Security Guard Job Description and Salary Information

security guard
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Are you interested in a job as a security guard? Here’s information on security guard jobs, including education and training requirements, salary information, employment outlook, a job description, and typical employers.

Security Guard Job Description

Security guards oversee the enforcement of laws within the premises of their employer or client and protect the property of their employers. They screen visitors and sometimes operate imaging equipment that can detect weapons.

Security Guards detain individuals who have committed infractions until the police arrive. They may interview witnesses to gather information for the authorities. Security Guards sometimes provide testimony in court when they have witnessed crimes. They complete reports to document incidents.

Security guards are employed by hospitals, schools, colleges, airports, casinos, power companies and other corporations. Many work for private security firms who are contracted by other organizations.

Sample Job Advertisement

Job Summary 

The Security Associate (SA) will rotate by foot or scooter through assigned locations and monitor activity, enforce policies and regulations as outlined by clients, and respond to any reported security violations.  The SA will document incidents and communicate with relevant client personnel. The SA reports to the Director of Security.

Specific Responsibilities:

  • Screen security documents of staff and visitors upon arrival at client facilities. Contact relevant departments to verify security status of visitors.
  • Develop and maintain positive working relationships with staff. Elicit constructive criticism regarding security services.
  • Monitor the physical plant and report any damage to facilities that might represent a safety risk.
  • Rotate through assigned areas on foot or scooter on a regular basis.
  • Detain any individuals without appropriate credentials and notify campus authorities
  • Immediately report any security breaches and incidences.
  • Conduct investigations of incidents including interviewing parties involved.
  • Provide written summaries of incidents within 12 hours of occurrence.
  • Escort visitors and contractors to their destination within the facility as warranted by protocols.
  • Assist police, fire and EMT personnel who respond to emergencies. Secure areas surrounding incidents.

Education and Training Requirements

Most often security guards will be hired with a high school degree. Some organizations prefer candidates with an Associate’s degree in an area like criminal justice or police science.  Security guards with some college education or prior experience with law enforcement will have the best chance to take on leadership positions within the security industry. Thorough background checks are conducted with candidates for security guard positions, given the sensitive nature of the work.

Some states require training prior to employment, once guards are hired and /or continuing education each year.  Training might include topics like crisis intervention, documenting incidents, first aid, and company protocols.  Guards who carry firearms receive more extensive preparation for handling weapons appropriately.

Security Guard Salaries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, security guards earned an average of $32,630 in 2016. The bottom 10% of security guards earned less than $22,340 while the top 10% earned at least $52,500. The highest average wages were earned by gaming surveillance officers working for state government agencies ($53,880) and casinos ($35,420).

Employment Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of security guards and gaming surveillance workers is expected to grow by 6% from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as average for all occupations. The outbreak of mass shootings at schools and other public venues and vigilance regarding terrorist activity may necessitate even higher levels of hiring.  Security guards with advanced firearms training and certifications will be in greatest demand.