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Become A Protective Services Officer

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Working As A Protective Services 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

  • $33,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Protective Services 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 A Protective Services 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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Protective Services Officer Career Paths

Protective Services Officer
Security Supervisor Security Manager
Security Director
10 Yearsyrs
Security Supervisor Security Manager Loss Prevention Manager
Asset Protection Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Security Supervisor Site Supervisor
Lead Security Officer
5 Yearsyrs
Officer Assistant Operations Officer
Operations Officer
5 Yearsyrs
Officer Investigator
Security Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Officer Investigator Security Manager
Security Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Site Supervisor Lead Security Officer
Security Site Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Site Supervisor Safety Supervisor Environmental Health Safety Manager
Manager, Security And Safety
9 Yearsyrs
Shift Supervisor Area Supervisor Loss Prevention Manager
Assistant Director Of Security
7 Yearsyrs
Shift Supervisor Program Manager Executive Officer
Chief Of Police
10 Yearsyrs
Force Protection Officer Liaison Officer Platoon Leader
Transportation Officer
5 Yearsyrs
Force Protection Officer Intelligence Analyst Investigator
Loss Prevention Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Force Protection Officer Assistant Operations Officer Chief Petty Officer
Chief Product Officer
6 Yearsyrs
Team Leader Subject Matter Expert Branch Chief
Chief Of Security
8 Yearsyrs
Shift Supervisor Supervisor Case Manager Supervisor
Transportation Security Officer
5 Yearsyrs
Lead Security Officer Security Site Supervisor Security Guard Supervisor
Fire Safety Director
6 Yearsyrs
Technician Technical Support Specialist Information Security Analyst
Securities Adviser
8 Yearsyrs
Lead Security Officer
Security, Shift Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Protective Officer 2.6 years
Security Officer 2.5 years
Security Agent 2.3 years
Armed Guard 2.2 years
Patrol Guard 2.0 years
Security Guard 2.0 years
Security 2.0 years
Top Careers Before Protective Services Officer
Supervisor 3.3%
Cashier 3.2%
Officer 2.6%
Sergeant 2.0%
Top Careers After Protective Services Officer
Officer 3.7%
Supervisor 3.3%
Security 2.4%
Owner 2.0%
Internship 2.0%

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Top Skills for A Protective Services Officer

  1. Safety Hazards
  2. Emergency Situations
  3. Federal Facilities
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Diffuse irregular or unusual conditions that may create security concerns or safety hazards for customers, employees and visitors.
  • Qualified to carry an automatic weapon and underwent extensive training in order to deal with dangerous emergency situations.
  • Uphold all rules and regulations of District of Columbia (DC) federal facilities congruent to federal law.
  • Conducted aggressive CCTV monitoring to deter terrorist surveillance and attacks.
  • Provide access control by ensuring that only authorized persons are permitted in their area of responsibility.

Protective Services Officer Demographics

Gender

Male

70.0%

Female

16.4%

Unknown

13.5%
Ethnicity

White

60.2%

Black or African American

16.3%

Hispanic or Latino

14.1%

Asian

5.6%

Unknown

3.8%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

73.5%

French

14.7%

German

2.9%

Japanese

2.9%

Hebrew

2.9%

Mandarin

2.9%
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Protective Services Officer Education

Schools

The Academy

14.5%

University of Phoenix

9.1%

Prince George's Community College

7.9%

Baltimore City Community College

7.3%

University of Maryland - University College

6.7%

Strayer University

6.1%

Kaplan University

5.5%

Liberty University

4.8%

American University

4.8%

University of the District of Columbia

4.2%

Community College of the Air Force

4.2%

Monroe Community College

3.6%

Northern Virginia Community College

3.6%

Morgan State University

3.0%

Michigan State University

2.4%

Ashford University

2.4%

Ohio State University

2.4%

Webster University

2.4%

Montgomery County Community College

2.4%

Grand Valley State University

2.4%
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Majors

Criminal Justice

42.9%

Business

13.9%

Law Enforcement

5.7%

General Studies

3.4%

Psychology

3.1%

Homeland Security

3.1%

Law

2.9%

Communication

2.5%

Information Technology

2.3%

Medical Technician

2.3%

Education

2.1%

Health Care Administration

2.1%

Sociology

2.1%

English

1.9%

Political Science

1.9%

Automotive Technology

1.7%

Nursing

1.7%

Computer Science

1.5%

Computer Information Systems

1.5%

Liberal Arts

1.3%
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Degrees

Other

31.7%

Bachelors

30.5%

Associate

17.6%

Masters

9.1%

Certificate

7.9%

Diploma

1.7%

Doctorate

0.9%

License

0.4%
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