The typical starting position in the security field is as an unarmed guard. Be it at a mall, a warehouse or an apartment complex, this position generally serves to observe the premises and to report suspicious activity. This position does not typically require anything more than a high school education, though an increasingly large number of guards are seeking out criminal justice degrees in order to secure higher pay.
From the starting position, guards tend to take a number of steps forward. The most typical step forward is to an armed guarding position. These jobs are significantly more dangerous than a typical security job guard, often under the employ of banks or armored truck companies. Other individuals tend to specialize in security fields, such as security systems or in loss-prevention for retail stores. All of these jobs carry a higher pay scale and thus tend to require at least an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree.
Another step along the path is transferring into a criminal justice field like police work or working in a correctional facility. Depending upon the salary and position of the security officer in question, this can be either a lateral move or a further step along the career path. These fields increasingly require higher education, and they do create a sort of secondary security field into which properly trained individuals can transfer. One important thing to note is that security management positions almost always require a college degree in criminal justice along with the requisite years of experience.
The terminal point of the security profession is usually in supervision. While many individuals do work as highly-paid guards for most of their lives, the end-goal is usually in a management capacity. Whether it is running one’s own security company, advising a corporation or simply organizing the work responsibility of guards, these careers tend to be significantly higher paying while requiring far less physical effort. Supervisory work tends to be available in the security field for those with at least five years of experience, but the leading roles may take decades of hard work to acquire.
The security field does have a fairly logical progression, from working as a guard to assuming a higher degree of responsibility to working in a supervisory or management capacity. There are many different jobs within this path, though, each of which is better suited to certain personalities and certain types of training. One thing is for sure, though – these jobs will continue to be an important part of the economy for years to come.