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Become An Armed Guard

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Working As An Armed Guard

  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings
  • Getting Information
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Repetitive

  • $33,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Armed Guard Do

Security guards and gaming surveillance officers patrol and protect property against theft, vandalism, terrorism, and illegal activity.

Duties

Security guards and gaming surveillance officers typically do the following:

  • Protect and enforce laws on an employer’s property
  • Monitor alarms and closed-circuit TV (CCTV) cameras
  • Control access for employees and visitors
  • Conduct security checks over a specified area
  • Write reports on what they observed while on duty
  • Serve as witnesses for court testimony
  • Detain violators

Security guards, also called security officers, protect property, enforce rules on the property, and deter criminal activity. Some guards are assigned a stationary position from which they monitor alarms or surveillance cameras. Other guards are assigned a patrol area where they conduct security checks.

Gaming surveillance officers and gaming investigators act as security agents for casinos. Using audio and video equipment in an observation room, they watch casino operations for suspicious activities, such as cheating and theft, and monitor compliance with rules, regulations, and laws. They maintain and organize recordings from security cameras, which are sometimes used as evidence in police investigations.

Guards and officers must remain alert, looking out for anything unusual. In an emergency, they are required to call for assistance from police, fire, or ambulance services. Some security guards are armed.

A security guard’s responsibilities vary from one employer to another. In retail stores, guards protect people, records, merchandise, money, and equipment. They may work with undercover store detectives to prevent theft by customers and employees, detain shoplifting suspects until the police arrive, and patrol parking lots.

In office buildings, banks, hotels, and hospitals, guards maintain order and protect the organization’s customers, staff, and property.

Guards who work in museums and art galleries protect paintings and exhibits by watching people and inspecting the contents of patrons’ handbags.

In factories, government buildings, and military bases, security guards protect workers and equipment and check the credentials of people and vehicles entering and leaving the premises.

Guards working in parks and at sports stadiums control crowds, supervise parking and seating, and direct traffic.

Security guards stationed at the entrances to bars and nightclubs keep underage people from entering, collect cover charges, and maintain order among customers.

Security guards working in schools and universities patrol the buildings and grounds, looking for suspicious activity.

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How To Become An Armed Guard

Most security guard jobs require a high school diploma. Gaming surveillance officers sometimes need experience with security and video surveillance. Most states require guards to be registered with the state, especially if they carry a firearm.

Education

Security guards generally need a high school diploma or equivalent, although some jobs may not have any education requirements. Gaming surveillance officers also need a high school diploma or equivalent and may need experience with video surveillance technology depending upon assignment.

Training

Although most employers provide instruction for newly hired guards, the amount of training they receive varies. Most guards, however, learn their job in a few weeks. During those few weeks, training from their employer typically covers emergency procedures, detention of suspected criminals, and proper communication.

Many states recommend that security guards receive approximately 8 hours of pre-assignment training, 8–16 hours of on-the-job training, and 8 hours of annual training. This may include training in protection, public relations, report writing, deterring crises, first aid, and other specialized training related to the guard’s assignment.

Training is more rigorous for armed guards because they require weapons training. Armed guards may be tested periodically in the use of firearms.

For gaming surveillance officers and investigators, some employers prefer candidates with previous work experience in casinos or individuals with a background in law enforcement. Experience with video technology can also be helpful in using surveillance systems and software.

Drug testing may be required as a condition of employment and randomly during employment.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Most states require that guards be registered with the state in which they work. Although registration requirements vary by state, basic qualifications for candidates are as follows:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Pass a background check
  • Complete training

Guards who carry weapons usually must be registered by the appropriate government authority. Armed guard positions have more stringent background checks and entry requirements than those of unarmed guards. Rigorous hiring and screening programs, including background, criminal record, and fingerprint checks, are required for armed guards in most states.

Some jobs may also require a driver's license.

Advancement

Some guards advance to supervisory or security manager positions. Those with experience or postsecondary education should have an advantage. Armed security guards have a greater potential for advancement and enjoy higher earnings.

Some guards with management skills open their own security guard business. Guards can also move to an organization that needs higher levels of security, which may result in more prestige or higher pay.

Important Qualities

Decisionmaking skills. Guards and officers must be able to quickly determine the best course of action when a dangerous situation arises. 

Patience. Security guards and officers may need to spend long periods standing and observing their environment without distractions.

Observation skills. Guards and officers must be alert and aware of their surroundings, and be able to quickly recognize anything out of the ordinary.

Physical strength. Guards must be strong enough to apprehend offenders and to handle emergency situations.

