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Become A Security Specialist

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Working As A Security Specialist

  • 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

  • $34,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Security Specialist 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 Specialist

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 Specialist Career Paths

Security Specialist
Specialist Team Leader Warehouse Manager
Logistics Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Specialist Team Leader Director
Deputy Director
9 Yearsyrs
Specialist Officer
Operations Officer
5 Yearsyrs
Sergeant Officer
Senior Officer
5 Yearsyrs
Sergeant Security Supervisor
Security Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Sergeant Security Supervisor Security Manager
Security Director
10 Yearsyrs
Driver Officer Operations Officer
Chief Of Operations
7 Yearsyrs
Driver Emergency Medical Technician Security Supervisor
Security Site Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Intelligence Analyst Analyst Investigator
Loss Prevention Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Intelligence Analyst Security Manager
Security Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Technician Analyst Investigator
Loss Prevention Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Investigator Security Manager
Assistant Director Of Security
7 Yearsyrs
Emergency Medical Technician Training Officer Platoon Leader
Transportation Officer
5 Yearsyrs
Emergency Medical Technician Safety Coordinator Environmental Health Safety Manager
Manager, Security And Safety
9 Yearsyrs
Loss Prevention Officer Site Supervisor Security Director
Chief Of Security
8 Yearsyrs
Technician Technical Support Specialist Information Security Analyst
Securities Adviser
8 Yearsyrs
Loss Prevention Officer Site Supervisor Lead Security Officer
Security, Shift Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Analyst Product Manager Product Management Director
Chief Product Officer
6 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Specialist Security Officer Lieutenant
Court Security Officer
10 Yearsyrs
Facility Security Officer Security Assistant
Senior Security Officer
5 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Security Specialist?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Security Police 5.8 years
Security Inspector 4.3 years
Security Assistant 2.5 years
Security Officer 2.5 years
Security Agent 2.3 years
Security Escort 1.7 years
Top Careers Before Security Specialist
Cashier 6.3%
Internship 3.7%
Supervisor 3.5%
Manager 3.1%
Sergeant 2.8%
Specialist 2.3%
Officer 2.0%
Top Careers After Security Specialist
Manager 3.9%
Supervisor 3.8%
Cashier 3.3%
Driver 2.9%
Specialist 2.9%
Owner 2.7%

Do you work as a Security Specialist?

Security Specialist Demographics

Gender

Male

65.2%

Female

25.0%

Unknown

9.8%
Ethnicity

White

60.8%

Hispanic or Latino

16.2%

Black or African American

12.7%

Asian

6.4%

Unknown

3.9%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

60.0%

French

7.1%

German

4.1%

Portuguese

3.7%

Arabic

3.7%

Russian

2.6%

Italian

2.4%

Korean

2.2%

Japanese

2.2%

Hindi

1.9%

Thai

1.9%

Chinese

1.9%

Mandarin

1.3%

Dari

1.1%

Urdu

1.1%

Hebrew

0.6%

Carrier

0.6%

Persian

0.6%

Vietnamese

0.4%

Somali

0.4%
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Security Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

19.7%

Community College of the Air Force

11.3%

University of Maryland - University College

7.3%

American University

7.2%

The Academy

6.5%

Strayer University

5.5%

Ashford University

4.8%

Northern Virginia Community College

4.7%

Kaplan University

4.5%

American InterContinental University

3.1%

Liberty University

3.0%

Webster University

3.0%

Columbia Southern University

2.9%

Central Texas College

2.8%

Bellevue University

2.5%

Miami Dade College

2.4%

George Mason University

2.4%

Colorado Technical University

2.2%

Prince George's Community College

2.2%

Capella University

2.0%
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Majors

Criminal Justice

30.6%

Business

22.4%

General Studies

4.0%

Finance

3.8%

Management

3.6%

Psychology

3.6%

Computer Science

3.3%

Information Technology

2.9%

Law Enforcement

2.6%

Computer Information Systems

2.6%

Accounting

2.6%

Communication

2.5%

Homeland Security

2.5%

Education

2.4%

Political Science

2.4%

Human Resources Management

1.9%

Liberal Arts

1.9%

Sociology

1.6%

Health Care Administration

1.5%

Electrical Engineering

1.5%
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Degrees

Bachelors

36.9%

Other

27.1%

Associate

15.2%

Masters

12.5%

Certificate

5.7%

Diploma

1.4%

Doctorate

0.8%

License

0.4%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$34,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$21,000
Min 10%
$34,000
Median 50%
$34,000
Median 50%
$34,000
Median 50%
$34,000
Median 50%
$34,000
Median 50%
$34,000
Median 50%
$34,000
Median 50%
$55,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
CUNA Mutual Group
Highest Paying City
Germantown, MD
Highest Paying State
Maryland
Avg Experience Level
3.3 years
How much does a Security Specialist make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Security Specialist in the United States is $34,709 per year or $17 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $21,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $55,000.

