When choosing a career path, you need to evaluate your strengths, characteristics, and interests.
So, if you have a desire to help people and help them feel safe in the workplace or their residence, the position of a security officer may be a good fit for you.
If you are debating if this career is a good choice, read on to find out more details about the job, including salary, duties, requirements, and more.
Article Table of Contents
- 1 What Is a Security Officer
- 2 Popular Programs
- 3 Other Job Titles of Security Officers
- 4 Responsibilities
- 5 What Security Officers Do Not Do
- 6 Qualifications
- 7 Other Skills Required for Security Officers
- 8 Education and Training
- 9 Possible Places of Employment
- 10 Salary
- 11 Finding the Right Security Officer Position
What Is a Security Officer
Security officers are employed by companies, organizations, or buildings to keep the employees, offices, and properties secure.
They are responsible for the protection and enforcing the laws on the property of the employers, detaining criminals caught on the premises, and keeping logs for security information.
Security officers patrol the grounds and buildings during their shift, which can take place at night, early morning, or midday.
By patrolling, they can ensure the safety and security of people and property.
They work to prevent vandalism, theft, and other crimes.
Security officers are also known as surveillance officers.
They observe and deal with all areas of security, which includes handling possible perpetrators who have entered the premises.
Security officers ensure safety and help maintain a sense of security for employees who may have to work off-hours, under unusual circumstances, or other situations when they may need an escort for security reasons.
Other Job Titles of Security Officers
In the course of your job hunt, you may come across different titles, which also describe the job of a security officer:
- Security guard.
- Armed security guard – requires additional training and certifications.
- Armed security officer – requires additional training and certifications.
- Security personnel.
Despite the company or location, some security officers’ responsibilities include:
- Maintain a secure and safe environment for employees, customers, guests, and others on the premises.
- Patrol the buildings and grounds on a semi-regular schedule.
- Maintain detailed logs of employees, contractors, and visitors that enter or exit the building.
- Monitor and authorize the vehicles entering the property.
- Remove trespassers from the area.
- Secure elevators, windows, and exits at the end of operations.
- Regularly check the security cameras to identify disruptions and anomalies of operations or unlawful acts.
- Respond to alarms by assessing and investigating situations when they are triggered.
There can be more specific duties depending on a company or agency.
What Security Officers Do Not Do
Security officers are only security personnel.
They are not police officers and aren’t legally authorized to arrest people and carry guns in most situations.
Some companies, such as financial establishments, may require their officers to carry guns, but they should be certified for that.
However, generally, security officers only carry flashlights, clubs, pepper sprays, or other non-lethal weapons.
To meet the requirements and fulfill their duties, security officers need a set of skills and qualifications.
Age: At Least 18 Years Old
For many reasons which include liability, security officers should be at least 18, which is the legal age of adulthood.
With that, companies can be certain that no legal labor issues are involved.
Security officers do more than just sitting in a chair and watching security screens.
They should file the reports on incidents, patrol the premises, and take notes of unusual events.
They also prepare regular reports.
So, they need advanced written communication skills.
Verbal skills are also an essential requirement for security officers.
They should report over walkie-talkies, communicate with colleagues, supervisors, visitors, and others.
Without proper communication of security information, instructions to guests, and proper verbal response to supervisors’ questions, everybody’s security can be compromised.
While the job of a security officer isn’t as physically demanding as police officers or a firefighter, they should have some fitness.
Officers often patrol the premises on foot.
Also, they should pursue minor security risks and should perform some load-lifting as well.
Security officers need strong interpersonal skills due to the nature of the job.
They deal with guests, co-workers, visitors, superiors, and those who can pose a security threat.
The ability to deal with different levels of authority and various personalities can make a difference in assisting someone or defusing a sticky situation.
Security officers can have some significant downtime, so they may catch a break to read during their overnight shift or may be required to perform additional tasks such as administrative jobs.
Security officers should be attentive to various things simultaneously, such as screens showing other areas that they cover, present environments.
Also, they deal with people while making these observations.
Security officers should be able to follow multiple sets of complex instructions.
They can include working with security systems, data collection, and more.
Other Skills Required for Security Officers
There are some additional skills and abilities security officers should possess, including:
- The capability of dealing with uncertainty.
- Solid, on-your-feet judgment.
- Surveillance skills.
- Safety management.
- Reporting skills.
- Emotional control.
- Knowledge of security operations and procedures – which are often given during training for a given job.
- Objectivity in decision-making.
- Knowledge of basic security and fire inspection procedures.
Many employers also require:
- First-aid training.
- Tech-savvy skills and experience with surveillance systems.
- Self-defense training.
- Proven experience as a security officer in the past for 2 to 5 years.
- Certification or registration as a security officer.
- Knowledge of legal guidelines regarding security and public safety.
Education and Training
Typically, security officers need only a high school diploma or GED.
Some specific companies may require additional education while some security agencies may need specific certifications or licensure.
Most companies don’t need armed guards, and those positions don’t require too many skills.
However, some computer education and specific training in security can be beneficial for those who look for a job in the security field.
Possible Places of Employment
Security officers can work in a wide variety of businesses, from banks to college campuses.
Some of the commonplaces of employment of security officers include:
- Private college dormitories.
- College campuses.
- Concert halls and theaters.
- Office buildings.
- Financial institutes.
- Businesses who work in sensitive materials.
- Military bases.
- Transportation companies.
- Medical facilities.
- Government buildings.
- Theme and amusement parks.
- Event venues.
- Bars and nightclubs.
- Retail stores.
- Museums and art galleries.
According to Glassdoor, security officers make $31,120 on average.
The lowest salary is estimated at $24,000 per year, and the highest is about $44,000 per year.
The difference in pay is fairly significant, about $20,000 annually.
This can depend on various factors such as types of companies, location, cost of living in the area, and the level of the required security qualifications.
If you wish to work in this field and receive a higher salary, you can consider acquiring licenses and certifications.
For instance, certifications for armed security positions.
With them, you can apply to higher-paying companies instead of small local agencies.
The specific job can also influence salary since some positions are more intense and dangerous than others.
Finding the Right Security Officer Position
If you wish to help people and want to make a career of it, the job of a security officer may be a good choice.
Security officers should secure locations, ensuring the safety of workers and visitors, patrolling the grounds, etc.
The job of a security officer can be a good fit for introverts willing to work nights.
The extroverts interested in the field and looking for a daytime position with heavily trafficked buildings, like financial institutions or hotels, may also find the position a good fit.