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Armed Guard Career Paths

Armed Guard
Security Supervisor Supervisor Owner
Co-Owner
6 Yearsyrs
Security Supervisor Security Manager
Security Director
10 Yearsyrs
Security Supervisor Loss Prevention Supervisor
Loss Prevention Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Team Leader Platoon Sergeant
Operations Officer
5 Yearsyrs
Team Leader Operation Supervisor Site Supervisor
Lead Security Officer
5 Yearsyrs
Team Leader Platoon Sergeant Security Manager
Security Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Shift Supervisor Site Supervisor Lead Security Officer
Security Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Shift Supervisor Site Supervisor Security Manager
Assistant Director Of Security
7 Yearsyrs
Officer Investigator
Loss Prevention Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Officer Platoon Sergeant Platoon Leader
Transportation Officer
5 Yearsyrs
Officer Lead Security Officer
Security Site Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Emergency Medical Technician Safety Coordinator Environmental Health Safety Manager
Manager, Security And Safety
9 Yearsyrs
Emergency Medical Technician Lieutenant
Senior Officer
5 Yearsyrs
Emergency Medical Technician Lieutenant Lead Security Officer
Transportation Security Officer
5 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician Field Supervisor Security Director
Chief Of Security
8 Yearsyrs
Combat Engineer Senior Project Manager Product Management Director
Chief Product Officer
6 Yearsyrs
Team Leader Infantry Team Security, Shift Supervisor Assistant Director Of Security
Fire Safety Director
6 Yearsyrs
Protective Services Officer Force Protection Officer Team Leader Infantry Team
Security, Shift Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Loss Prevention Specialist Deputy Lieutenant
Court Security Officer
10 Yearsyrs
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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Special Police 3.7 years
Protective Officer 2.6 years
Security Officer 2.5 years
Security Agent 2.3 years
Security Guard 2.0 years
Patrol Guard 2.0 years
Security 2.0 years
Armed Guard 2.0 years
Gate Guard 1.5 years
Top Careers Before Armed Guard
Cashier 5.8%
Driver 4.9%
Supervisor 3.8%
Manager 2.5%
Internship 1.9%
Owner 1.5%
Top Careers After Armed Guard
Driver 7.4%
Supervisor 3.8%
Cashier 3.3%
Owner 2.0%

Do you work as an Armed Guard?

Armed Guard Demographics

Gender

Male

74.1%

Female

14.1%

Unknown

11.8%
Ethnicity

White

60.2%

Hispanic or Latino

18.2%

Black or African American

12.0%

Asian

5.7%

Unknown

3.8%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

69.0%

Japanese

4.8%

French

4.8%

Russian

2.4%

Arabic

2.4%

Italian

2.4%

Portuguese

1.2%

Chinese

1.2%

Mandarin

1.2%

Hebrew

1.2%

German

1.2%

Persian

1.2%

Romanian

1.2%

Greek

1.2%

Carrier

1.2%

Somali

1.2%

Korean

1.2%

Thai

1.2%
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Armed Guard Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

23.4%

The Academy

14.5%

Remington College

5.6%

Community College of the Air Force

4.8%

Ashford University

4.4%

Central Texas College

4.4%

Prince George's Community College

4.0%

Strayer University

4.0%

Southwest Tennessee Community College

3.6%

Kaplan University

3.6%

Miami Dade College

3.2%

Triton College

3.2%

Universal Technical Institute

2.8%

University of Maryland - University College

2.8%

University of Memphis

2.8%

Grand Canyon University

2.8%

University of Pennsylvania

2.4%

American InterContinental University

2.4%

Baltimore City Community College

2.4%

Cuyahoga Community College

2.4%
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Majors

Criminal Justice

40.5%

Business

12.6%

General Studies

7.2%

Law Enforcement

4.4%

Automotive Technology

3.3%

Finance

2.9%

Medical Technician

2.9%

Medical Assisting Services

2.7%

Education

2.6%

Liberal Arts

2.4%

Communication

2.4%

Psychology

2.3%

Computer Science

1.9%

Management

1.9%

Information Technology

1.9%

Homeland Security

1.7%

Electrical Engineering

1.6%

Sociology

1.6%

Accounting

1.6%

Criminology

1.5%
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Degrees

Other

42.1%

Bachelors

22.5%

Associate

20.3%

Certificate

8.3%

Diploma

3.3%

Masters

2.6%

License

0.6%

Doctorate

0.2%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$33,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$21,000
Min 10%
$33,000
Median 50%
$33,000
Median 50%
$33,000
Median 50%
$33,000
Median 50%
$33,000
Median 50%
$33,000
Median 50%
$33,000
Median 50%
$51,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
NJVC
Highest Paying City
Harrisburg, PA
Highest Paying State
Delaware
Avg Experience Level
2.2 years
How much does an Armed Guard make at top companies?
The national average salary for an Armed Guard in the United States is $33,136 per year or $16 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $21,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $51,000.

How Would You Rate The Salary Of an Armed Guard?

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Top Skills for An Armed Guard

  1. Ensure Safety
  2. Vehicle Searches
  3. Personnel Files
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Coordinated and planned route analysis and force protection procedures to ensure safety.
  • Conduct vehicle searches/inspections, in accordance with standing operating procedures.
  • Conduct ATM deposit pulls, first line maintenance, balancing and cash replenishment to ensure maximum available operation time.
  • Provided safe delivery of valuable items to each establishment along designated routes.
  • Respond to unusual or emergency situations with appropriate escalation of force up to and including armed response following established protocol.

How Would You Rate Working As an Armed Guard?

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