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Security Officer Certification and Diploma Program Information

Read about educational programs and training for prospective security officers. Learn about educational prerequisites, program coursework and voluntary certifications. Check the employment outlook and salary statistics for security officers.

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Essential Information

Diploma programs in security officer training do not exist. Individuals interested in such education can look to a certificate program instead. After gaining experience in the field, security officers may be eligible to earn industry certification and credentials.

Security officer certificate programs prepare graduates for entry-level law enforcement careers as security guards or surveillance specialists. At the certificate level, programs train future security guards in practical fieldwork techniques. Students also have opportunities to gain oral and written communication skills and to become proficient in solving security-related problems.

Educational Prerequisites

Applicants to a security officer certificate program may need to complete a college placement test. Some programs require applicants to hold a high school diploma or GED. Additionally, a background check may be required.

Program Coursework

Certificate programs, which typically require 16-24 credits for completion, can be completed within a year. Courses may include:

  • Foundations in criminal law
  • Law enforcement ethics
  • Report writing
  • Interviewing techniques
  • Criminal profiling
  • Crisis intervention
  • Search and seizure practices
  • Maintaining crime scene integrity
  • Emergency preparation
  • Fire safety

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Security officers are often employed at corporations, prisons, malls, airports, hospitals, residential communities and private security firms. From 2010-2020, employment of security guards was predicted to rise 19%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( This was average growth compared to other occupations in the nation. The BLS also noted that in May 2012, security guards earned an average salary of $27,240 annually.

Professional Certification and Continuing Education Information

In order to work as a security officer, many states require individuals to be licensed. Once an individual has earned experience as a security officer, he or she may decide to pursue voluntary certification through ASIS International ( Specific designations, such as Certified Protection Professional and Physical Security Professional, are available to applicants who meet eligibility requirements and pass a multiple-choice exam. For those seeking further education, earning a security officer certificate may be a stepping stone to an undergraduate degree in criminal justice or a related field.

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