Loss Prevention Surveillance Officer Employment Info

Loss prevention surveillance officers, also known as store detectives or loss prevention agents, are responsible for preventing theft in businesses and stores, either from external or internal sources. Read on to learn more about education and training requirements, useful skills, job outlook and salary potential for loss prevention specialists.

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Career Definition for a Loss Prevention Surveillance Officer

Loss prevention surveillance officers work in businesses and retail establishments to prevent theft and crime. In addition to directly preventing and apprehending shoplifters, they may also train employees in loss prevention techniques. Typical duties include using surveillance equipment to monitor customers or employees, interacting with customers in a safe, professional manner, working with law enforcement to assist in the prosecution of shoplifters, writing reports and interacting with and briefing management.

Education High school diploma or GED required, work experience necessary, associate or bachelor's degree preferable
Job Skills Good judgment, composure maintenance, attention to detail, time management
Median Salary (2015) $28,650 for loss prevention specialists in retail, $45,610 for private investigators and detectives
Job Growth (2014-2024) 5% for private investigators and detectives

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, ONet Online

Required Education

Career and education requirements for loss prevention surveillance officers can vary according to the position. Generally, a minimum of a high school diploma or GED and work experience in loss prevention or retail theft prevention are required. Course can include introductory topics in loss prevention, criminal law, civil law and civil rights, as well as civil and criminal liability. While previous experience is key to obtaining a position, some employers may prefer candidates with an associate or a bachelor's degree in law enforcement.

Skills Required

The ability to exercise good judgment and maintain your composure in stressful situations will help you excel as a loss prevention surveillance officer. Additional requirements include excellent verbal and written communication skills, an attention to detail, inquisitiveness and an aptitude for time management.

Career and Salary Outlook

According to O*Net Online, the median salary for a loss prevention surveillance specialist working in retail was approximately $28,650 (www.onetonline.org). In May 2015, the median annual wage for private detectives and investigators in general was $45,610, as reported by the BLS. Between 2014 and 2024, the BLS has projected a fast as average growth in jobs for private detectives and investigators nationwide of 5% (www.bls.gov).

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Alternate Career Options

Bill and Account Collectors

Bill and account collectors use mail or telephone techniques to obtain payments on overdue bills, usually for third-party call centers or collection companies. Minimum education requirements include a high school diploma; college courses in accounting, computer technology and communication may be helpful or preferred. Once hired, collection specialists typically receive between one and three months of on-site training, through which they learn about Fair Debt Collection Practices. They also become familiar with collection software, corporate policies and negotiating procedures.

As reported by the BLS, bill and account collectors across the country can expect a 6% decrease in employment opportunities from 2014 to 2024. In May 2015, collections professionals received median yearly salaries of $34,440.

Security Guards and Gaming Surveillance Officers

Security guards and gaming surveillance officers use closed-circuit television and on-site patrols to guard and protect private and public property against illegal or terrorist activities, theft and vandalism. Those employed by the gaming industry typically work at casino hotels. A high school diploma or its equivalent is usually required in order to obtain a position; some employers may prefer candidates with an associate or a bachelor's degree in criminal justice or police science. On-the-job training in crisis intervention and first aid is also necessary; guards who carry a firearm will most likely need to be licensed in their state.

The BLS has projected a 5%, or average, increase for security guards and surveillance officers nationwide between 2014 and 2024. As of May 2015, security guards earned median annual wages of $24,630, while those employed in gaming surveillance investigation received median salaries of $31,170.

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