Security Guard Career Options

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Airport Security & Denver Intl Airport

The TSA has made several enhancements to their security procedures, making the education and skill of security personnel of higher priority.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for security guards is favorable although there is some competition for positions with higher compensation. For entry-level security guard jobs, there is generally no formal educational requirements. However, most states require security guards to become licensed after they have completed basic classroom training. To be eligible for licensing, candidates usually should be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or their GED. In order to be a more competitive candidate, a criminal justice degree, security management degree, or a law enforcement degree can be helpful. If you plan to use your experience as a security guard as a spring-board to a senior level or law enforcement position, a degree in criminal justice, security management or law enforcement is a worthwhile endeavor.

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Security guards provide peace of mind to citizens in terms of safety for themselves and their property. As follows are the various security guard careers you may pursue.

Airport Security Guard

airport security guards check baggage for explosives

Airport Security generally falls under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA), although some non-federal airports may organize security through a private company. To be eligible for a TSA position, a common qualification, in addition to a high school diploma or GED equivalent, is one year of security experience. Transportation security officers screen passengers and their baggage, use security equipment including X-ray machines and observe the flow of passengers to look for suspicious behavior. After working at an entry-level airport security position, there is the potential to rise to roles such as Supervisory or Expert Transportation Security Officer.

Casino Security

Casino Security Control Center

Security guards that work in a casino are also referred to as gaming surveillance officers. Their role is to protect casino customers and staff and to look for suspicious behavior, such as cheating, theft and potential violence. Casino security guards monitor the facilities from a video surveillance room and by walking the casino floor. Although the major requirement for working as a surveillance officer is a high school diploma or GED, some casinos ask for previous related experience and completion of a security services certificate program.

Bank Security

Bank Customer gets cash from safe deposit box

Working as a security guard at a bank is generally a mid to advanced-level position. Those employed to provide safety, act as a visual deterrent to potential robbers, deal with unruly customers and call the authorities if an emergency occurs, are usually candidates with previous security experience. Depending on the state, bank security guards may carry arms. In such cases, security guards must complete specific training under the jurisdiction of that state. Armored guards also work in affiliation with banks. These armed security guards are charged with delivering and collecting currency between ATM machines and financial institutions.

Retail Security

retail theft mirror

Retail guards are either hired to provide security in individual shops and stores or as part of a shopping mall’s security team. Their job is to protect customers and employees from potential dangers, to patrol the retail space on foot or via surveillance equipment, to act as a visual deterrent or to look out for potential thefts. They often work in concert with undercover shopping detectives.


Personal Security – Bodyguards

Bodyguards scanning crowd

Personal security guards (or bodyguards) are hired to provide individual service to a person and/or their family/close relations. In addition to protecting their clients they must also anticipate and prevent any kind of threat. This involves cognitive and investigative skills including learning about a client’s lifestyle, contacts and routines. Sometimes retired military or law enforcement personnel become personal security guards. Those without this extensive background benefit from taking specialized training to learn relevant skills such as defensive tactics, use of audio-visual security equipment, defensive driving, proper use of firearms and first aid.

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Event Security

Event Security Guards watch crowd activity

Security at large-scale events, such as concerts and fairs, is crucial. Security guards are either tasked to work the entrance way, which may involve searching patrons’ bags or administering a metal detector, or to patrol the site. In either case, they work as a visual deterrent to prevent dangerous or illegal activities. They also need to be highly observant in order to anticipate dangerous events that are exponentially more hazardous in crowded situations.

Security Management

Numerous educational institutions offer degrees in security management. With such a degree and some basic security experience, you can pursue numerous roles such as a security trainer, a security consultant, an immigration customs officer or even open up your own private security company. With a Masters degree in security management plus experience you can work your way up to prestigious fields, such as Emergency and Disaster Recovery or Intelligence and Counterterrorism.

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