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Become A Security Guard

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Working As A Security 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

  • $29,640

    Average Salary

What Does A Security Guard Do

A Security Guard is focused on guarding and patrolling premises to prevent theft, violence, or infractions of rules. They maintain a safe and secure environment.

How To Become A Security 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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Security Guard jobs

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Security Guard Career Paths

Security Guard Demographics

Gender

  • Male

    67.0%
  • Female

    30.9%
  • Unknown

    2.1%

Ethnicity

  • White

    78.0%
  • Hispanic or Latino

    13.5%
  • Asian

    6.2%
  • Unknown

    1.7%
  • Black or African American

    0.6%
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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

    69.5%
  • French

    8.9%
  • Arabic

    3.3%
  • German

    3.2%
  • Italian

    1.6%
  • Russian

    1.6%
  • Portuguese

    1.6%
  • Japanese

    1.4%
  • Carrier

    1.1%
  • Chinese

    0.9%
  • Mandarin

    0.9%
  • Hindi

    0.8%
  • Korean

    0.8%
  • Polish

    0.8%
  • Urdu

    0.7%
  • Thai

    0.7%
  • Hmong

    0.6%
  • Samoan

    0.5%
  • Tagalog

    0.5%
  • Cantonese

    0.5%
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Top Skills for A Security Guard

EnsureSafetyEmergencySituationsFacilityDriveMotorVehicleSurveillanceEquipmentCustomerServiceDailyActivitiesPropertyDamageSuspiciousActivityDetectSignsUnusualOccurrencesFireDepartmentsIncidentReportsCctvControlAccessLocalLawEnforcementFootPatrolAccessPointsTelephoneCallsLossPrevention

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Top Security Guard Skills

  1. Ensure Safety
  2. Emergency Situations
  3. Facility
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Worked in the Mall patrol area to ensure safety for the employees and customers before, during and after working hours.
  • Interfaced with the Police and Fire Departments and responded to all emergency situations as needed or directed by policies.
  • Required to take inventory of products that were brought into the facility and monitored any theft or violence in the premises.
  • Escort or drive motor vehicle to transport individuals to specific locations or to provide personal protections.
  • Monitor CCTV activities and maintained surveillance equipment

Top Security Guard Employers

Security Guard Videos

Working As A SECURITY GUARD

Security Guard Jobs

U.S. Marines' Embassy Security Guard Training

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