Security Guard Job Description
Security guards monitor, patrol, and guard a building or area to prevent vandalism, theft, and violence. Common responsibilities for security guard jobs include answering alarms, investigating disturbances, patrolling industrial or commercial premises, monitoring and authorizing entrance and departure of visitors, employees, and others, and inspecting and adjusting security systems.
The exact responsibilities for security guards depend on where they work. For example, at a retail store, security guards are responsible for protecting the customers, employees, and merchandise. In a museum, they are responsible for protecting works of art as well as the patrons.
In office buildings, security guards may be employed to check the identification of people entering the building. Many security guards spend their entire shifts working on their feet. Sometimes they are stationed in a small area, while at other times they are able to move freely within a building or other grounds.
Either way, the work can be physically exhausting. Most of the work that security guards do is very routine, and they can go through long periods of time where there isn’t much to do at all. However, there is always the risk that they might need to react to an emergency situation at any moment, so they have to remain alert. Security guards are at risk of being injured in the event of an emergency or a violent situation.
Remaining alert and following established procedures can help reduce the risk of injury to themselves and others, but these risks are impossible to eliminate completely.
Most security guards work full time, but there are many opportunities for part time employment as well. Working nights and weekends is often required, and this can be a great occupation for those who need to work an irregular schedule.
How to Become a Security Guard
Most security guards have a high school diploma, but not all jobs have educational requirements. Armed guard positions are much more likely to require a high school diploma than positions for unarmed guards. If you want to work as an armed guard, taking courses in criminal justice can help improve your employment opportunities.
Most community colleges offer courses on the subject, and taking a course or two can be very beneficial. Some schools even offer entire programs that are designed to prepare students for a career as a security guard. Once hired, security guards receive classroom instruction before they receive on the job training.
Training covers many different topics, including how to detain criminals, how to treat customers, how to administer first aid, and what to do in the case of emergency. The training for armed guards can be very rigorous, and can last for extended periods of time. In most states, security guards need to be licensed.
The requirements vary from state to state, but most require that security guards are at least 18 years old, pass a background check, and complete training in a classroom setting. In some states, continued training is required to keep the license. The background checks for armed guards are much more in depth than those for unarmed guards.
Most armed guards are subjected to criminal, background, and fingerprint checks before they are hired. They also have to go through firearms training and have a license to carry a weapon before being allowed to carry a firearm on the job.
Since security guards have to think clearly and quickly while on the job, most employers screen security guards for drug use before employment and at random intervals throughout their employment. Failing a drug test can result in the loss of employment.
There are currently 1,035,700 security guards in the United States, with 35,950 new security guard job openings created each year.
Security Guard jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.
Security Guard Salaries
Security Guard salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most security guards make between $19,600 – $31,200 per year, or $9.42 – $14.97 per hour.