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Become A Patrol Guard

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Working As A Patrol 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

  • $32,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Patrol 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 A Patrol 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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Average Length of Employment
Protective Officer 2.6 years
Security Officer 2.5 years
Security Agent 2.3 years
Armed Guard 2.2 years
Security Guard 2.0 years
Patrol Driver 2.0 years
Security 2.0 years
Patrol Guard 2.0 years
Top Careers Before Patrol Guard
Cashier 14.2%
Assistant 3.6%
Driver 3.2%
Supervisor 3.2%
Server 2.0%
Top Careers After Patrol Guard
Cashier 6.9%
Driver 4.6%
Supervisor 4.6%
Volunteer 2.3%
Cook 2.3%
Security 2.3%
Manager 1.9%
Officer 1.9%

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Patrol Guard Demographics

Gender

Male

55.6%

Female

25.0%

Unknown

19.4%
Ethnicity

White

58.0%

Hispanic or Latino

21.7%

Black or African American

10.1%

Asian

6.3%

Unknown

4.0%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

72.7%

Portuguese

9.1%

Italian

9.1%

French

9.1%
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Patrol Guard Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

10.2%

Texas Southern University

6.1%

Bakersfield College

6.1%

Houston Community College

6.1%

Victor Valley College

6.1%

Indian River State College

6.1%

The Academy

6.1%

Chaffey College

4.1%

Brown University

4.1%

Lewis-Clark State College

4.1%

Spokane Community College

4.1%

Arizona Automotive Institute

4.1%

Tarrant County College District

4.1%

Fresno City College

4.1%

Mesa Community College - Boswell

4.1%

Tulane University

4.1%

Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York

4.1%

SAE Institute

4.1%

Heald College - Central Administrative Office

4.1%

UEI College - Fresno

4.1%
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Majors

Criminal Justice

29.5%

Business

18.6%

General Studies

7.1%

Medical Assisting Services

4.5%

Law Enforcement

3.8%

Accounting

3.2%

Graphic Design

3.2%

Psychology

2.6%

Management

2.6%

General Education, Specific Areas

2.6%

Health Care Administration

2.6%

Kinesiology

2.6%

Communication

2.6%

Engineering

2.6%

Liberal Arts

2.6%

Sociology

1.9%

Medical Technician

1.9%

Education

1.9%

Computer Science

1.9%

Computer Networking

1.9%
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Degrees

Other

38.2%

Bachelors

24.5%

Associate

21.9%

Certificate

8.2%

Diploma

4.7%

Masters

2.1%

License

0.4%
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Top Skills for A Patrol Guard

  1. Emergency Situations
  2. Suspicious Activity
  3. Security Checks
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Responded to and dispatched emergency response team during emergency situations.
  • Patrolled apartment complexes and other places of business looking for suspicious activity.
  • Conducted security checks on persons entering the country.
  • Provided preventive/protective security services; notified law enforcement on potential civil or criminal affairs.
  • Inspected client industrial and commercial premises to prevent and detect signs of intrusion and ensure compliance regulations.

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Top Patrol Guard Employers

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