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Bouncer vs. Security Guard: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

Bouncers and security guards are both responsible for maintaining safety and order in public spaces. However, there are several key differences between the two roles. Bouncers are often employed by nightclubs and bars, while security guards are found in a variety of settings, including office buildings, schools and retail stores. In this article, we discuss the duties, responsibilities and qualifications of bouncers and security guards, and we provide information on how to pursue a career in each field.

What is a Bouncer?

Bouncers are security professionals who are responsible for maintaining safety and order at events and venues. They typically work at nightclubs, bars, concert halls or other entertainment venues. Bouncers check ID at the door to ensure that only guests of legal drinking age are allowed inside. They also search guests for weapons or contraband. Bouncers diffuse tense situations and handle disruptive guests by escorting them out of the venue. In some cases, bouncers may be responsible for handling crowd control or providing security for VIP guests.

What is a Security Guard?

Security Guards are responsible for protecting people and property from theft, vandalism, illegal activity and other security risks. They may work in a variety of settings, such as office buildings, schools, hospitals, stores or factories. Security Guards typically patrol their assigned area to look for signs of crime or safety hazards. They may also monitor security cameras and alarm systems. When they encounter a potential security risk, they take appropriate action to mitigate the threat. This may involve calling for backup, detaining a suspect or providing first aid.

Bouncer vs. Security Guard

Here are the main differences between a bouncer and a security guard.

Job Duties

Bouncers and security guards share some job duties, like checking identification, searching people entering an establishment and monitoring activity in a particular area. However, their other job duties can differ because of the environments in which they work. For example, a nightclub or bar may require a bouncer to monitor the dance floor as well as the entrance. They may also oversee crowd control measures, such as prohibiting overly intoxicated patrons from entering the venue.

In contrast, a security guard often has more job-specific duties related to the type of establishment they protect. For example, a security guard at a bank may monitor surveillance footage, while a security guard at an outdoor concert may help with crowd control and general safety.

Job Requirements

Most bouncers and security guards need at least a high school diploma, although some jobs may require postsecondary education or specialized training. Some states also have specific requirements for security guards, such as completing a certain number of hours of on-the-job training or passing a background check. Some employers may provide the necessary training for their employees, while others may require guards to complete training before starting work.

Work Environment

Security guards typically work in indoor environments, such as retail stores and office buildings. They may also work outdoors at construction sites or other locations where there’s a need for security. Bouncers usually work in nightclubs, bars and restaurants. Some bouncers work in concert venues to ensure the safety of performers and audience members.

Security guards often work long hours, especially those who work in 24-hour facilities like hospitals and prisons. Bouncers can work late nights and weekends when their establishments are busiest.


Both bouncers and security guards need to have excellent observational skills to be successful in their jobs. They need to be able to quickly assess a situation and identify potential threats. Bouncers also need to have good physical strength and stamina as they may need to physically remove people from premises or break up fights.

Security guards, on the other hand, need to have good communication skills as they may need to diffuse tense situations without resorting to violence. They also need to be familiar with security equipment, such as cameras and alarm systems, and know how to use them properly.


The average salary for a bouncer is $30,760 per year, while the average salary for a security guard is $36,440 per year. Both of these salaries can vary depending on the location of the job, the type of work you’re doing and your level of experience.


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