A security specialist is responsible for maintaining the security of an organization's database, ensuring that it's free from cyber threats and unusual activities. Security specialists' duties include upgrading hardware and software applications, configuring networks to improve optimization, addressing any unauthorized access on the database, troubleshooting system discrepancies, conducting security audits on the system, and improving automated processes. A security specialist must have a strong command of programming languages and system codes, as well as broad experience with technical expertise.

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Security Specialist Responsibilities

Here are examples of responsibilities from real security specialist resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Manage firewalls in multiple locations and enclaves.
  • Manage the application for the FCL, maintain e-FCL and track clearance progress; provide CEO reports for require clearance actions.
  • Formulate security strategies in compliance with corporate and government regulations including NISPOM, DCID and ICD.
  • Provide guidance and direction to unclear personnel base on NSA security regulations.
  • Process personnel and vehicles utilizing x-ray machines, magnetometers, and administrative search techniques when necessary.
  • Follow regulations set by the NISPOM, JAFAN and ICD's.
  • Monitor and report on potential insider threat activities.
  • Protect top secret materials and areas of NSA.
  • Perform routine PIV responsibilities in support of credential issuance.
  • Climb ladders in order to position and setup vehicle-mount derricks.
  • Lead instructor and lead curriculum developer for all Joint/DoD OPSEC courses.
  • Maintain security and safety of DHS personnel and property in assign areas.
  • Escort LES staff into CAA areas and ensure all classifieds are secure.
  • Assist badge holders with the registration and enrollment process for the PIV I.D.
  • Secure all access, entry, and exit points at the DHS facility.

Security Specialist Job Description

When it comes to understanding what a security specialist does, you may be wondering, "should I become a security specialist?" The data included in this section may help you decide. Compared to other jobs, security specialists have a growth rate described as "as fast as average" at 4% between the years 2018 - 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, the number of security specialist opportunities that are predicted to open up by 2028 is 40,600.

Security specialists average about $23.99 an hour, which makes the security specialist annual salary $49,892. Additionally, security specialists are known to earn anywhere from $25,000 to $98,000 a year. This means that the top-earning security specialists make $74,000 more than the lowest earning ones.

It's hard work to become a security specialist, but even the most dedicated employees consider switching careers from time to time. Whether you're interested in a more challenging position or just looking for a fresh start, we've compiled extensive information on becoming a patrol officer, enforcement officer, protective officer, and public safety officer.

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Security Specialist Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 15% of Security Specialists are proficient in Ladders, Security Incidents, and Physical Security. They’re also known for soft skills such as Analytical skills, Detail oriented, and Problem-solving skills.

We break down the percentage of Security Specialists that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • Ladders, 15%

    Communicate by radio or phone; climb ladders to make sure trucks were secure in all types of weather.

  • Security Incidents, 12%

    Assist in the identification, reporting, investigation and documenting security incidents in accordance with applicable policies and directives.

  • Physical Security, 8%

    Reviewed physical security requirements and ensured their proper implementation; authored various security related correspondences for own or Group Leaders signature;

  • Patrol, 7%

    Contracted through this established security agency to provide security patrol and various security-related services at Progressive Insurance Companies in Highland Heights.

  • Customer Service, 6%

    Served as Customer Service/Receptionist/Dispatcher/Console Operator.

  • Security Clearance, 4%

    Enforce government security policies; provide direction and guidance with regards to these program security regulations, processed personnel security clearances.

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Some of the skills we found on security specialist resumes included "ladders," "security incidents," and "physical security." We have detailed the most important security specialist responsibilities below.

  • A security specialist responsibilities sometimes require "communication skills." The responsibilities that rely on this skills are shown by this resume excerpt: "security guards and officers must communicate effectively with others, even in stressful situations." This resume example shows how this skill is used by security specialists: "provide direction for access control to classified facility of 500+ employees promote security awareness and contribute to security-related communications. "
  • Another common skill for a security specialist to be able to utilize is "good judgment." Security guards and officers must be able to quickly determine the best course of action when a dangerous situation arises. A security specialist demonstrated the need for this skill by putting this on their resume: "exercised independent judgment in managing physical security team in annapolis. "
  • Another skill commonly found on security specialist resumes is "observation skills." This description of the skill was found on several security specialist resumes: "security guards and officers must be alert and aware of their surroundings, and be able to quickly recognize anything out of the ordinary." Here's an example from a resume of how this skill could fit into the day-to-day security specialist responsibilities: "provide physical security and maintain observation of my surroundings. "
  • See the full list of security specialist skills.

    We've found that 47.8% of security specialists have earned a bachelor's degree. Furthermore, 7.0% earned their master's degrees before becoming a security specialist. While it's true that most security specialists have a college degree, it's generally possible to become one with only a high school degree. In fact, one out of every six security specialists did not spend the extra money to attend college.

    Those security specialists who do attend college, typically earn either a criminal justice degree or a business degree. Less commonly earned degrees for security specialists include a general studies degree or a psychology degree.

    Once you're ready to become a security specialist, you should explore the companies that typically hire security specialists. According to security specialist resumes that we searched through, security specialists are hired the most by Target, Allied Universal, and Lincoln Financial Group. Currently, Target has 942 security specialist job openings, while there are 194 at Allied Universal and 99 at Lincoln Financial Group.

    If you're interested in companies where security specialists make the most money, you'll want to apply for positions at Okta, Microsoft, and McKinsey & Company Inc. We found that at Okta, the average security specialist salary is $146,220. Whereas at Microsoft, security specialists earn roughly $130,227. And at McKinsey & Company Inc, they make an average salary of $129,950.

    View more details on security specialist salaries across the United States.

