry about doing simple buys or sells.
As to vehicles that would do this kind of thing (if you are convinced we are in a bear market and willing to take the risk) there are a number of ETF's classified as 'Inverse Exchange Traded Funds (ETF's) for a variety of markets that via various means seek to deliver a return similar to that of 'shorting the market' in question. One such example for a common broad market is ticker SH the ProShares Short S&P500 ETF, which seeks to deliver a return that is the inverse of the S&P500 (and as would be predicted based on the roughly +15% performance of the S&P500 over the last 12 months, SH is down roughly -15% over the same period). The Wikipedia article on inverse ETF's lists a number of other such funds covering various markets.
I think it should be noted that using such a vehicle is a pretty 'aggressive bet' to take in reaction to the belief that a bear market is imminent. A more conservative approach would be to simply take money out of the market and place it in something like CD's or Treasury instruments. In that case, you preserve your capital, regardless of what happens in the market. Using an inverse ETF OTOH means that if the market went bull instead of bear, you would lose money instead of merely holding your position.