As a security guard,  you will have the opportunity to GAIN experience working with different clients in a wide range of settings. This experience CAN be used to transition into other progressive roles in the same niche. As you will LEARN, a job as a security guard can be both gratifying and rewarding, depending on your assignments. Not to mention, you can upgrade your skills with different certifications to open up more opportunities down the line. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics the –

“Overall employment of security guards and surveillance officers is projected to grow 3 percent from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations.”

With that said,

To help you along your journey, our Security Guard career guide explores areas such as training/educational requirements, roles and duties of a Security Guard, career paths to salaries, and how to choose the right Security Guard training program for you.


Table of Contents

What Does A Security Guard Do?
Overview Of The Steps To Become A Security Guard (CHART)
Security Guard Educational Requirements And Prerequisites
Is There A National or STATE Security Guard Examination?
What Skills Do You Need To Be A Security Guard?
Security Guard Continuing Education (CE) Requirements
Renewing Your Security Guard License
How to Transfer Your Security Guard License to Another State
Security Guard Boards By State
Licensed Security Guard Career Paths
Licensed Security Guard Salary
Licensed Security Guard Industry Statistics
Licensed Security Guard Industry Earning Potential by State
Licensed Security Guard Highest Paying US Cities
Choosing The BEST Licensed Security Guard Program For You
Search Security Guard Jobs In Your Area
Additional Resources


What Does A Security Guard Do?

As a security guard, you will be responsible for inspecting property against fire, theft, vandalism, terrorism, and illegal activity. Your job will involve creating reports on incidents and providing regular updates to dispatch on the current STATUS of the location. For example, is it safe? Are there any potential risks?

Some of your other duties MAY include:

Enforcing the city laws to protect an employer’s property

Monitoring alarms and closed-circuit TV (CCTV) cameras for potential risks

Responding to emergencies to protect people and property

Monitoring and controlling building access for employees and visitors

Conducting around the CLOCK security checks over a specified area

Writing hourly reports on observations during specified shifts

Detaining violators


Overview Of The Steps To Become A Security Guard (CHART)

 





Security Guard Educational Requirements And Prerequisites

Before you CAN become a Security Guard in the United States, there are SPECIFIC educational requirements that MUST be completed.

Here are the MOST common requirements amongst all STATE’s in the United States.

1) At the time of completing your APPLICATION, you MUST be at least 18 years old

2) Must show proof of US citizenship

3) The candidate MUST successfully PASS a criminal background check (LIVE SCAN)

4) Candidate MUST complete a STATE recognized Security Guard Training program.

PLEASE NOTE: There are different training requirements for each STATE. Some MAY require 40 hours of training, while others require less. Please visit your STATE’s Security Guard Board for more information.

5) Candidate MUST submit fingerprint

6) It’s recommended that a candidate be in good physical conditioning

7) Submit application with all required information and fees


Is There A National or STATE Security Guard Examination?

Currently, there is NO NATIONAL or STATE level examination required to obtain your BASIC security guard license. However, you MAY be required to PASS a final examination before SUCCESSFULLY completing your STATE Security Guard training program.

PLEASE NOTE:  The information is intended for those individuals looking to achieve their BASIC security guard license. You MAY be required to write a STATE exam if you are upgrading your license to become a private investigator, armed security guard, etc.


What Skills Do You Need To Be A Security Guard?

As a security guard, you WILL be required to assess various situations and take the necessary action required to de-escalate the issue at hand. There are CERTAIN security officer skills and qualities that will be required on the job. With that said,

These qualities and skills are as follows:

Communication skills – To effectively be able to communicate with all persons to build rapport so that you CAN de-escalate stressful situations.

Observation skills – To effectively visualize or anticipate problematic situations promptly to avoid and contain unnecessary issues.

Patience – As a security guard, you could potentially be faced with hostile situations and therefore keeping a calm, composed temperament is essential on the job.

Problem-solving skills – The ability to identify and analyze issues quickly so you can offer the appropriate action required to diffuse the problem.

Physical Stamina – As a security guard, it is always recommended to be physically FIT because some situations MAY BE more challenging than others. For example, you MAY have to lift someone injured or run after someone committing a criminal offense.


Security Guard Continuing Education (CE) Requirements

Once you have obtained your Security Guard license, you WILL have to complete your STATE continuing education (CE) requirements for it to remain ACTIVE. However, each STATE does have it’s own continuing education policies and procedures when it comes to renewing your license.

With that said, we have listed the standard continuing education (CE) policy requirements which are common amongst majority STATE boards as per below:

1) You MUST complete a total of eight (8) to sixteen (16) hours of continuing education (CE) training from an approved program before you can RENEW your license.

The validity of your license RENEWAL is determined by your STATE, which is typically 1-2 years

2) Some STATE’s MAY require NOT only in-class training (AS PER POINT #1), but will also require on the job training hours to constitute as part of your continuing education requirements.

PLEASE NOTE:  There MAY BE other additional requirements which may vary amongst different STATE boards. Please visit your STATE’s Security Guard Board for more information.





Renewing Your Security Guard License

As just mentioned above, continuing education (CE) units are required for your certification to remain active and imperative for you to be able to RENEW your Security Guard license in your STATE.

