Loss Prevention Security Guards: Career Info & Requirements

Explore the job functions of a loss prevention security officer. Learn about necessary skills and training requirements in addition to salary and employment outlook to determine if this is the right career choice.

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Career Definition for Loss Prevention Security Guards

Loss prevention security officers work covertly in retail locations to identify suspicious behavior and apprehend anyone attempting to steal. However, unlike security guards, loss prevention security officers blend in with the crowd and don't wear uniforms. Loss prevention security officers work closely with law enforcement. They also write daily reports and conduct store opening and closing procedures.

Required Education High school diploma or GED
Job Skills Customer service, problem solving, quick thinking, professionalism
Median Salary (2016)* $27,706 for retail loss prevention representatives
Career Outlook (2014-2024)** 5% for all security guards

Source: *Salary.com; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Required

A high school education is required to become a loss prevention security officer. Although many companies offer on-the-job training for loss prevention security guards, separate programs also are offered through private security training companies. These programs include classes in loss prevention fundamentals, approach and initial contact, and electronic surveillance. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a clear criminal record is required for careers in loss prevention security, and background checks are standard.

Required Skills

Loss prevention security officers must be clear thinkers with the ability to resolve problems using good judgment. They also must have excellent customer service skills and possess a professional demeanor.

Career Outlook

Loss prevention security is a growing field. The BLS expects 5% job growth between 2014 and 2024 for security guards and, because many don't stay in the field long, large potential for advancement. According to Salary.com, the median salary for loss prevention security officers was $27,706 per year as of 2016.

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Alternative Careers

Other careers associated with loss prevention and the law include:

Private Detective

For those seeking a career of gathering information in an inconspicuous manner, becoming a private detective may be a good option. Private detectives investigate the background and activities of individuals, research records and documents, conduct interviews, carry out surveillance and search for evidence involving court cases.

Educational requirements are dependent on the employer, but most who work in this field have experience in law enforcement and some have earned college degrees. Most states also require licensure of these professionals. As stated in BLS reports from 2015, private detectives received a median income of $45,610. Employment growth of 5% is predicted by the BLS, between 2014 and 2024.

Police Officer

If a job tracking down and arresting criminals sounds exciting, consider becoming a police officer. Police officers can work in many areas such as traffic law enforcement and criminal investigation. Officers observe activities in an assigned area, note suspicious activities, respond to emergencies, arrest suspects and complete reports.

A high school diploma and completion of a police academy training program is the path many take to enter this field. However, some police departments may prefer to hire applicants with a college degree in criminal justice or a related field. According to the BLS, job opportunities for police officers and detectives are projected to grow by only 4% from 2014-2024, mostly due to budget cuts in many cities and states. In May of 2015, the BLS estimated that police officers earned $58,320 a year in median wages.

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