How To Become A Security Guard

A security guard works in retail stores, banks, hotels, hospitals, museums, parking areas and other places. Your main task is to ensure that the property and its contents you are guarding is protected from vandalism, theft and other forms of criminal activity.

Your specific tasks will depend on the kind of establishment you are protecting. For example, if you are guarding an armored car for a bank, for example, you will need to be very alert for possible attempts to hijack the bags of money that you are transporting. If you are guarding a museum, you will see to it that people are not carrying any dangerous objects in their bags that could potentially vandalize the paintings and other exhibits. If you are tasked with providing security for a retail establishment, your job will be to ensure that all the goods inside the store are protected and that shoplifters are caught.

No matter where they are working, security guards must stay alert and active at all times. They must be keen in sensing if something does not seem right. In the event of a crisis, they must contact law enforcement officers like the police for assistance. They must also call firefighters or paramedics for medical emergencies.

To succeed as a security guard, you will need to be very observant. The ability to spot subtle changes in the environment that could signal that something is not quite right is a very important trait that all security guards—and even other law enforcement personnel—possess. You should also have the physical strength to apprehend those you catch performing any criminal activity and assist patrons who may need your help. You should also be decisive and be able to act accordingly if there are precarious situations that require quick action and presence of mind.

Why Become A Security Guard

One reason to become a security guard is that it is a profession that does not really require a bachelor’s degree since a high school diploma is sufficient. There are even employers that don’t strictly require that their guards finish high school. While security guards don’t earn lucratively, it is still a job that pays a living wage. There are also positive job prospects for security guards in the coming years.

Security Guard Work Environment

Security guards are employed by companies in the investigation, guard and armored car services industry. Some also work in schools and universities, hospitals, government agencies, hotels, banks and restaurants, sports stadiums and other office buildings. Compared to the national average, security guards have a higher rate of illnesses and injuries than that of other occupations. Most of the injuries they experience occur at night because security guards do their work in shifts and observe rotating work schedules.

Security Guard Salary

The Occupational Employment and Wages report of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that the mean annual wage of security guards is $27,550. This is slightly lower than the $31,970 received by gaming surveillance officers and gaming investigators who are categorized in the same occupational category.

Average Security Guard Annual Salary


The average annual salary for security guards is $30,730 a year. Salaries start at $19,640 a year and go up to $48,370 a year.

Average Security Guard Hourly Wage


The average hourly wage for a security guard is $14.78. Hourly wages are between $9.44 and $23.26 an hour.

Stats were based out of 1,105,440 employed security guards in the United States.

Highest Paying States For Security Guards

Top Paying Cities For Security Guards

Data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Security Guard Career Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed a positive job outlook for security guards in the next few years. For the period covering 2012 to 2022, the employment rate of security guards is projected at 12 percent, a rate that is similar to the national average. The demand will come from the need for organizations to safeguard people and their properties from illegal activities, vandalism and other types of crimes. The demand is expected to be high in private companies as they rely more on security guards rather than the police to provide protection for their operations.

Security Guard Degree

Many employers require security guards to hold a high school diploma although there are employers that don’t even have this requirement. There are some employers, however, who want to hire security guards who have at least two years in college. A criminal justice degree is the typical educational background for those who would like to become security guards or hold other law enforcement positions.

In many states, security guards are required to get pre-assignment training which lasts for eight hours. They also need anywhere from 8 to 16 hours of on-the-job training as well as an eight-hour annual training. In these trainings, they are taught about public relations, protection, first aid and other types of lessons they need for their job. Security guards who need to use firearms undergo more thorough training.

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