With a high school diploma or GED and a valid driver's license, it is possible to begin a career as a campus security officer. Campus security officers are responsible for maintaining a safe environment on campus. In addition to on-the-job training they may need to obtain a firearms license and CPR certification.
A campus security officer promotes and maintains safety at a college or university by supporting the efforts of campus and local police. Although not a sworn police officer, a campus security officer performs many of the public safety functions of law enforcement. Generally, a high school education and additional job training are necessary to become a campus security officer. Some employers prefer to hire candidates with prior work experience in the security field. Depending on their position, campus security officers may need to hold various types of licensure or certification, including a firearms license and CPR certification.
|Required Education||High school diploma or GED at minimum|
|Required Training||On-the-job training|
|Other Requirements||Work experience in security may be preferred|
|Licensure and Certification||Driver's license required; CPR and first aid certification required; firearms license sometimes needed|
|Job Growth (2014-2024)*||5% for all security guards|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$24,630 for all security guards|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Campus security officers promote lawful behavior and protect the welfare of students, faculty and staff as a uniformed presence on campus. A campus security officer performs foot and vehicle patrols of a college or university campus to monitor behavior, secure buildings and property, investigate disturbances, maintain order during events and enforce regulations. They monitor the physical safety of campus buildings by locking and unlocking doors, patrolling or monitoring using surveillance systems, and reporting suspicious behavior. Many are also tasked with enforcing traffic and parking regulations, ticketing offenders when necessary.
In emergency situations, campus security officers respond to the scene, provide first aid, and alert additional police or emergency personnel as appropriate. They maintain radio communication with other safety personnel and officers on campus, helping to coordinate emergency plans. They also write and submit incident reports to public safety supervisors or law enforcement agencies as appropriate. Other duties may include monitoring alarm systems and responding to alerts, training additional security officers and serving as crowd control at special events.
In 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimated a median annual wage of $24,630 for security guards in general. Those who worked for colleges, universities and professional schools earned a median annual salary ranging from $30,400 to $39,250 depending on the type of school and school ownership.
Educational and Training Requirements
Both the BLS and recent available job postings indicated a high school diploma or GED as the minimum education required for campus security officers. Additionally, employers cited the need for 1-3 years of security experience. Most of these positions are unarmed, but employers indicated the need for candidates to acquire the appropriate state certification or licensing for firearms upon employment. Another necessary qualification includes a valid driver's license and auto insurance, since many positions include vehicular patrol.
Prospective campus security officers are usually required to submit to criminal background checks and either one-time or periodic drug testing, the BLS noted. Because they sometimes respond in emergencies, the majority of job postings listed valid CPR, first aid and AED certification as a prerequisite, while other employers included it as part of the training process upon hiring.
The 5% job growth rate the BLS predicts for all security officers from 2014-2024 is about average when compared to all occupations. Applicants will need to have a valid driver's license and may be required to take CPR and firearms training once hired. Campus security guards typically earn a higher annual wage than security guards, with median salaries in 2015 ranging from $30,400 to $39,250.