If you aspire to become a security guard, you have landed at the right place. The job of a security guard is the most crucial one as they protect the property and keep the people safe.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the security guard job role will witness an employment growth rate of 14.6 percent between 2020 and 2030. It is expected that an estimated 154,200 jobs will also open up for people who aspire to build a career as security guards in that period.
The security guard job is among the noblest jobs due to the willingness of the security guards to risk their lives to save property and people. To become a security guard and perform well in such a rewarding job, you must familiarize yourself with the process of becoming a security guard.
Here are some of the frequently asked questions related to how to become a security guard in 2022:
- Who is a security guard?
- What are the responsibilities of security guards?
- How to become a security guard?
- How to get a security guard license?
- How long does it take to become a security guard?
- How much does it cost to become a security guard?
- How much does a security guard earn?
Who Is a Security Guard?
Security guards are the people who patrol a specified area to prevent any illegal activity, harm, or theft from taking place. They are dynamic people who are up for any challenge that might come in their way of protecting and safeguarding people and property.
Security guards are in demand with an increase in crime rates across the globe. They work to secure buildings, goods, and human lives. The job of a security guard is very challenging, but if you have an interest in the security field, you might be just the right person for this job.
What Are the Responsibilities of Security Guards?
A security guard will ensure that the lives of people living in a particular area and their belongings are safe. They prevent human life and property from vandalism, theft, or harm. Security guards work in banks, airports, museums, offices, restaurants, shopping complexes, pubs, and other locations.
It is their job to look out for any suspicious activity, and therefore they stay alert while on duty.
The primary responsibilities of a security guard include crime prevention, crime response, and informing the law enforcement agencies in case of a security danger.
Here are some responsibilities of security guards that they perform on a daily basis:
- Protect commercial or private buildings from any harm.
- Look out for theft, robbery, vandalism, or terrorist activities.
- Contact law enforcement authorities in case of any suspicious activity observed.
- Maintain a daily activity log to keep track of visitors on their premises.
- Check for the proper functioning of the equipment fitted on the premises for security purposes.
- Monitor CCTV camera for every individual that roams in and around the premises.
- Perform screening of individuals to check for any weapon or prohibited items.
- During an emergency, calling the cops, fire department, or paramedics
- Maintain orderliness on the premises and handle emergencies.
How to Become a Security Guard?
How can I become a security guard? It must be a pertinent question occupying your mind if you want to build a career in the security field.
To become a security officer, you must have problem-solving capabilities and fast response to stimuli. Besides the skills, you also need to obtain an educational degree and physically train yourself well.
Here are the steps to become a security guard if you are planning to build a career in the same field:
Fulfill Minimum Requirements to Become a Security Guard
First and foremost, you must fulfill the minimum requirements to become a security guard, including completing your educational degree. A high school diploma is the most common security guard qualification concerning education.
If you intend to work in high-risk areas like casinos, you will probably require a bachelor’s degree. Hence, complete your bachelor’s first and land your dream security guard job in any area or enter the field after completing a high school diploma, gain some experience and then enter the high-risk area - your call!
Also, keep in mind that the minimum age limit for a security guard job is 18 years, while if you are thinking about how to become an armed security guard, you should at least be 21 years old with a college degree.
Get Security Guard Certifications
Besides security guard qualifications, having certifications related to security guard jobs can enhance your overall personality and equip you with the necessary skills. It will make you a more desirable candidate than others in the hiring process.
Now you must be wondering: where can I find security guard training courses?
Here are some certifications that can ease out the process of becoming a security guard:
- Security5 Certification by EC Council
- OSHA Safety Certificate by Delaware Technical Community College
- First Aid, CPR, and AED Instructor by National Safety Council
- EPA Amusement Operators Safety Certification (EPA) by Event Planners Association
- Certified Healthcare Safety Professional - Fire Safety Management (CHSP-FSM) by Internation Board for Certification Services and Management
- Physical Security Certification (PSC) by the Center for Development of Security Excellence
Enhance Skills for Security Guard Jobs
A security guard needs to be agile and show the presence of mind. They have a dynamic and spontaneous personality that helps them take charge in challenging situations.
