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Become A Security Patrol Officer

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Working As A Security Patrol 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

  • $92,570

    Average Salary

What Does A Security Patrol 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 Security Patrol 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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Security Patrol Officer Career Paths

Security Patrol Officer
Loss Prevention Officer Loss Prevention Agent Assets Protection Specialist
Asset Protection Lead
5 Yearsyrs
Emergency Medical Technician Police Officer Security Supervisor
Assistant Director Of Security
7 Yearsyrs
Emergency Medical Technician Training Officer Operations Officer
Chief Of Operations
7 Yearsyrs
Security Security Officer Security Manager
Chief Of Security
8 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Plant Operator Safety Supervisor
Director Of Public Safety
11 Yearsyrs
Dispatcher Patrol Officer Security Supervisor
Fire Safety Director
6 Yearsyrs
Patrol Officer Police Officer Security Officer
Lead Security Officer
5 Yearsyrs
Delivery Driver Electrician Security Officer
Loss Prevention Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Patrol Officer Field Training Officer Security Officer
Loss Prevention Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Security Officer Technician Maintenance Technician
Maintenance Director
11 Yearsyrs
Site Supervisor Maintenance Technician Operation Supervisor
Operations Officer
6 Yearsyrs
Security Supervisor Security Manager
Security Director
10 Yearsyrs
Security Supervisor Public Safety Officer Police Officer
Security Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Dispatcher Deputy Sheriff Security Supervisor
Security Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Delivery Driver Maintenance Supervisor Security Officer
Security Site Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Security Officer Patrol Officer Police Officer
Security Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Site Supervisor Recruiter Security Officer
Security, Shift Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Chief Engineer Chief Of Operations
Senior Officer
5 Yearsyrs
Security Security Supervisor Public Safety Officer
Senior Security Officer
6 Yearsyrs
Loss Prevention Officer Public Safety Officer Detention Officer
Transportation Officer
5 Yearsyrs
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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Special Police 3.4 years
Security Officer 2.3 years
Security Agent 2.2 years
Security Guard 1.9 years
Patrol Guard 1.9 years
Security 1.8 years
Top Employers Before
Cashier 5.6%
Supervisor 4.0%
Driver 2.6%
Internship 2.2%
Officer 1.7%
Volunteer 1.6%
Sergeant 1.6%
Top Employers After
Driver 3.0%
Cashier 3.0%
Officer 2.6%
Supervisor 2.4%
Volunteer 2.1%
Security 2.1%
Technician 2.1%

Do you work as a Security Patrol Officer?

Security Patrol Officer Demographics

Gender

Male

77.5%

Female

21.3%

Unknown

1.2%
Ethnicity

White

57.6%

Hispanic or Latino

21.4%

Black or African American

10.0%

Asian

6.0%

Unknown

5.0%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

58.6%

French

12.1%

Russian

3.4%

Hindi

3.4%

Arabic

3.4%

Navajo

3.4%

Samoan

1.7%

Hawaiian

1.7%

Chinese

1.7%

Vietnamese

1.7%

Ukrainian

1.7%

Japanese

1.7%

Dakota

1.7%

Urdu

1.7%

Armenian

1.7%
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Security Patrol Officer Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

18.9%

Community College of the Air Force

8.4%

Kaplan University

6.3%

San Jose City College

6.3%

Strayer University

5.3%

Austin Community College

5.3%

Purdue University

5.3%

Montgomery College

4.2%

The Academy

4.2%

University of Massachusetts - Boston

4.2%

American River College

3.2%

Heald College - Central Administrative Office

3.2%

Valdosta State University

3.2%

Lane Community College

3.2%

Houston Community College

3.2%

Modesto Junior College

3.2%

Atlantic Cape Community College

3.2%

Palomar College

3.2%

Eastern Kentucky University

3.2%

Southeastern Oklahoma State University

3.2%
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Majors

Criminal Justice

44.2%

Business

12.1%

General Studies

4.6%

Psychology

4.3%

Law Enforcement

4.3%

Finance

3.6%

Computer Science

2.7%

History

2.7%

Automotive Technology

2.2%

Liberal Arts

2.2%

Computer Information Systems

2.2%

Electrical Engineering

1.9%

Law

1.9%

Homeland Security

1.9%

Music

1.7%

Information Technology

1.7%

Fire Science And Protection

1.4%

Nursing

1.4%

Management

1.4%

Medical Assisting Services

1.4%
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Degrees

Other

37.9%

Bachelors

23.4%

Associate

22.6%

Certificate

9.1%

Masters

3.8%

Diploma

1.6%

License

1.3%

Doctorate

0.3%
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Top Skills for A Security Patrol Officer

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  1. Vehicle Patrols
  2. Safety Hazards
  3. Emergency
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Supervised multiple properties and employees while conducting mobile vehicle patrols.
  • Patrolled internal and external site, reporting any safety hazards or suspicious activity.
  • Assisted in standing site personnel incidents and emergency service requirements.
  • Train all new security personnel on security standard operating procedures.
  • Completed and submitted detailed reports of daily activities and observations to management.

How Would You Rate Working As a Security Patrol Officer?

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Top Security Patrol Officer Employers

Jobs From Top Security Patrol Officer Employers

Security Patrol Officer Videos

Working As A SECURITY GUARD

A Walk in Their Boots: Security Forces

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