A security guard keeps watch over a product, a building or any property. Although no formal education is required for a job in security, a 2-year degree or certificate in a criminal justice program is helpful in job placement. For a Security Job Registration card provided by the Department of State, completion of an 8 hour pre-assignment course is required. 90 days after becoming employed as a security guard, a 16 hour on-the-job training course is required with a yearly 8 hour annual in-service training course thereafter. To be an armed guard, a pistol permit is necessary with completion of a specific firearms training course.
Job opportunities are ample across the country with salies ranging from $ 20k to $ 100k yearly. The security guard employment outlook is favorable as the need for guards is expected to grow by 17% between 2006 and 2016. This is due to the increased need for security and the high percentage of retirement in this large occupation. Gaming and casino security is expected to grow by 34% thanks to more states legalizing gambling. More technical personnel will be needed in security as theft and cheating are growing more prevalent in casinos. Another reason for the spike in need for security guards is fear of terrorism. The 9/11 attacks grew the security industry significantly.
A security guard job is often high paced and involves many different responsibilities. For example, a job guarding an armored vehicle transporting money and valuables would require high attention to detail and a strict adherence to procedures. Drug testing and a complete background check would be required for such a high detail job. A security guard would have been expected to provide an atmosphere of security at the job location through patrolling, maintaining logs and records as well as reporting any violations. Each employer would have different standards for the guards but all expect the job to be done efficiently, accurately and in a timely manner. The ability to respond to crisis is a much needed requirement in this job field and the capacity to remain calm in high stress situations is necessary. An employer would rely on the security guard to analyze situations quickly and act in a professional manner as circumstances arise.
The ability to act within a team is a necessary quality to possess as a security guard. Oftentimes communication and action are required within groups of security personnel and when one can operate as part of a team, the job has more potential for success. A security guard may also work with a trained canine unit for assistance with intruders. The guard is expected to remain on his / her feet for hours at a time and to utilize strong motor skills even when the work is monotonous such as watching a surveillance video.
Compensation within the security field is commensurate with experience. Entry level jobs pay around $ 27,000 a year but reach $ 32,000 a year when you have worked 20 years in the field. Pay is also determined by the location of which the job is worked. If a guard works at a medical facility or hospital, the pay is much higher than one who works at a school or with an armored car company. Company size also plays a factor in pay scale. If a guard is employed with a security company that has several guards, the pay would be more because the job is more competitive within.
The turnover rate in the security guard industry is extremely high due to employees finding a higher rate of pay with another company and moving around. Many people find jobs as security guards as a stepping stone to becoming a police officer. The training provided for the security jobs prepares them for a job in the police force and income to obtain the necessary schooling. But the security guard job might be more needed in the end. A company could hire a police officer to stand outside their door at $ 70 an hour to guard the entrance but could get a security guard for $ 12 an hour. Both officers have the power to arrest but one costs so much more. The company will go with the cheaper security guard to protect their store and have less payout for the benefit.