Please read section – Security Guard Continuing Education (CE) Requirements


How to Transfer Your Security Guard License to Another State

If you plan to move to another STATE, be mindful that you CANNOT transfer your existing license in another STATE. Hence this means, you potentially MAY have to re-train in line with the NEW STATE’s requirements. However, fear NOT because your existing experience MAY be an asset and help accelerate the completion of the new training program


Security Guard Boards By State

Alaska | Alabama | Arizona | Arkansas | California | Colorado | Connecticut | District of Columbia | Delaware | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Iowa | Idaho | Illinois | Indiana | Kansas | Kentucky | Louisiana |
Maine | Maryland | Massachusetts | Michigan | Minnesota | Mississippi | Missouri | Montana | Nebraska | Nevada | New Hampshire | New Jersey | New Mexico | New York | North Carolina | North Dakota | Ohio | Oklahoma | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Rhode Island | South Carolina | South Dakota | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Vermont | Virginia | Washington | West Virginia | Wisconsin | Wyoming |


Licensed Security Guard Career Paths

As a licensed security guard, you will have several transitioning opportunities available to you. The main question you need to ask yourself is – Are you planning on remaining in the security niche throughout your life, and is it your passion?  If the answer is “YES,” then you can always choose to upgrade your education and certifications to open more opportunities further down the line. For example, you can always transition from a BASIC security guard license into a Private Investigator, Personal Body Guards, Firefighters, the Police Force, Correctional Officers, and Bailiffs. With that said,

Let’s explore some of the CAREER PATHS in more detail –

Private Investigator: As a private investigator, you will be working behind the scenes, gathering information for court cases, private clients, or even large firms. The skills and training you obtain as a security guard will help you lay down the foundation if you wish to transition into becoming a private investigator later in your career. However, the skills, education, and experience will depend on the type of job and/or company you are hired by. Some MAY require ADVANCE certifications such as firearm, batons, stun guns, etc before you can apply. With that said, if you choose to transition from a licensed security guard to a private investigator, you CAN expect a higher salary with benefits. For example, the current salary ranges from $37,000 to $40,000 (depending on STATE and EXPERIENCE).

Police Force: Working as a police officer can be a very gratifying career providing GREAT pay with benefits. As a matter of fact, many individuals will become security guards to gain experience to transition into the police force afterward. The knowledge and skills you GAIN as a security guard WILL be an asset if you decide to pursue a career as a police officer in the future. For example, being physically FIT, taking down reports, and conducting surveillance are skills required in police officers which will be an asset when you apply to become a police officer. The current salary for a police officer in the United States is approx. $54,506.

Personal Body Guards: After working for several different companies and clients, you WILL have gained enough experience to transition into becoming a Personal Body Guard. As a Personal Body Guard, you will be responsible for protecting individuals with HIGH statuses, such as wealthy executives, entertainers, celebrities, etc. Life as a Personal Body Guard is usually enriching with higher than average pay, travel opportunities, and more. However, you NEED to gain the essential skills before you can transition and explore further opportunities. With that said, becoming a security guard is a GREAT first step, as you CAN have the opportunity to make some valuable contacts while working at different locations throughout your career.





Licensed Security Guard Salary

The average annual salary for a Licensed Security Guard is $30,444, with the average Security Guard hourly pay being $13.15.

Figures are reflective as of September 2020 (Indeed.com)


Licensed Security Guard Industry Statistics

 

Figures are reflective as of May 2019 (bls.gov)

Figures are reflective as of May 2019 (bls.gov)


Licensed Security Guard Industry Earning Potential by State

 

Figures are reflective as of May 2019 (bls.gov)


Licensed Security Guard Highest Paying US Cities

 

Figures are reflective as of May 2019 (bls.gov)


Choosing The BEST Licensed Security Guard Program For You

When you have decided to become a security guard, it is recommended that you attend a reputable training program to build your initial foundation. However, you have several choices available to you, and choosing the right one can be very advantageous. For example, the right training program can help you land a job much more quickly and easily. Not only that, but it can also open up opportunities to work with the MOST reputable companies. With that said,

We have provided some common questions you should consider asking yourself before narrowing down your choice of a training program.

1) How long is the security guard training program? Full-time vs. part-time?

It is IMPORTANT to consider your flexibility and time before choosing a training program. You MAY want to accelerate the learning/training process so you can enter the workforce more quickly. However, keep in mind that with an accelerated program, the learning pace MAY be too demanding and a lot to take on in a short period of time. With that said,

We recommend only proceeding with choosing a training program once you have determined your availability. So, consider your working schedule and other priorities before opting for either a full-time or part-time training program.

2) Will the security guard training program offer opportunities to transition into other progressive roles through further education? How about work opportunities?

We recommend choosing a program that WILL allow you to further your career goals by upgrading your education or certifications later on. For example, becoming a security guard is usually a stepping stone to progress into other areas such as private security, personal body guard, or even the police force. Hence, opt for those training programs that will help you bridge into these areas in the near future should you choose to. The good news is that many schools do facilitate this transition by offering other additional certification training programs.

3) Are there any applicable reviews/ratings about the security guard training program Being Offered?

Choose a program that has an evident reputation for success by reading over the rating/reviews online. A quick search online will provide ample information from other graduates of the security guard training program, so be sure to skim through them. If possible, visit the training program facility to speak to individuals who are currently enrolled in the course to GET firsthand feedback. With that said, another good option is to speak to the program directors to get more information on the curriculum.

4) Does the security guard training program offer any job placement opportunities?

Naturally, it would be best if you opted for those programs that will help you find work after completion of the course. From our experience, many of the training programs are well connected with companies making it easier for you to find placement opportunities immediately. So, before you finalize your choice and enroll in a training program, we recommend checking if they have affiliations with such companies.


Search Security Guard Jobs In Your Area



Additional Resources

Security Guard Training Manual: The American Security Guard
Security Guard Boards By State
Unarmed Security Guard Examination Prep Guide

 



Author: careercrawlers

careercrawlers

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