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Become a Security Manager: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Learn how to become a security manager. Research the education and career requirements, licensure and experience required for starting a career as a security manager.

Should I Become a Security Manager?

Security managers help protect against criminal activity. While security personnel may patrol an area or monitor activity over a closed-circuit television, security managers may determine security strategies, logistics and schedules. Security managers may also investigate breaches in security and work with local law enforcement to apprehend the suspected parties.

Whereas security personnel might spend most of their working day on their feet or watching a security monitor, security managers are more likely to work in a comfortable office environment. However, performing their own investigations or working with local law authorities might require a more active role and a higher potential for injury. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for many types of security personnel is on par with the average for all other occupations.

Career Requirements

Degree Level A degree may be beneficial, though not necessarily required
Training On-the-job training programs are usually required
Licensing State licensing may be required
Experience Previous experience working in security is required
Key Skills Security managers must be perceptive, communicate well with others and have the ability to lead and manage workers
Salary $60,524 per year (Median salary as of 2015 for security managers)

Source: Payscale.com

Step 1: Complete a Security Training Program

Individuals can begin working in security after earning a high school diploma; however, most states require that security personnel complete a formal training program. These programs may last anywhere from 8-16 hours and prepare individuals for employment as security guards. Topics covered in these programs include security policies and procedures, emergency preparedness and self-defense. In addition to completing a training program, some states may require that security guards obtain licensure.

Step 2: Gain Experience

Security guards can work in all sorts of environments and settings. While some may focus on protecting individuals, others may work in public settings monitoring crowds and property. Specific duties vary depending on the job and location, but generally, security guards control the environment in a location and work to prevent criminal activity.

Success Tip:

  • Earn a degree. Those who want to pursue security management can gain the necessary skills by earning a degree in security management. Having a degree can improve an individual's chances of becoming a security manager. Course studies may include the fundamentals of security, studying security systems and the ethics involved in security.

Step 3: Explore Managerial Career Paths

Security managers can operate in corporate security or within government agencies. They can find employment opportunities with major corporations and private military companies or with any companies that employ private security contractors. Duties may range from planning security programs to designing specialized training for security officers.

Step 4: Become Certified

In order to improve their employment opportunities or advance in the workforce, prospective security managers may consider earning voluntary certifications. The American Society for Industrial Security International offers the Certified Protection Professional credential, which requires either nine years of experience in security with three of those years in a supervisory position or a bachelor's degree and seven years of experience with three of those years in a supervisory position.

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