Private security specialists are employed by businesses, which protect a business' assets by taking shoplifters and others into custody and by periodically inspecting rest rooms, dressing rooms and stock areas. There are also specialists who work for insurance companies, inspecting insurance applicants. They assess risks the insurance company may face, and recommend changes to lessen the likelihood of loss The most common degree is the 2-year degree, which focuses on security-related loss prevention. Bachelor's degree programs are found in insurance and risk management, offering courses in liability and property losses, tort laws, and insurance fraud. These studies are supported by internships where students apply what they learned in a professional insurance setting. Two primary certifications are available for the risk manager in insurance.
Schools offering associate's degree programs require only a high school diploma or a recognized equivalent. Some bachelor's programs are offered online and require an associate's degree in business administration, or two years of college credits. A college GPA of 2.25 or higher is also required. Some programs require applicants to have had coursework in information technology, macroeconomics, microeconomics, accounting principles, and business statistics.
Associate's Degree in Loss Prevention for Security
Associate's degrees in loss prevention are part of a criminal justice program. They are designed to prepare students to work in private security, or in protecting corporate, industrial or retail assets. Other job opportunities are found in law enforcement agencies or correctional facilities.
Associate's degrees require some core general education courses. Courses found in loss prevention degree programs address:
- Administrating asset protection and loss prevention operations
- Basics, history, and theory of criminal investigation
- Investigative methods in private security
- Laws for private security protection and role of law enforcement
- Orientation to criminal justice and law enforcement
- Property security, risk analysis and safety and promotion
Bachelor's Degree in Insurance and Risk Management
For people interested in working in loss prevention in insurance companies, bachelor's degrees in insurance and risk management are the most common option. These programs offer a foundation of business courses. An understanding of the global insurance industry is presented. Insights for using objectives of risk management to support the objectives of an organization are a focus.
Courses specific to insurance and risk management are required, in addition to general business courses. Risk management and insurance courses may include:
- Decision-making processes for insurers and consulting firms
- Examination of major causes of property and liability losses and finding risk treatments
- Government regulation and principles of insurance and risk control
- Integrating risk management processes with risk control and financing techniques
- Laws of torts, contracts, and agency
- Processes of risk management and financial planning options
The U.S. Department of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists those who work in private security under the heading of private detectives and investigators. Employment for these professionals is expected to see a 5% increase between 2014 and 2024. As of May 2015, the median annual salary for private detectives and investigators was $45,610 (www.bls.gov).
Loss control representatives in insurance companies are listed under the banner of management analysts by the BLS. Job opportunities for management analysts are expected to increase by 14% between 2014 and 2024 due to a high demand for those who can assist with controlling expenses and increasing efficiency within companies. The BLS notes that these analysts earn a median salary of $81,320 per year.
Most states require private investigators and detectives to be licensed. There is a wide gap between state requirements. Several certifications are available. The Loss Prevention Foundation offers the Loss Prevention Qualified (LPQ) certification for anyone interested in the field, and Loss Prevention Certified (LPC) designation for management and executives. Both may be gained by passing stringent exams; preparation courses are available. Some schools accept the LPQ for bachelor's program credit and the LPC for master's credit.
For those with a bachelor's degree, ASIS International offers the Certified Protection Professional (CPP). Recertification every three years requires four continuing professional education (CPE) units each year.
The most prominent certification in insurance risk management is the Professional Risk Manager (PRM) designation from PRMIA. Four exams must be passed to earn this designation. The exams may be taken singly over a period of two years if necessary. PRMIA offers online, in-house and classroom training programs, as well as webinars.
The Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP) offers the Financial Risk Manager (FRM) certification. The two FRM exams cover nine major topics in risk analysis. Study materials and practice exams are available, as is a list of available courses to aid in preparation for the exams. These are located around the world; some are online. GARP has a Continuing Professional Education (CPE) program that offers a total of 40 CPE units. Other training is also available.
A career in loss prevention usually begins with either an associate's or bachelor's degree in loss prevention or risk management. Entrants into this field normally either work as a private security specialist or as a risk management professional in the insurance industry. In addition to the course work, most states require some form of licensure or certification to practice in this field.