Certified Physical Security Specialist: Job Description & Requirements

Certified physical security specialists require little formal education. Learn about the education, job description and certification requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

To become certified as a physical security specialist, individuals must first meet the necessary education requirements and gain experience in the field of security. Physical security specialists often work on-site for a multitude of industries. Besides being vigilant, physical security specialists require strong communication skills and the ability to follow procedures.

Essential Information

Physical security specialists work for a range of industries, including government facilities and businesses, keeping records of visitors, protecting high security areas and securing facilities. This position is usually for experienced security professionals and may require extensive work experience or formal education. Voluntary certification is available.

Required Education A high school diploma or equivalent
Other Requirements State registration, passing certification exams
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 5%* (for security guards)
Median Annual Salary (May 2015) $24,630* (for security guards)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description

Physical security specialists are advanced security officials who work in a multitude of industries. Job opportunities are available in schools, businesses and warehouses. In addition, the government often employs physical security specialists to secure government facilities and property. Job responsibilities include securing entryways, greeting and signing in guests, verifying visitor credentials and removing unauthorized visitors. Physical security specialists are also in charge of maintaining locks and keeping track of all building keys.

A comprehensive understanding of the facility's security system is essential for physical security specialists. Workers must be able to implement the systems function, as well as reprogram the system. Physical security specialists might organize security personnel and plan security procedures. Additional job duties might include performing risk assessments to determine security threats and assuring current security measures meet security policies and standards.

Education Requirements

Typically, physical security positions only require a high school diploma and work experience; however, advanced security positions might require additional education. Some military-related positions may require applicants to have specialized security experience


Existing security workers can advance by completing voluntary certification. For instance, the Physical Security Professional (PSP) certification is available through the American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS) International. To be eligible for certification, applicants must have the right mixture of the necessary education and security experience. The multiple-choice PSP exam consists of 140 questions covering physical security assessment, design and implementation.

Career Info

According to, security directors, an employment category that includes advanced-level security personnel, made a median annual wage of $72,417 in January 2016. This is substantially more than the median annual wage of $24,630 earned by general security guards in May 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Physical security specialists can become certified after they meet the necessary education requirements, gain enough employment experience and pass an exam. Trade organizations, including the ASIS International, offer certification opportunities. The equivalent of a high school diploma is the minimum education needed for physical security specialists, but professionals may also need classes or on-the-job training concerning security procedures, systems and threat assessment.

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