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Job Openings

Security Guard Careers

Security guards help protect some valuable stuff, which varies depending on where they're working. Maybe you'll work for a jewelry store so you'll learn to protect precious gems or maybe you'll work for an apartment complex where you'll be protecting the residents.

Really, there isn't a limit for who or what business needs a security guard. You can find work just about anywhere. A lot of businesses struggle with theft, some even have violent situations arise frequently. Other companies deal with people not following the rules and like to have a security guard to help. So you see, you're needed everywhere.

Sometimes a venue or event will be so big, they'll have x-ray and metal detector equipment setup. In these situations, you'll have to operate and examine those machines as people walk through. Or maybe you'll end up as an individual person's security guard. Whatever you end up guarding, just make sure you're ready for whatever is thrown at you.

What Does a Security Guard Do

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

Learn more about what a Security Guard does

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.


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.


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.


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 Career Paths

Top Careers Before Security Guard

22.8 %

Top Careers After Security Guard

11.8 %

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Average Salary for a Security Guard

Security Guards in America make an average salary of $29,525 per year or $14 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $36,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $24,000 per year.
Average Salary
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Best Paying Cities For Security Guards

Average Salarydesc
Lakewood, WA
Salary Range34k - 46k$40k$39,704
San Francisco, CA
Salary Range29k - 41k$35k$35,202
Minneapolis, MN
Salary Range29k - 38k$33k$33,443
Boston, MA
Salary Range27k - 37k$32k$32,284
Richmond, VA
Salary Range26k - 38k$32k$31,640
Buffalo, NY
Salary Range26k - 37k$31k$31,300
Denver, CO
Salary Range26k - 35k$31k$30,918
South Portland, ME
Salary Range26k - 34k$30k$30,467
Salt Lake City, UT
Salary Range25k - 34k$30k$29,875
Paramus, NJ
Salary Range24k - 36k$30k$29,855
Branford, CT
Salary Range24k - 35k$30k$29,715
Omaha, NE
Salary Range24k - 33k$29k$28,651
Burlington, VT
Salary Range24k - 32k$29k$28,575
Kansas City, MO
Salary Range24k - 33k$28k$28,434
Surprise, AZ
Salary Range23k - 32k$28k$27,855
Baltimore, MD
Salary Range22k - 33k$27k$27,346
Raleigh, NC
Salary Range22k - 31k$27k$26,566
Sioux City, IA
Salary Range22k - 30k$26k$26,355
Billings, MT
Salary Range22k - 29k$26k$25,938
Philadelphia, PA
Salary Range21k - 31k$26k$25,696

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Security Guard Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Security Guard. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Security Guard Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Security Guard resumes and compiled some information about how to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Security Guard Resume Examples And Templates

Security Guard Demographics



65.2 %


30.4 %


4.4 %



60.5 %

Hispanic or Latino

19.4 %

Black or African American

11.4 %

Foreign Languages Spoken


71.9 %


8.4 %


3.0 %
Show More Security Guard Demographics

Security Guard Education


16.5 %


High School Diploma

42.3 %


20.7 %


20.1 %
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Online Courses For Security Guard That You May Like

Information Security - Authentication and Access Control
edX (Global)

This is the 2nd course in the intermediate, undergraduate-level offering that makes up the larger Cybersecurity Fundamentals MicroBachelors Program. We recommend taking them in order, unless you have a background in these areas already and feel comfortable skipping ahead. Information Security - Introduction to Information Security Information Security - Authentication and Access Control Information Security - Advanced Topics Network Security - Introduction to Network Security Network Security...

Fire Safety and Prevention Planning

Become an expert in understanding "Fire Safety" and "Prevention Planning" for your workplaces and organizations...

Google Workspace Security

Google Workspace Security is the third course in the Google Workspace Administration series. In this course you will focus on the various aspects of Google Workspace Security including user password policies and how to enable and enforce two step verification (2SV) for your users. You will learn about application security and understand how to whitelist and block API access to your account. You will see how Google Workspace can easily be integrated with a number of predefined 3rd party applicati...

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Top Skills For a Security Guard

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 23.3% of security guards listed customer service on their resume, but soft skills such as communication skills and good judgment are important as well.

  • Customer Service, 23.3%
  • Communication, 15.8%
  • Safety Rules, 6.5%
  • Security Services, 5.2%
  • Emergency, 4.9%
  • Other Skills, 44.3%
  • See All Security Guard Skills

Best States For a Security Guard

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a security guard. The best states for people in this position are Hawaii, Washington, North Dakota, and Minnesota. Security guards make the most in Hawaii with an average salary of $42,678. Whereas in Washington and North Dakota, they would average $39,127 and $33,715, respectively. While security guards would only make an average of $33,408 in Minnesota, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Hawaii

Total Security Guard Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Minnesota

Total Security Guard Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Washington

Total Security Guard Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Security Guards

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Updated August 18, 2021