Security Guard: Job Description, Salary, and Training
Security guards and gaming surveillance officers help protect people and property from criminal activities. Depending on where they work, security guards could look after customers, employees, cash, merchandise, equipment or property.
The goal of security guards is to prevent crime and detain any law violators until the police can arrive.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), security guards are projected to have an employment growth of 19% from 2010 to 2020. During that decade, approximately 195,000 jobs are expected to be created in this field.
“There will be more competition for higher paying positions that require more training,” said the BLS. “Those with related work experience, such as a background in law enforcement, and those with computer and technology skills should find the best job prospects.”
Job Skills for Security Guards and Gaming Surveillance Officers
Strong observation skills are among the most important qualities for security guards and gaming surveillance officers. In order to prevent crime, guards must be able to quickly take in a scene and notice if anything is amiss. Security guards that work in a retail environment need to be able to catch shoplifters while gaming surveillance officers have to be able to spot cheating. Aside from the ability to spot crimes, guards must be able to act decisively when they witness a criminal act taking place.
Communication is another vital job quality for security guards. The ability to effectively communicate with people, from potential offenders and witnesses to employees and law enforcement, is a large part of a guard’s day to day job. These interactions must be honest, because guards are privy to sensitive information.
Work Environment for Security Guards and Gaming Surveillance Officers
In 2010, security guards held approximately 1.1 million jobs, according to the BLS. Their places of employment included retail locations, offices, public transportation facilities and casino observation rooms. Investigation and security services held 53% of security guard jobs in 2010.
Regardless of where they are employed, security jobs face potential danger in the workplace. Injury and illness are not uncommon. The BLS states, “The work usually is routine, but these jobs can be hazardous. Guards must be constantly alert for threats to themselves and the property they are protecting.”
Education Requirements for Security Guards and Gaming Surveillance Officers
The education requirements for security guards depend on factors like the place of employment, whether or not the guard will be armed and previous work experience. Some positions only call for a high school diploma or some higher education experience in a field like criminal justice. Most states require guards get licensed before beginning.
Not all security guards carry weapons, but those who do must have additional licensing to meet all government requirements for carrying a firearm. The BLS explains that armed guard positions tend to be more competitive, as these jobs have an increased chance of advancement and higher pay.
Career advancement in the security field may be improved for candidates with more education. According to the BLS, “guards with postsecondary education or with related certifications may be preferred.”