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Become An Officer

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Working As An Officer

  • 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

  • $78,985

    Average Salary

What Does An Officer 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 Officer

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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Officer Jobs

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Officer Career Paths

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Officer Demographics

Gender

Male

60.6%

Female

36.5%

Unknown

2.9%
Ethnicity

White

74.8%

Hispanic or Latino

11.4%

Asian

9.6%

Unknown

2.9%

Black or African American

1.3%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

44.8%

French

11.9%

Arabic

4.7%

German

4.6%

Mandarin

4.4%

Chinese

4.2%

Russian

3.3%

Japanese

3.1%

Italian

2.3%

Portuguese

2.3%

Urdu

2.0%

Korean

2.0%

Hindi

1.9%

Vietnamese

1.8%

Cantonese

1.8%

Tagalog

1.2%

Thai

1.1%

Carrier

1.1%

Filipino

0.9%

Hebrew

0.7%
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Officer Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

16.9%

Webster University

7.6%

Liberty University

7.3%

The Academy

5.9%

Troy University

5.3%

American University

5.3%

Kaplan University

4.9%

Community College of the Air Force

4.8%

Ashford University

4.2%

University of Maryland - University College

4.0%

Texas A&M University

3.8%

Strayer University

3.6%

George Washington University

3.5%

Pennsylvania State University

3.5%

Michigan State University

3.4%

Florida State University

3.3%

Eastern Kentucky University

3.3%

Central Texas College

3.1%

Capella University

3.1%

University of Texas at Austin

3.0%
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Majors

Business

22.8%

Criminal Justice

19.3%

Management

5.4%

Psychology

4.8%

Accounting

4.8%

Finance

4.5%

Law

3.8%

Political Science

3.8%

Education

3.6%

Communication

3.0%

Computer Science

2.7%

General Studies

2.6%

Nursing

2.6%

Human Resources Management

2.6%

Marketing

2.5%

International Relations

2.2%

Economics

2.2%

Public Administration

2.2%

History

2.2%

Health Care Administration

2.1%
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Degrees

Bachelors

36.0%

Masters

23.5%

Other

21.3%

Associate

8.6%

Certificate

4.6%

Doctorate

3.9%

Diploma

1.9%

License

0.2%
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Real Officer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Casualty Underwriting Officer National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa. New York, NY Jan 01, 2016 $325,000
Casualty Underwriting Officer National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburg New York, NY Jan 01, 2014 $325,000
Nanotechnology Translation Officer Selecta Biosciences, Inc. Watertown Town, MA Dec 20, 2013 $225,000 -
$325,000
Travel Underwriting Officer National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa. New York, NY Nov 16, 2015 $150,000
Funding and Derivatives Officer Bank of The West San Ramon, CA Feb 22, 2016 $148,000
Client Solutions Officer Rabobank International New York, NY Sep 15, 2012 $136,989
Relationship Officer Citibank, N.A. Miami, FL Jun 09, 2016 $130,000
Officer MUFG Union Bank, N.A. Jersey City, NJ Dec 15, 2015 $130,000
Officer MUFG Union Bank, N.A. Jersey City, NJ Sep 22, 2014 $130,000
Web Standards Officer Ripple Labs Inc. San Francisco, CA Sep 16, 2015 $130,000
Transaction Monitoring Officer Travelex America Inc. New York, NY Nov 30, 2012 $129,771
Officer MUFG Union Bank, N.A. Jersey City, NJ Apr 08, 2015 $126,422
Officer Credit Industriel Et Commercial New York, NY May 05, 2012 $92,000
Officer Merrill Lynch New York, NY Sep 30, 2013 $91,242 -
$111,242
Securitization Officer Mizuho Bank, Ltd. New York, NY Aug 30, 2016 $90,000
Healthcare Analytics Officer Lincoln Technology Solutions, LLC Lincoln, NE Sep 23, 2016 $90,000
Officer Mizuho Alternative Investments, LLC New York, NY May 18, 2015 $90,000
Global Markets PDP Officer State Street Bank and Trust Company Boston, MA Aug 15, 2013 $90,000
Relationship Officer Citibank, N.A. Miami, FL May 20, 2012 $89,300
Officer Merrill Lynch New York, NY Sep 13, 2013 $89,053 -
$109,053
Officer HSBC Securities (USA) Inc. New York, NY Oct 01, 2012 $73,000
Derivatives Settlement Officer Pacific Coast Bankers Bank San Francisco, CA Jan 02, 2011 $72,800
Relationship Officer HSBC Bank USA, N.A. New York, NY Aug 22, 2013 $72,000
Relationship Officer HSBC Bank USA, N.A. New York, NY Aug 21, 2013 $72,000
Biosafety Officer Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey Piscataway, NJ Jan 01, 2016 $71,855
Web Content and Social Media Officer Institute for War & Peace Reporting Washington, DC Aug 11, 2016 $70,242
Governance Officer Natural Resource Governance Institute Washington, DC Jul 06, 2015 $70,000 -
$90,000
Relationship Officer HSBC Bank USA, N.A. New York, NY Apr 27, 2013 $70,000

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Top Skills for An Officer

PublicSafetyMilitaryPersonnelProceduresEmergencySituationsFacilityLawEnforcementAgenciesFinancialAssistancePoliceDepartmentVehicleSuperviseCommanderCombatLogisticsWeaponsBehaviorNewAccountsAdditionalResourceAudit

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  1. Public Safety
  2. Military Personnel
  3. Procedures
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Served as the office's lead media liaison for all public safety, crisis communications, legislative, and budget matters.
  • Directed, coordinated, and integrated various programs that supported the well-being and personal development of military personnel.
  • Cut personnel processing time by 50% with new deployment out-processing procedures, implemented base-wise.
  • Provide immediate response to breaches of security and/or emergency situations.
  • Experienced in all aspects of radiation safety, including regulatory requirements related to facility set-ups, operation decommission and decontamination technologies.

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