How to Become a Security Officer
A security officer works to protect a property, guard a person or asset, or keep order at an event. If you are looking for a job with flexible hours and a lot of variety then you might like to become a security officer.
You'll need to have an authoritarian disposition if you would like to be a security officer. This is to say that people will need to respect and obey you. Physical fitness and strength are also required for this role. In many roles, you may face dangerous situations and need to be prepared for the risk of injury, or even death.
Security officers often work weekends or at night time. This is when property is most at risk, particularly in industrial or commercial areas which are empty outside or business hours. This attracts many people to work as a security officer as a second job, or a part-time job.
Education Requirements to Become a Security Officer
The minimum educational requirement to become a security officer is a high school diploma. Applicants also need to be eighteen years of age and pass background checks. Most employers will also require regular drug tests of their officers.
On the job training is provided for all security guards. Some of this may be in a classroom situation, as is required for licensing, but also occurs out on the field in the presence of another qualified officer.
Almost all states require that security officers be licensed. While the requirements vary state to state, officers are usually required to have a clear criminal record and also complete some basic classroom training.
Further training and licensure is required for security officers who carry a firearm. Also, those who work in gaming may need additional qualifications.
If you are interested in tertiary courses for security officers, then take a look at the ASIS International website.
Security Officer Job Description
The work of a security officer can be varied, they work within many different environments. Often, they work towards different goals. For instance, some security officers may be protecting a building, others a person. Here are some of the different roles you could fill when you become a security officer.
Property Security - Security officers are often employed to guard a property. This is often a place of business that could be suspect to break-in overnight.
Store Security - A security officer in a store works to protect staff and customers. They also protect the store form robbery, and may work with detectives to catch thieves and shoplifters.
Gaming Surveillance Security - These security officers work in casinos and other gaming venues. They look out for thieves, but also cheats.
Armored Car security - These guards protect the armored vehicles that transport large sums of money and other valuable goods from place to place.
Personal Security - Celebrities, politicians, and other figures often call on personal security officers to protect them. Sometimes it is because they are threatened, for others it's just a part of their life.
Event security - The security officers keep large events under control, and are on hand to assist in emergencies.
When a security guard is at work, they are always on the lookout for threats. They recognize these threats and eliminate them. In the event of a situation, they evacuate persons to safety.
Security Officer Salary and Career Path
When you become a security officer, it is likely that you will be employed part-time. The full-time median wage for a security officer is $23,000 a year. Gaming surveillance officers earn slightly more at $28,000 a year.
There is good opportunity for those seeking an entry level job in the security field. Promotion, and a large number of people leaving the industry, mean that there is a quick turnaround. Positions that require more experience are more difficult to gain.
Some jobs which are similar to that of security officer which you may be interested in include:
- Gaming attendant
- Correctional officer
- Police officer
- Private detective
- Police detective
- US Marshal
- FBI Agent
If you are looking for a secure job that doesn't require any formal higher education, then you might like to become a security officer. It's also an excellent role if you are looking for some part-time work out of regular hours. There is also opportunity for promotion and development for those that are seeking a career in security or another related field.
*Salary Information provided by the Bureau Of Labor Statistics