    If you earned a degree from the top 100 educational institutions in the United States, you might want to take a look at Securitas AB, Securitas AB, and G4S Technology. These three companies have hired a significant number of security specialists from these institutions.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious security specialists are:

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    What Patrol Officers Do

    The job of patrol officers is to enforce ordinances, laws, prevent crime, control crowds, arrest violators, and regulate traffic. They also perform other duties that may include monitoring an assigned area for unauthorized or suspicious activity, responding to reports of emergencies and possible crime such as robberies, and building good relationships with community members. To be a successful patrol officer, you should have solid judgment, excellent communication skills, and decision-making skills in stressful situations.

    We looked at the average security specialist annual salary and compared it with the average of a patrol officer. Generally speaking, patrol officers receive $14,271 lower pay than security specialists per year.

    While their salaries may differ, one common ground between security specialists and patrol officers are a few of the skills required in each craft. In both careers, employees bring forth skills like patrol, customer service, and public safety.

    As far as similarities go, this is where it ends because a security specialist responsibility requires skills such as "ladders," "security incidents," "physical security," and "security clearance." Whereas a patrol officer is skilled in "law enforcement agencies," "traffic control," "crime scenes," and "safety hazards." So if you're looking for what truly separates the two careers, you've found it.

    Patrol officers tend to reach similar levels of education than security specialists. In fact, patrol officers are 2.1% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 0.0% less likely to have a Doctoral Degree.

    What Are The Duties Of an Enforcement Officer?

    The enforcement officer is someone who promotes and enforces policies, instructions, and obligations of tenants. An enforcement officer aims to resolve two parties' issues that may arise from orders given by the admin or management. Among the enforcement officers' tasks is to assist in evictions, render payments, and inform them of new ordinances and instructions for tenants to abide by. An enforcement officer may also be tasked to ensure that a judgment or resolution is enforced and observed.

    Next up, we have the enforcement officer profession to look over. This career brings along a lower average salary when compared to a security specialist annual salary. In fact, enforcement officers salary difference is $11,446 lower than the salary of security specialists per year.

    A similarity between the two careers of security specialists and enforcement officers are a few of the skills associated with both roles. We used resumes from both professions to find that both use skills like "patrol," "customer service," and "public safety. "

    In addition to the difference in salary, there are some other key differences that are worth noting. For example, security specialist responsibilities are more likely to require skills like "ladders," "security incidents," "physical security," and "security clearance." Meanwhile, a enforcement officer might be skilled in areas such as "parking enforcement," "traffic control," "issue citations," and "collating." These differences highlight just how different the day-to-day in each role looks.

    When it comes to the differences in education between the two professions, enforcement officers tend to reach similar levels of education than security specialists. In fact, they're 0.8% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 0.0% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    How a Protective Officer Compares

    A protective officer is in charge of preventing theft and damages in stores and other establishments. Among their responsibilities include monitoring alarm systems and surveillance cameras, patrolling areas, keeping an eye on suspicious activities and behavior, developing strategies to enforce security protocols, and responding to distress. There are also instances where they must conduct inspections and produce reports. Furthermore, as a protective officer, it is essential to coordinate with law enforcement should the situation require.

    The third profession we take a look at is protective officer. On an average scale, these workers bring in lower salaries than security specialists. In fact, they make a $9,363 lower salary per year.

    Using security specialists and protective officers resumes, we found that both professions have similar skills such as "physical security," "patrol," and "customer service," but the other skills required are very different.

    There are many key differences between these two careers as shown by resumes from each profession. Some of those differences include the skills required to complete responsibilities within each role. As an example of this, a security specialist is likely to be skilled in "ladders," "security incidents," "security clearance," and "security program," while a typical protective officer is skilled in "safety hazards," "patients," "loss prevention," and "vehicle inspections."

    When it comes to education, protective officers tend to earn similar education levels than security specialists. In fact, they're 1.5% less likely to earn a Master's Degree, and 0.1% less likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

    Description Of a Public Safety Officer

    Public relations assistants are professionals who are responsible for creating and distributing promotional materials to help clients increase their public image and awareness of their products and services. These assistants are required to help develop and distribute public relations materials such as brochures, pamphlets, newsletters, and sell sheets. They must handle all the communications of their clients to the public by supervising social media content, press releases, and emails. Public relations assistants must also gather materials to be used in trade shows or client presentations.

    Public safety officers tend to earn a lower pay than security specialists by about $13,296 per year.

    While their salaries may vary, security specialists and public safety officers both use similar skills to perform their jobs. Resumes from both professions include skills like "physical security," "patrol," and "customer service. "

    Even though a few skill sets overlap, there are some differences that are important to note. For one, a security specialist might have more use for skills like "ladders," "security incidents," "security clearance," and "security program." Meanwhile, some public safety officers might include skills like "patients," "motor vehicle," "traffic control," and "safety hazards" on their resume.

    In general, public safety officers reach similar levels of education when compared to security specialists resumes. Public safety officers are 3.1% less likely to earn their Master's Degree and 0.1% less likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

    What a Security Specialist Does FAQs

    How Much Do Security Specialists Make?

    Security specialists make between $50,000 and $145,000 per year. How much a security specialist makes heavily depends on which security specialist field they are in.

    A physical security specialist can make anywhere between $60,000 and just over $100,000 per year. The estimated entry-level physical security specialist salary is $40,000. The average salary is closer to $70,000 per year at mid-level, with higher-level physical security specialists making $90,000 to $100,000 per year.

    What Is The Role Of A Security Specialist?

    A security specialist's role is to protect and provide preventative safety and security for different departments. A security specialist can provide security for:

    • People

    • Assets

    • Networks

    • Telecommunication systems

    • IT systems

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