|Required Education||High school diploma or equivalent|
|Other Requirements||On-the-job training and/or state-mandated training programs; registration, especially for armed guards, is usually required; 18 years of age or older; background check, fingerprint, and possibly a physical fitness test|
|Licensure/Certification||Licensure required in most states|
|Job Outlook (2014-2024)||5%*|
|Mean Salary (2015)||$28,460*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Security guards help ensure the safety of property, employees, and residents. Workers patrol and monitor a wide variety of settings, including shopping malls, banks, entertainment venues, transportation facilities, public museums and hospitals. States usually regulate the amount of training required for workers in this profession. Those drawn to the security profession should demonstrate an ability to deal with stressful, sometimes dangerous situations.
Security Guard Training Programs
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that most security guard employers provide newly hired security guards with job training. Nevertheless, since most states require security guards to be licensed, formal training programs through vocational institutes have become a standard method of training. Each state has different requirements for the amount and type of training needed, so professionals working in various states may have to go through several training programs.
Security guard training programs often must be completed during the first 100 days on the job, though this requirement varies by state. Topics covered during the training programs include basic security techniques, investigations, report writing, patrolling tactics, firearm use and emergency procedures. Workers specializing in particular types of security management such as private, airport, armored car or armed escort, may need to take additional courses to learn the necessary skills for these specialty security professions.
Security Guard Classes
Since most states require security guards to renew licensure or certification, workers often have to participate in a security guard class as a form of continued education required for the renewal process. Some states may have pre-structured classes for the license renewal process, but other states may allow security guards to choose individual classes from an approved list of coursework. These refresher classes typically focus on either armed or unarmed security guard training.
Most states require that security guards be at least 18 years of age. Education requirements vary, but most employers accept workers who hold the equivalent of a high school diploma, according to the BLS. Applicants must also pass criminal background checks and be fingerprinted. Some states also require security guards to pass physicals prior to employment.
Nearly all states require security guards to complete the licensing process during the first few months of employment. To qualify for the licenses, applicants must first complete the mandatory training programs. License applicants usually have to pass written tests that cover topics such as crime prevention, emergency procedures and evidence handling. Practical skills tests are often required, especially to verify a security guard's ability to safely use weapons.
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the BLS, security guards are projected to see a 5% increase in employment opportunities from 2014-2024. Those with work experience in law enforcement or technology will have the best prospects, the BLS stated. The mean annual salary for security guards in May 2015 was $28,460.
Due to licensing requirements, formal training and continued education is usually required to become a security guard.