Security guard job description, responsibilities, and salary

Last updated: June 16, 2024
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Jennifer Young
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Security guard job description, responsibilities, and salary
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Looking to dip your toes in a new career or field of work?

Working as a security guard can be a rewarding career for the right person. If the idea of having important responsibilities and keeping people safe appeals to you, this could be the job for you.

Let’s cover security job responsibilities, what skills and qualities you need to succeed in this field, what salary you can expect, and where to find security jobs hiring right now.

What is a security guard?

Security guards and security officers are blue-collar workers who patrol and monitor areas to ensure safety and prevent or stop incidents.

Several types of businesses will employ security guards or security agencies to patrol their property, such as malls, sports stadiums, hospitals, banks, museums, and more.

Often, security guards will be in charge of preventing losses and damages to company property. But in other cases, like hospitals and sports stadiums, they work to ensure the safety of the people inside.

What are the responsibilities of a security officer?

Security officers typically report to security managers or supervisors who are in charge of supervising and dispatching all officers at a given location.

Security job responsibilities include but aren’t limited to:

  • Patrolling the assigned perimeter

  • Perform surveillance via surveillance equipment and during patrols

  • Contacting the authorities or emergency services when necessary

  • Inspecting and maintaining security equipment and security systems

  • Supervising the entry of employees or visitors

  • Responding quickly to alarms or calls for assistance

  • Investigating suspicious activities or suspicious behaviors

  • Apprehending trespassers

  • Providing answers to inquiries and answering the phone at a security desk

  • Keeping daily logs of incidents and other events

Some security jobs will also involve driving and supervising armored vehicles for the transportation of valuable goods.

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Security officer skills and qualities

Working in security isn’t meant for everyone. People who become security guards need to have solid judgment and quick thinking.

You also need to be good at making decisions on the fly. You’ll be called to make decisions quickly when incidents occur, which is why these skills are important.

In addition to these skills, security guards need integrity and dependability. They need to be able to remain professional, even in times of crisis.

Because of this, security guards also need emotional control. People will look to a security guard to be the calm and composed person available during an incident.

So, if you tend to lose your cool easily or feel uncomfortable during a stressful situation, working in security probably isn’t for you.

Due to all these required skills and qualities, a career in security is a great choice for veterans or people who worked in law enforcement.

Other skills and qualities that are important to work in security may include:

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What education do you need to work in security?

Typically security jobs are entry-level. You’ll need a high school diploma or GED to be considered for most job opportunities in this field.

But you won’t require any additional education.

You’ll need training, but this training will happen on the job as soon as you get hired.

The length of the training varies depending on the specific position you get. For instance, you’ll have to take more expensive and longer training if you get a job as an armed security officer. You’ll also have to pass a firearms exam.

Depending on which state you’re in, you may need an additional license to carry firearms. However, even if you carry a firearm on the job, with some companies the firearm will remain the property of the employer.

The length of required training for a security job varies by state.

Due to the nature of this job, most employers will perform a background check on you before hiring you as a security guard. You need a clean criminal record to be able to work in this field.

Security job salaries and job outlook

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for security guards and gambling surveillance officers is $31,080 per year. This averages out to $14.94 per hour.

But for all occupations in security, the median salary is $41,950.

This includes:

  • Gambling surveillance officers and investigators

  • Security guards

  • Other protective service workers

The lowest 10% of security guards alone make under $21,930 per year, while the upper 10% make more than $51,600.

The great thing about working in security is that there will always be work available nationwide, since there will always be businesses and events that need security.

Between 2019 and 2029, the job outlook for security jobs is expected to grow by 33,300 jobs. That’s a growth of 3%, which is as fast as the national average.

So where do most security guards work?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 59% of security guards work for investigation, guard, and armored car services. This means that when you work as a security officer, you’ll likely work directly for security services that get contracted by other companies.

The rest work at:

  • Educational services; state, local, and private (6%)

  • Healthcare and social assistance (6%)

  • Accommodation and food services (5%)

  • Government (4%)

Security jobs hiring right now

Interested in taking up a career in security? Luckily, you can find job opportunities in the security industry on Jobcase.

You can check for security guard jobs, or you can instead filter for armed security opportunities. You also have the option to find jobs in private security.

Start your career as a security officer

If you’re dependable, can think on the fly, and have good judgment, a career in security jobs could be for you.

With your high school diploma or equivalent, you can apply for security jobs and receive on-the-job training when you get hired.

Start your job search and find your next security job opportunity by searching on Jobcase. And don’t forget to check out the Getting Hired Resource Center for resume and interview tips.

1 Comment


Steven Smith
Bullet point

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