Career Development

What Does a Security Guard Do?

Find out what a security guard does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a security guard.

Security guards are on the front lines of public safety. They monitor and patrol their assigned areas looking for signs of suspicious activity, while also providing a visible presence to deter criminal behavior. Their duties may include checking doors and windows to ensure they’re locked, watching for theft or vandalism, responding to emergency calls, etc.

Security Guard Job Duties

Security guards have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Providing security for individuals and businesses by monitoring alarms and security systems, scanning for hazards, checking for fire hazards, and responding to emergencies
  • Maintaining order on the premises by enforcing rules, regulations, and laws, including writing reports and documenting infractions
  • Providing security audits of buildings to ensure that they are secure, including performing checks of locks, windows, doors, fences, and other components of physical security
  • Working with local law enforcement agencies to respond to emergencies such as natural disasters or criminal activities
  • Conducting security checks at facilities to ensure that all doors and windows are locked
  • Patrolling assigned areas to observe for potential security breaches or other problems
  • Providing security for public events such as concerts or sporting events by enforcing rules, screening attendees for weapons, and monitoring security equipment such as cameras and alarms
  • Responding to security threats and emergencies such as fires, crime scenes, hostage situations, or bomb threats
  • Providing security for industrial sites by patrolling premises to prevent theft or damage to equipment

Security Guard Salary & Outlook

Security guards’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the type of company they work for.

  • Median Annual Salary: $31,500 ($15.14/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $53,500 ($25.72/hour)

The employment of security guards is expected to grow faster than average over the next decade.

Demand for security services will continue to increase as more businesses and institutions invest in security equipment and systems to prevent theft, vandalism, and cyberattacks. In addition, demand for security guards will continue to grow as more establishments hire them to provide a high level of customer service.

Related: In-Depth Security Guard Salary Guide

Security Guard Job Requirements

Security guard applicants may be required to meet certain qualifications, which may include:

Education: A high school diploma is often a minimum requirement for security guards. However, some employers may prefer a minimum of an associate’s degree in security or criminal justice.

Training & Experience: Security guards typically receive on-the-job training from their employer. This training may include instruction on the company’s policies and procedures, how to use the security equipment and how to respond to emergencies. The length of this training depends on the employer, but it is often brief and lasts only a few days.

Certifications & Licenses: Some employers may require security guards to pass an industry-specific certification to show their general understanding of the field.

Security Guard Skills

Security guards need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication skills: Communication skills are the ability to convey information to others. This can include speaking with customers, coworkers and managers. It can also include the ability to read and interpret documents. Security guards often have to read and interpret security procedures, so strong communication skills are important.

Attention to detail: Attention to detail is the ability to notice small changes in your surroundings. Security guards need to be able to notice if someone has entered a restricted area, if someone is acting suspiciously or if someone has left something behind. Attention to detail can help you notice if a situation is dangerous and help you prevent crime.

Physical fitness: Security guards need to be physically fit to perform their duties. They need to be able to stand for long periods of time, walk long distances and be able to restrain individuals if necessary. Being physically fit can help a security guard perform their job well.

Problem-solving skills: Problem-solving skills are essential for security guards. They use these skills to identify potential risks, find solutions to security breaches and resolve conflicts between employees and visitors. Security guards use problem-solving skills to develop security protocols and procedures.

Conflict resolution: Conflict resolution is the ability to defuse a situation and help people come to an agreement. Security guards need to be able to resolve conflicts between customers, employees and other security guards. They also need to be able to resolve conflicts between customers and employees.

Security Guard Work Environment

Security guards work in a variety of settings, including office buildings, factories, retail stores, hospitals, and other businesses. They may work indoors or outdoors, in all weather conditions. They typically work in shifts, which may include evenings, weekends, and holidays. Some security guards work part time, while others work full time. The work can be physically demanding, and security guards may be required to stand or walk for long periods of time. They may also be required to lift and carry heavy objects, such as boxes of files or bags of trash. In some cases, they may be required to use force to apprehend or subdue criminals.

Security Guard Trends

Here are three trends influencing how security guards work. Security guards will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Rise of the Digital Economy

The rise of the digital economy has led to an increase in online transactions, which in turn has led to a need for more security guards. As businesses move towards a more digital model, they will need to ensure that their data is protected and that their employees are safe from cyberattacks.

This trend means that security guards will need to be well-versed in cybersecurity and able to protect against both physical and digital threats. They will also need to be able to identify potential vulnerabilities and help businesses mitigate them.

More Focus on Cybersecurity

As businesses become more reliant on technology, the need for cybersecurity professionals will continue to grow. This is because as more and more data is stored online, it becomes a target for hackers who want to steal information or disrupt operations.

Security guards can capitalize on this trend by becoming experts in cybersecurity. They can then use their knowledge to help businesses protect themselves from attacks and keep data safe. In addition, security guards can also focus on other areas such as physical security and emergency preparedness.

Greater Use of Technology

As technology continues to evolve, businesses are increasingly using it to improve efficiency and productivity. This is leading to a greater use of technology in the workplace, including in the area of security.

As security guards are responsible for protecting businesses and their assets, they need to be familiar with the latest technologies that can help them do their jobs more effectively. This includes understanding how to use surveillance systems, access control systems, and other tools that can help keep people and property safe.

How to Become a Security Guard

There are many different paths you can take when planning your security guard career. You could specialize in a particular area, such as corporate security or loss prevention. You could also choose to work in a specific setting, such as a retail store or a bank.

No matter which path you choose, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and developments in the security industry. Read industry publications and attend conferences and training sessions. Network with other professionals in the field, and keep track of new technologies that could impact how you do your job.

Related: How to Write a Security Guard Resume

Advancement Prospects

Many security guards start their careers working for security agencies. Some eventually move into management positions within these agencies. Others become self-employed and open their own security businesses. Some advance to become loss prevention managers, responsible for developing and implementing security policies to protect against theft in stores or other businesses.

Security guards who work in large organizations may have opportunities to advance to other positions within the organization, such as loss prevention specialist, safety manager, or security director. Some security guards receive on-the-job training to become armed security guards.

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