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Career profile Security Guard

Also known as Campus Security Officer, Custom Protection Officer, Customer Service Security Officer, Hotel Security Officer, Loss Prevention Officer, Safety and Security Officer, Security Agent, Security Guard, Security Officer

Security Guard

Also known as Campus Security Officer, Custom Protection Officer, Customer Service Security Officer

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Conventional
  • Enterprising
Pay Range
$21,930 - $51,600 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Active Listening
  • Speaking
  • Monitoring
Knowledge Areas
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Psychology
Core tasks
  • Lock doors and gates of entrances and exits to secure buildings.
  • Answer alarms and investigate disturbances.
  • Write reports of daily activities and irregularities, such as equipment or property damage, theft, presence of unauthorized persons, or unusual occurrences.
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What does a Security Guard do?

Security Guards guard, patrol, or monitor premises to prevent theft, violence, or infractions of rules.

In addition, Security Guards may operate x-ray and metal detector equipment.

What kind of tasks does a Security Guard perform regularly?

Security Guards are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Lock doors and gates of entrances and exits to secure buildings.
  • Answer alarms and investigate disturbances.
  • Write reports of daily activities and irregularities, such as equipment or property damage, theft, presence of unauthorized persons, or unusual occurrences.
  • Monitor and authorize entrance and departure of employees, visitors, and other persons to guard against theft and maintain security of premises.
  • Patrol industrial or commercial premises to prevent and detect signs of intrusion and ensure security of doors, windows, and gates.
  • Call police or fire departments in cases of emergency, such as fire or presence of unauthorized persons.
  • Circulate among visitors, patrons, or employees to preserve order and protect property.
  • Respond to medical emergencies by administering basic first aid or by obtaining assistance from paramedics.
  • Warn persons of rule infractions or violations, and apprehend or evict violators from premises, using force when necessary.
  • Answer telephone calls to take messages, answer questions, and provide information during non-business hours or when switchboard is closed.

The above responsibilities are specific to Security Guards. More generally, Security Guards are involved in several broader types of activities:

Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Documenting/Recording Information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings
Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

What is a Security Guard salary?

The median salary for a Security Guard is $31,050, and the average salary is $34,360. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Security Guard salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Security Guards earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Security Guards earn less than $21,930 per year, 25% earn less than $26,200, 75% earn less than $39,220, and 90% earn less than $51,600.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Security Guards is expected to change by 14.6%, and there should be roughly 163,600 open positions for Security Guards every year.

Median annual salary
$31,050
Typical salary range
$21,930 - $51,600
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
14.6%

What personality traits are common among Security Guards?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Security Guard are usually higher in their Realistic, Conventional, and Enterprising interests.

Security Guards typically have very strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Also, Security Guards typically have strong Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Lastly, Security Guards typically have moderate Enterprising interests. Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Security Guard tend to value Support, Relationships, and Independence.

Most importantly, Security Guards strongly value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Second, Security Guards strongly value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Lastly, Security Guards moderately value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Security Guards must consistently demonstrate qualities such as integrity, dependability, and self-control.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Security Guards, ranked by importance:

Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Self-Control
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.

What education and training do Security Guards need?

Working as a Security Guard usually requires a high school diploma.

Security Guards need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Security Guards

  • 5.9% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 35.4% completed high school or secondary school
  • 30.4% completed some college coursework
  • 10.9% earned a Associate's degree
  • 13.9% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 3.1% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.5% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Security Guards

Security Guards may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as public safety and security, customer and personal service, or psychology knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Security Guards might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Public Safety and Security
Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Psychology
Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
Education and Training
Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Telecommunications
Knowledge of transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.

Important Abilities needed by Security Guards

Security Guards must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Security Guards need abilities such as problem sensitivity, far vision, and oral comprehension in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Security Guards, ranked by their relative importance.

Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Far Vision
The ability to see details at a distance.
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Selective Attention
The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.

Critical Skills needed by Security Guards

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Security Guards frequently use skills like active listening, speaking, and monitoring to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Security Guards, ranked by their relative importance.

Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Monitoring
Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.