So, you think private security jobs or working as an armed guard might be right for you, but you need more information before you pursue the career. You’ve given the idea a lot of thought, and now need to know some information about the basics, such as education requirements, the proper security guard trainings, available hours, what goes into training, and what you might be able to expect from your salary.
The truth is that if you’re interested in helping people and companies protect themselves, their events and/or guests, or their assets, then a job in personal security or as a security specialist might meet your needs! Here’s your guide for learning more about protective services.
Is Private Security Right for You?
Understanding what goes into private security is a big step in deciding whether it might be the right career path for you. Here are some answers to a few of the biggest questions prospective guards might have.
1. Who Needs a Security Contractor?
People around the world have various reasons for needing security companies to keep them safe. Some events and places that might require unarmed or armed private security include:
- Special events
- Private and charter schools
- Employee termination
- High-value warehouse facilities
- Courier services
- Jewelry stores
- Malls and department stores
- Banks and other financial institutions
- Construction sites
- Diplomatic convoys and events
Individuals and companies contract with security management companies for various reasons, from simple event protection or loss prevention jobs to accompanying employees out of their businesses after termination to prevent unnecessary outbursts. The bottom line is that if you choose to pursue a job as a security professional, you may find yourself working at varied locales with varied situations throughout your career.
2. What Is Required of Security Professionals?
So many events and locations needing security specialists means it’s difficult to describe the average day in the life of a private security guard. You’ll likely be called upon to complete a variety of tasks, such as:
- Monitoring security videos and cameras
- Checking identifications
- Walking around a specific space to ensure its safety and security
- Focusing on crowds at events to identify suspicious people
- Calming down tense situations
- Interacting with local law enforcement and Homeland Security
- Breaking up altercations
- Protecting the lives of those you’re providing security services for
- Engaging protective measures, sometimes including firing a gun or using handcuffs
This is by no means a complete list of tasks with which you might find yourself assigned. Being flexible, attentive to details, and prepared to act in any situation is a good start for a career in private security, as is having a law enforcement or military background.
3. How Do I Decide if Security Is a Good Fit?
Personal and private security is not the right career for everyone, and those with specific backgrounds, personalities, and skill sets will have an easier time succeeding in their roles. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- Are you former law enforcement or military personnel?
- Are you interested in being part of the criminal justice system?
- Are you able to remain alert even when nothing happens for long periods of time?
- Do you have any previous security experience?
- Are you able to remain calm in extremely stressful events?
- Are you able to distinguish between high- and low-stress situations?
- Can you pause before reacting to assess the situation and determine what it requires?
- Are you interested in pursuing any training required to be a good security officer?
If you answered yes to these questions, then security might be a good career path for you.
Private Security Officer Salaries
Like almost every other job in the private sector, your salary with a private security company is usually determined by how much time you have at a company and how much experience you have in the industry. Pay differs at different security firms and your location in the U.S. For example, a job in Washington, D.C. would pay more than one in Atlanta.
Entry-Level Security Officer
If you’ve never worked in private security, you’ll start out in an entry-level position. The salary of an entry-level security guard is around $17,000 as a national average, according to Zip Recruiter. You might earn more with a bachelor’s degree over a high school diploma, or with a law enforcement background.
Mid-Level Security Guard
After a few years on the job, you will make more with a security career than someone just starting out. You can expect to make around $25,000 per year or more. The company you work for and location will play a large part in your salary at this point.
Expert-Level Security Officer
By this time, you’re made a nice niche for yourself with a security career. The national average for this level security guard position is between $35,000 and $45,000 per year.
A lot of factors go into salary, though, from experience and training to company and specialty. Someone who handles personal protection for a political dignitary would make more than someone working security patrol at a mall, for example.
Training a Security Guard
At SMART Security Pros, we only hire former military personnel and law enforcement agents who arrive with a certain level of training. After being hired, our guards go through our rigorous training program. The types of training include:
- Active shooter training
- Crowd control
- Firearm safety and skills
- Identifying suspicious subjects
- Remaining calm in emergency situations
- Use of all security gear
If you’re considering a career path in private security and need a job opportunity, there are certain skills you need to possess to find a part-time or full-time position in a security company. Some common skills for security guards include:
- Accurately firing a firearm
- Deescalating tense situations
- Quickly identifying potential threats to yourself and others
- Making quick decisions
- Remaining calm and focused in high-tension situations
- Fighting and protecting someone else
- Communicating effectively in both verbal and written mediums
- Paying attention to details
- Standing or walking for extended periods of time
- Dealing effectively with people in a variety of situations
Don’t be discouraged if these are not your strong suits! Some skills can be taught, while others come naturally. Even natural skills can be polished in the right training program.
Learn More About Private Security Jobs
SMART Security Pros offers only the highest caliber unarmed and armed security personnel. We have our own training program to ensure the qualifications of our security officers, and our team can be mobilized to help you with your needs in just a couple of hours. Contact us today to learn more about the services we offer and the top-notch team we employ to keep you safe.