Real Security Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Info Security Specialist Inovant LLC Foster City, CA Sep 23, 2015 $150,800 -
$170,000
Application Security Specialist NYSE Market, Inc. New York, NY Jul 03, 2012 $135,000
Director, Security Specialist/Cybercrime UBS AG Stamford, CT May 04, 2016 $131,000 -
$158,000
Director, Security Specialist/Cybercrime UBS Services LLC Stamford, CT Jan 04, 2016 $130,500 -
$163,000
Info Security Specialist Inovant, LLC Foster City, CA Sep 01, 2014 $125,146 -
$168,300
Application/Data Security Specialist Synerzy Software Solutions Inc. Iselin, NJ Mar 30, 2016 $125,000
Application Security Specialist Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Services Inc. Chicago, IL Apr 21, 2016 $124,900
Application Security Specialist Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Services Inc. Chicago, IL Apr 21, 2016 $120,500
Application Security Specialist A Aspect Security Inc. Columbia, MD Dec 21, 2015 $120,203
SAP Security Specialist Edison Mission Energy Santa Ana, CA Oct 20, 2014 $115,523 -
$131,496
Software Security Specialist Accuvant, Inc. Miami, FL May 05, 2014 $115,000
Application Security Specialist Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Services, Inc. Chicago, IL Apr 21, 2013 $114,700
SAP Applications Security Specialist Ingram Micro Santa Ana, CA Oct 02, 2011 $114,400
Application Security Specialist Electronic Arts, Inc. Redwood City, CA Aug 25, 2016 $110,000
SAP Security Specialist TXU Energy Retail Company LLC Irving, TX May 26, 2015 $104,915 -
$110,000
Director, Security Specialist UBS AG Jersey City, NJ Aug 28, 2012 $101,500 -
$175,000
Director, Security Specialist UBS AG Jersey City, NJ Jan 02, 2012 $101,171 -
$175,000
Director, Security Specialist UBS AG Weehawken, NJ Feb 02, 2012 $101,171 -
$175,000
Security Specialist Saviynt, LLC Los Angeles, CA Mar 25, 2011 $100,000
Security Specialist Intel Corporation Hillsboro, OR Feb 11, 2011 $96,200 -
$127,300
Security Specialist Emagine It, Inc. Alexandria, VA Aug 18, 2016 $95,000 -
$104,000
Application Security Specialist Medtech Staffing & Solutions, Inc. New York, NY Mar 11, 2016 $93,915
Application Security Specialist Medtech Staffing & Solutions, Inc. New York, NY Nov 03, 2014 $74,193
Security Specialist National Abortion Federation Washington, DC Sep 19, 2013 $71,219
Security Specialist. Jewish Community Center of San Francisco San Francisco, CA Dec 17, 2009 $67,288 -
$77,000
Security Specialist Saviynt Los Angeles, CA Mar 07, 2011 $66,664 -
$100,000
Application Security Specialist GVA Infotech Inc. Ashburn, VA Oct 09, 2016 $66,000
Application Security Specialist Anira Solutions Inc. Ashburn, VA Oct 09, 2016 $66,000
Airline Security Specialist Avianca Inc. Miami, FL Sep 30, 2016 $65,000
Airline Security Specialist Avianca Inc. NY Jun 23, 2016 $65,000

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Top Skills for A Security Specialist

  1. Security Procedures
  2. Public Safety
  3. Facility
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Performed duties in the development and implementation of counterintelligence security procedures and operating policies as applied to a Special Access Program.
  • Cloud State University: Supervised the daily operations of the Patrol/Communications Division of the Public Safety Department.
  • Generate confidential reports for the Investigations department, Human Resources, Facility Managers.
  • Qualified in training of planning and execution emergency plan in the event of a plane/terrorist/natural disaster attack or other emergency situations.
  • Meet and assist Department of Defense investigators in reviewing security files for employees undergoing the clearance investigation process.

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Top 10 Best States for Security Specialists

  1. New Jersey
  2. Virginia
  3. District of Columbia
  4. New Mexico
  5. Rhode Island
  6. Maryland
  7. North Carolina
  8. Massachusetts
  9. Delaware
  10. Connecticut
  • (1,077 jobs)
  • (1,904 jobs)
  • (441 jobs)
  • (256 jobs)
  • (111 jobs)
  • (847 jobs)
  • (1,112 jobs)
  • (1,326 jobs)
  • (109 jobs)
  • (408 jobs)

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