Here are some skills that you must possess if you want to become a security guard:
- Communication skills
- Problem-solving ability
- Physical fitness
- Observational skills
- Decision-making skills
- Attention to detail
- Critical thinking
- Organizational skills
Enhance Physical Fitness
The next step is to enhance physical fitness as security literally spend most of their time on their feet, walking or standing throughout their shift. Being able to run, lift heavy weights, or stand tirelessly are just some of the essential physical fitness expected from a security guard.
To meet physical fitness requirements, you should exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet. The security guard job requires you to be ready for action anytime at work.
Find a Job
Once you have gained all the necessary education and skills and trained yourself physically, now is the time to look for a job. Some of the security officer related jobs are mentioned below:
- Personal Protection Officers
- Video Survellience Agents
- Private Security Guard
- Armed Security Guard
- Unarmed Security Guard
Prepare for the Interview
After applying for the jobs, you will expect a call to schedule an interview. In the security guard interview, you will have to answer every question with coherence and confidence. For most of the questions, you can draw the answer from your previous working experience.
Get on-site Training
Most of the security guards are trained after they are selected. These training programs are organized by the company that hires you. On average, a security guard training is designed for 40 hours.
In the security guard training, you will be taught the code of conduct and additional skills like arresting people, private property law, ethical measures, and individual rights. If you are planning to work as an armed security guard, you will need to pass a state-issued firearm exam which will allow you a permit to carry a weapon.
The last step is to gain a license to work as a security guard. You need to register in your province, complete the training duration, and appear for the test to get a license. It typically costs around $50.
Once your license application is accepted, the license issuing authority will call you for fingerprint checking, which has an additional charge of $50. This process will put you under the obligation of not committing any anti-social activity as it will come in the knowledge of state authorities, and you will lose your job.
How Do I Get a Security Guard License?
If you are wondering how to get a security guard license, all you have to do is train, register, appear for a test and obtain the permit. Yes, it is that simple. Here are the steps to get a security guard license:
- Complete the required number of training hours, also called Basic Security Officer Training (BSOT), and obtain a training completion number.
- Register for the security officer license test. Once you have submitted the registration request, you will receive the date of your test
- Study for the test, give the exam and appear for the fingerprint registration process.
- Acquire a digital copy of your security guard license as a hard copy might take time to process.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Security Guard?
How long it takes to become a security guard depends on a variety of factors, such as which certification you are choosing or how long you are taking to complete your high school education.
On average, once you finish high school and have reached the age of 18 years, you are eligible to become a security guard. You can pursue the certification course, which can take approximately a few hours to months to complete.
It is better to complete your training and apply for the license, which takes approximately six weeks to complete. So altogether, depending on the number of training hours, certification and obtaining a license can be a process of anywhere between 2-3 months.
How Much Does It Cost to Become a Security Guard?
The total cost of becoming a security guard can range anywhere from $350-$450, including the BSOT, booking and applying for the test, and uniform expenditure. The primary charge of $100 is obtaining a license, while the certifications and additional expenses can cost approximately $250-$350.
How Much Does a Security Guard Earn?
A security guard earns approximately $35,525 per year on an average. Those with experience of 6-9 years earn $38,686 annually. The highest paying city for a security officer is New York, which offers a $41,157 average annual income.
A fresher security guard should expect less than the average salary as it is with experience, their salary increases. The maximum compensation that you can expect with years of experience in high paying cities like New York or Chicago is $50,000 per year
A security guard is responsible for the safety of people and property. If you are planning to build a career in the security field, keep these points in mind:
- Complete the high school education by the time you are 18 years of age. To become an armed security guard, you must be at least 21 years of age.
- Pursue certifications to add to your educational qualifications. The certificates will empower you with the necessary skills to become a security guard.
- Enhance skills such as decision-making abilities, observation skills, and teamwork to handle any challenge that comes your way on duty.
- Take special care of your physical fitness. Do exercise and eat healthy so that your body does not betray you on duty.
- Before appearing for the security guard interview, prepare well for the interview questions. Be confident and express yourself boldly.
- Get the on-site training and develop your skills. Once you have completed a specified number of training hours, register to get a license.
- Keep in mind that obtaining a license will open doors to more security guard jobs.