16 Pros and Cons of Being a Security Guard

Security

More and more business owners are concerned about security, and this means there are more security guard jobs than ever.

Most security companies provide training as well, so you do not have to have a background in security. 

Security guards are not policemen, however.

Their job is to observe and report.

It can be an interesting job and it is not a hard job.

Pros of Being a Security Guard

1. Little Education is Required

Basically, a high school diploma is all you need to get started.

Security companies provide the training you need and the jobs are easy to learn.

You do need to be attentive to detail and be a little smart, but there are no formal education requirements.

It can be a good career start for a person just out of high school, and who has not decided what they want to do as far as their career goes.

2. No Experience is Required

Companies provide training, and if you can learn some basic tasks and pay attention, you can do this job.

It is sort of the ideal entry-level job because you do not have to have anything other than a willingness to be there to get the job.

Security guards are not cops, so you do not need any background there either.

Having some experience may help, but security companies are looking for certain skills more than they are looking for experience or education. 

3. Overtime Hours are Available

The pay is not great in most cases, but it is better than the typical entry-level job.

Most security posts require at least one person to be there at all times, so if someone is out sick, you may be called on to work overtime.

There can also be special events or other situations where you will be needed for more than eight hours.

While the pay is not great, you essentially get a raise by working overtime.

Often overtime is not mandatory as there is usually someone there who will be willing to work the extra hours.

4. Working With Different People

This is a great job if you enjoy interacting with the public.

There are some security jobs where you are isolated, but in most, there is a lot of dealing with the public.

You may be helping people who visit your facility, or you may be directing people. 

Most of these interactions are pleasant.

There can be stressful times, however.

You will be around different people all the time and that can be interesting.

5. A Good Variety of Tasks

There are a few security jobs where you stay in one place and observe all day, but those are rare.

You may be patrolling inside or outside the building.

You may be checking identities, processing trucks, or directing people to where to go.

You may have the opportunity to solve problems with issues that develop.

In most security jobs there are several different tasks you will do, and things happen every day that are new and interesting.

6. Good Career Outlook

The security business is booming.

There is some turnover, but it seems there are always security jobs available.

There are several levels of employment, and there are a lot of opportunities.

You could grow into a management position, and there are specific jobs that do require some time to become qualified for.

There are a lot of jobs available, and there is room to advance once you get there.

7. Flexibility With the Job

Many companies own operations all over the country, and it is easy to transfer from one to another.

There are some flex jobs that allow you to work in more than one place.

Some companies also are flexible about the hours you work.

That varies by facility though, and some are not flexible at all.

To some extent you are also allowed to do the job as you see fit as long as you meet the requirements.

8. Active Job, Not Behind a Desk

The job of a security officer is not strenuous by any means, but you are not stuck behind a desk and not able to move around most of the time.

Some security jobs involve a lot of walking. You could be outside a lot getting fresh air and exercising while you work.

Even if you are not outside, there are always things to do, such as greeting visitors.

While you may be active at times, in most cases you can go at the speed you are comfortable with.

Cons of Being a Security Guard

1. Sometimes Overtime is Mandatory

Overtime boosts your paycheck and most people like it when that happens.

There are times though when you will be needed and you will be required to stay at work.

During the Covid pandemic, there were security officers required to work 12 hours a day, six days a week. 

It may not get that extreme, and it may not happen all that often, but it does happen.

There will be times when you will have to stay at work longer than you wanted to.

2. Working With People

Working with people is both a positive and a negative.

You need some people skills.

Some people can be difficult.

They can make your job harder, and they can try to get you in trouble with your boss.

There are usually more positive than bad experiences working with people, but it is one of the things that increases the stress level of employees.

If you do not like dealing with the public, you will not like this job.

3. Potential Personal Risks

Most of the time security guards are not doing very much, and their job is extremely easy.

Things do get exciting now and then though.

While you are not a policeman, you could potentially get into a physical conflict with someone.

You are a line of defense, and that can potentially put you in harm’s way.

Not many security guards are hurt on the job, but it is something that could happen.

4. Working Nights and Holidays

Many facilities operate 24-hours a day, seven days a week. 

They are never closed and at least one person must be there.

Sometimes people are started on the night shift or the graveyard shift, and you have to work your way up to days.

Someone has to work nights and holidays, and often it is the new person who gets that duty.

It is rare to get to only work the day shift, especially at first.

5. Being Outside is Not Always Comfortable

It is possible that you could be outside in the rain, or the snow.

In summer you may be outside in the heat.

There are times when it is not comfortable, but someone has to do it.

It is not constant, and facilities vary a lot, but it is good to be aware that it might happen.

At some point you will be outside and uncomfortable for an extended amount of time.

6. Pay is Not Great

It is better than the typical entry-level job as far as payment, but it is not a great paying career.

There is a lot of turnover in this business and the pay is one reason.

That makes overtime more appealing to most employees, which does boost your pay.

This is not a job that you can raise a family with, but it is good enough for an individual to survive.

On the other side, the job is very easy as long as you pay attention.

7. Takes Time to Get Raises

There usually is no schedule for raises or specific things you can do to get a raise.

Some companies do not give raises for a long time.

At some operations, everyone makes the same rate of pay, and that may not change for a few years.

Getting some overtime may be the only way to earn a little extra money while working there.

The low pay and lack of raises are what often cause the high turnover rate most security companies have.

8. Can Be Boring

There could be days where you hang around your facility and basically do nothing, especially if it is a holiday.

It can get boring, but many security companies allow you to bring books or other things that you can use for entertainment while you are there.

There are usually long periods of time each day where there is essentially nothing happening, but you have to be there just in case something were to happen.

Boredom can actually be the hardest thing to contend with as a security guard because you still have to be paying attention.

Pros and Cons of Being a Security Guard – Summary Table

Pros of Being a Security GuardCons of Being a Security Guard
1. Little Education is Required1. Sometimes Overtime is Mandatory
2. No Experience is Required2. Working With People
3. Overtime Hours are Available3. Potential Personal Risks
4. Working With Different People4. Working Nights and Holidays
5. A Good Variety of Tasks5. Being Outside is Not Always Comfortable
6. Good Career Outlook6. Pay is Not Great
7. Flexibility With the Job7. Takes Time to Get Raises
8. Active Job, Not Behind a Desk8. Can Be Boring

Should You Become a Security Guard?

If you like working with people and can put up with boredom and occasional discomfort, this might be a good job. 

Sometimes you have to stay outside in the cold, heat, or rain, but not always.

Often there is nothing to do but keep watch and that is the boring part.

It is usually interesting, however, when there is something going on.

It is an easy job for the most part too.

If this sounds good, you should give it a try.

Jamie Willis