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Should I Become a Security Guard?

When deciding to become a security guard, the prospective employee must review the responsibilities required for the position. Although there are different types of security guards, many personnel perform similar duties.

What is Security Guard Duty and Responsibility?

The duty of a security guard is to protect an asset for a company—which usually includes people and property. Security guard jobs may call for a commissioned or non-commissioned officer. Commissioned security guards are armed while non-commissioned guards are unarmed. Commissioned security guards are usually required for jobs within government buildings, such as courtrooms, state government offices, and federal agencies. Warehouses and retail locations most often utilize non-commissioned officers.

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During a job interview, the applicant will want to ask, “What are the main duties of a security guard?” An employer may request that the security guard protect points of entry and monitor who exits and enters a building. Another company may require the security guard to patrol common areas of the buildings and report any suspicious activity observed. Security guards are often in charge of any surveillance equipment and will have to monitor alarm systems and video recordings. Additionally, there are types of security guards with specialized duties. For instance, gaming surveillance officers will be in charge of security for a casino. A personal bodyguard will be in charge of providing security for a high-profile individual.

What are the Requirements to Become a Security Guard?

Security guard jobs will have different requirements based on the needs of the employer. For traditional security guard jobs at warehouses and office buildings, the employer may require the candidate obtain a high school diploma and pass an extensive background check. Most security jobs give preference to candidates with law enforcement or security backgrounds. Higher paying security jobs have more stringent requirements. The candidate may need a permit to carry a firearm and be certified in public safety laws. Federal security jobs often have degree requirements and ask that the candidate have a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a related major. Federal security guards attend rigorous training after being hired at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Georgia.

Prospective employees should prepare for tough security guard interview questions. The manager will want to know if the individual can handle potentially dangerous situations. Examples of security guard interview questions include:

  • What types of security guard jobs have you done in the past?
  • How can you work as part of a team to solve security issues?
  • How do you deal with disgruntled customers or employees?
  • How comfortable are you around different types of security guard equipment like surveillance
  • monitoring devices?
  • What are your current security guard certifications?

What is a Security Guard Salary?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a median wage of $28,530 per year for security guards. Within the industry, the highest security guard salary averages belong to government employees. Government security guards typically earn more than $34,000 annually. Alaska security guards have the highest average wage in the country, with an annual mean wage in excess of $47,000. Washington, Washington DC, Missouri, and Maryland are additional states with the highest wage averages for security guards.

Advancement is possible as the individual moves up the security guard chain of command. Security managers will be responsible for handling a team of guards. A major part of a supervisor’s job will be to train other team members on how to correctly respond to emergency situations. The supervisor may also arrange training drills and implement new safety policies as needed. The average range for a security guard manager is between $55,000 and $65,000 per year. Managers may be hired by a private security firm or a public agency.


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