Security Guard

Security Guard

What is a Security Guard?

Security guards are safety officers who monitor the activity in a particular area. A security officer’s job requires constant vigilance to ensure that individuals, buildings, and property are well-protected. These professionals have an important job in a variety of different settings, from public malls to higher risk locations like banks. 

In many instances, the mere presence of a security officer will help deter crime. However, security officers must know how to respond appropriately if a crime does occur. These professionals are responsible for responding to emergencies, detaining violators, enforcing laws, and filing reports. Though a security professional doesn’t have the same legal powers as a police officer, he or she must still know how to properly uphold the law within the scope of their job responsibilities. 

Security officers work closely with other professionals in this area, including police officers and undercover store detectives. They will report suspicious or criminal activity to the proper authorities, detain criminals as needed, and take action to stop crime before it occurs when possible.

Job Responsibilities:

  • Patrolling the surveillance area 
  • Establishing a security presence 
  • Monitoring security cameras 
  • Reviewing prior security footage 
  • Permitting entrance through security gates 
  • Removing trespassers from the area 
  • Detaining those involved in criminal activity 
  • Investigating suspicious persons 
  • Responding promptly to alarms 
  • Generating reports on surveillance activities 
  • Assisting others in the event of an emergency 
  • Monitoring key access points 
  • Securing doors and other entry points 
  • Sounding alarms for criminal activity 
  • Contacting law enforcement as needed 
  • Complying with all laws 
  • Performing preventive maintenance on security systems 
  • Conducting security checks 
  • Operating and monitoring metal detectors and other preventive security installations 

What is the Career Outlook for Security Guards?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 151,700 openings for security guards and gambling surveillance officers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Most of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.  

Security guards will continue to be needed to protect both people and property because of concerns about crime and vandalism. 

Where Do Security Guards Work?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that security guards work in a variety of places, including industrial settings, stores, and office buildings. Gambling surveillance officers and investigators are employed in casinos and other gaming facilities only in locations where gambling is legal. Guards may spend considerable time on their feet patrolling buildings and grounds or may sit for long periods at a single post, such as in a guardhouse at the entrance to a gated facility or community. Others may spend periods of time in a vehicle, patrolling the property and grounds. 

Security guards are needed in locations throughout the country. However, the highest number of security guards is found in California, New York, Texas, Florida, and Illinois. The highest concentration of security guards per thousand jobs is found in the District of Columbia, Nevada, Hawaii, New York, and Maryland.

What are the Training Requirements for Security Guards?

Security guards need a minimum of a high school diploma for employment in this field. In positions where the guard carries a firearm, he or she must be registered with the state. Registration is required for some unarmed positions as well. 

Employers typically provide on-the-job training for their security officers. However, having a relevant diploma in this area can improve your employability. The Criminal Justice and Security Services Diploma from Bryant & Stratton College is a 30-credit-hour program that includes courses like Security in the 21st Century, Justice Information Systems, and Law Enforcement & the Multicultural Community. These can give job seekers a well-rounded background that will make them better candidates for a career as a security guard. 

What Can I Do With a Criminal Justice and Security Services Diploma?

A criminal justice and security services diploma will equip you for a variety of jobs in this industry. Security positions can go by many titles. These types of jobs may also focus on a variety of specialty areas. As you’re looking for a job in security or criminal justice, you should keep an eye out for job titles such as: 

  • Security services and safety system support 
  • Armored car driver 
  • Security infrastructure and enterprise services 
  • Security gate officer 
  • Air courier guard 
  • Bouncer 
  • Crossing guard 
  • Alarm investigator 
  • Retail floorman 
  • Night watchman 
  • Loss prevention officer 
  • Theft prevention officer 
  • Retail investigator 

Additional Training/Requirements

Students interested in the Criminal Justice Studies Associate Degree program must first successfully complete the Criminal Justice and Security Services Diploma. Completion of either or both programs does not guarantee a student has met all the requirements for employment in the criminal justice field. The Bryant & Stratton College’s programs are educational programs and the college makes no representations regarding whether a particular program will qualify a graduate for employment in any specific position, is necessary for attaining any such position or whether potential employers may require additional training or education.* Before enrolling in a program, potential students are encouraged to consult any relevant agency with which the student may wish to seek employment for a complete list of position requirements and pre- requisites. All applicants should be aware that criminal justice employers may consider numerous factors when determining eligibility or suitability for employment including but not limited to: criminal background screening, citizenship, state residency, physical and psychological health, age and military discharge information. A criminal conviction and or record of certain other conduct may prevent or hinder a graduate’s employment as a law enforcement officer or other positions in security, corrections and others depending upon the requirements in various jurisdictions. 

*Virginia residents should be aware that neither program will provide the required training for entry level positions in law enforcement, corrections, armed security, certain unarmed security and other careers requiring certification, licensure, or registration with the Virginial Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). Students who complete these programs in Virginia will be required to obtain certification through DCJS- approved training facilities to meet minimum requirements for those positions. 

For more information on the security industry and job opportunities within this area, check out the criminal justice section of our blog. You’ll find a wealth of information to help you plan a successful future in this industry. 

While these projections can help career-minded people evaluate potential employment fields, it is important to note that job market data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook is only intended to provide insight on occupational opportunities. It should not be construed as a guarantee of salary or job title. Neither BLS nor Bryant & Stratton College can guarantee employment in any field.

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