Career Development

What Does a Security Officer Do?

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

Security officers are on the front lines of public safety. They monitor and patrol their assigned areas, looking for signs of criminal activity or any other situation that may threaten the safety of people in the area. Their job is to observe and report suspicious behavior while actively intervening when necessary to prevent crimes from occurring or escalating.

Security Officer Job Duties

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

  • Observing security cameras to monitor activity in public areas of the facility or campus, reporting any suspicious activity to security staff
  • Responding to emergencies such as fires, natural disasters, chemical spills, bomb threats, and other situations that threaten people’s safety
  • Conducting pat downs, bag checks, and metal detector scans at security checkpoints
  • Reporting accidents and other incidents to supervisors, including details about any injuries or property damage
  • Monitoring security systems such as surveillance cameras, alarm systems, and access control devices to ensure they are working properly
  • Checking identification cards to verify that individuals have proper access to facilities or other locations where they have been granted permission to be present
  • Performing patrols of assigned areas, such as parking lots or lobbies of office buildings, to deter crime or respond to any incidents that occur
  • Performing security checks on doors, windows, cabinets, storage rooms, and other areas to ensure that they are secure
  • Responding to medical emergencies such as heart attacks, gunshot wounds, and allergic reactions by administering first aid or calling for medical assistance

Security Officer Salary & Outlook

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

  • Median Annual Salary: $38,000 ($18.27/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $47,000 ($22.6/hour)

The employment of security officers is expected to grow slower than average over the next decade.

Demand for security services depends largely on the overall state of the economy. As the economy grows, demand for security services typically increases because businesses want to protect their property and products from theft or damage. However, during economic downturns, demand for security services often decreases as companies try to reduce costs by reducing the number of employees or closing facilities.

Related: In-Depth Security Officer Salary Guide

Security Officer Job Requirements

Security officers typically need to have the following qualifications:

Education: Security officers are typically required to have at least a high school diploma or GED. Some employers may prefer candidates who have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, security management or another closely related field.

Training & Experience: Security officers receive on-the-job training to learn the specific procedures and practices of their employer. This training may include how to use the security system, how to patrol the facility and how to interact with customers or clients. Security officers who work in law enforcement or the military may have previous training that they can apply to their new role.

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

Security Officer Skills

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

Communication skills: Security officers use their communication skills to interact with clients, supervisors, other security staff and other employees. They use their communication skills to relay information, answer questions and solve problems. Security officers also use their communication skills to write reports, fill out paperwork and communicate with law enforcement.

Attention to detail: Security officers need to be able to notice small changes in their surroundings. This can include noticing if a door is slightly ajar or if a window is broken. Attention to detail can also mean noticing if someone is behaving suspiciously or if someone is trying to enter a restricted area.

Physical fitness: Security officers need to be physically fit to perform their duties. Physical fitness can include stamina, agility, strength and speed. Security officers need to be able to stand for long periods of time, walk long distances, climb stairs, chase suspects and restrain suspects.

Problem-solving skills: Security officers use problem-solving skills to identify potential risks, develop solutions and implement security protocols. They use these skills to ensure the safety of their company’s assets and employees. Security officers also use problem-solving skills to resolve security breaches, accidents and other issues.

Ability to work independently: Security officers often work alone, so it’s important for them to be able to work independently. This means that they can handle tasks like patrolling a building or a campus, monitoring security cameras and responding to emergencies without the help of another person.

Security Officer Work Environment

Security officers work in a variety of settings, including office buildings, factories, airports, and other public and private facilities. They may be assigned to fixed posts or patrol areas on foot or in vehicles. Some security officers work in plainclothes, while others wear uniforms. Many security officers work shifts that include evenings, weekends, and holidays. Some officers work part time, and some work more than 40 hours per week. The work can be stressful, and officers may be exposed to dangerous situations.

Security Officer Trends

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

The Need for Better Cybersecurity Education

As the world becomes more connected, businesses are becoming increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks. This is leading to a greater need for better cybersecurity education among employees, including security officers.

By educating your team on the latest threats and how to protect against them, you can help ensure that your company is prepared for any potential attacks. In addition, you can also work with your team to develop best practices for protecting sensitive data and systems.

The Growth of Remote Security Jobs

The growth of remote security jobs is a trend that is quickly gaining popularity among employers. This is due to the fact that it allows companies to save money on office space and other overhead costs, while still maintaining the same level of security.

As more and more businesses adopt this model, security professionals will need to learn how to work remotely. This includes developing skills in areas such as communication, collaboration, and problem-solving.

More Focus on Physical Security

As physical security becomes more important, businesses are beginning to focus on hiring professionals who specialize in this area. This is because physical security can play an important role in preventing theft, vandalism, and other types of property damage.

Security officers who are able to understand the importance of physical security and how to implement it effectively can be extremely valuable to businesses. They can help to keep assets safe and prevent costly damages from occurring.

How to Become a Security Officer

A security officer career can be a great way to start your law enforcement career. As a security officer, you’ll gain valuable experience working in a law enforcement environment and learning about the criminal justice system. You’ll also develop skills related to customer service, problem solving, and teamwork.

As you progress in your security officer career, you may want to consider becoming a police officer or detective. Many police departments offer lateral entry programs that allow qualified security officers to become police officers without having to go back to school for additional training.

Related: How to Write a Security Officer Resume

Advancement Prospects

There are many opportunities for advancement for security officers. Many officers start out working in entry-level positions, such as security guards, and then move up to positions with more responsibility, such as loss prevention officers or security supervisors. Some officers may eventually become security directors or chief security officers.

Officers who have law enforcement or military experience may have an advantage when applying for jobs with more responsibility. Many agencies require officers to have a certain amount of experience before being promoted to supervisor or other management positions. Some agencies also offer training programs to help officers prepare for advancement.

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