Security officers have a wide array of responsibilities, depending on their employer.
However, the salary of a security officer is usually below the minimum wage.
This can vary from one employer to another as well.
The job of a security officer is relatively the same across all industries.
The responsibilities are quite similar, whether a security officer works for a school campus, airport, bank, a court of law, or a security firm, such as Securitas or Allied Barton.
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Article Table of Contents
What Does a Security Officer Do
Even though the responsibilities of security officers are pretty much the same in different workplaces, some may be different depending on the particular job.
For example, a HIPAA security officer’s secondary responsibilities are different from the duties of transportation security.
Or, the chief information security officer has more responsibilities than a regular information security officer.
The specific duties may vary from one job to another, however, the basic responsibilities of security officers are the same.
They have to monitor, patrol, and protect properties against vandalism, theft, terrorism, and other illegal activity.
- Keeping people, objects, and premises secure.
- Monitoring and patrolling properties, using surveillance equipment.
- Inspecting buildings, equipment, and access points.
- Determining the level of access for people, and allowing or denying entry.
- Reporting irregularities and calling authorities.
- Restraining trespasses and preventing losses, sounding alarms and summoning help, when necessary.
- Communicating policies and procedures to potential violators.
- Controlling traffic and directing drivers.
- Recording surveillance activity, observations, and information.
- Preparing and filing reports, and working in a team.
- Interviewing witnesses, obtaining signatures, and complying with the legal regulations at all times.
- Maintaining the stability and reputation of the employer.
- Ensuring the smooth operation of the equipment and troubleshooting malfunctions, when necessary.
- Evaluating equipment and new techniques.
Security officers should be physically strong.
Prior experience as a security officer can help fulfill this requirement.
Security officers should be able to deal with uncertainty as well as have decent reporting skills.
They should know what and how to ask.
They should have good English skills and excellent attention to detail.
Professionals in security should be able to manage a team as well as be a part of it.
They should also be proficient at safety management.
Security officers should have advanced surveillance skills, good judgment, and quick wit.
They should also exhibit a certain level of objectivity to fulfill their duties.
Officers should be reliable and dependable and possess a high level of integrity as well as control over their emotions.
How to Become a Security Officer
Candidates for the security officer position should meet a set of technical and personal requirements to be considered for the position.
Without these skills, not only may they be unable to do the job but also it might lead to risking serious injuries.
Most of the advanced requirements that security officers should meet relate to certification, education, licensure, registration, and some training.
Training and Qualifications
The first requirement is that security officers need to be licensed.
There are two types of licenses they can obtain: a regular security officer license and firearms licensure.
The requirements for the first type of licensure may vary in different states, but the base requirements include being 18+ years old, passing a drug test, and having no criminal record.
Requirements for the firearm license are far more complicated.
On the other hand, there are not many educational requirements.
Usually, security officers are required to have at least a high school diploma.
While in most states this is a general rule, employers at a casino or in the investigations’ area may require some post-secondary certification or degree.
Additionally, security officers undergo on-the-job training.
In most places, training and instructions take the first couple of weeks after the candidate is hired.
Training usually covers everything that the officer should know about their job: protection techniques, writing reports to defense, and even how to administer first aid.
Some employers want their employees to have at least some experience as a security officer.
Others hire officers without experience but provide the best training possible.
Experience can impact the chances of getting the job, but showing the desire to learn and improve during the interview can excel one’s chances as well.
There is one biggest challenge about the job of the security officer.
It is long periods of non-activity.
This can also influence the chances of the potential candidate for getting hired.
Security officers use audio and video monitoring equipment, radio stations, and, sometimes, even firearms.
Many positions imply 24-hour shifts.
Also, security officers may live in a stressful and potentially dangerous environment.
Even though the job outlook is positive and many employers offer benefits to their officers, the job isn’t much desirable.
The reason for this is long hours, low salary, and frequently stressful environment.
Superiors usually set shifts for the employees, and there is little room for appeal.
This can also depend on whether the security officer is armed or unarmed.
It can also vary based on the work setting, despite their ranking, whether they are a supervisor or a regular employee.
The BLS reports the average salary to be at $25,840 per year as of 2016, with a rate of $12.43 per hour.
The employment rate is predicted to grow by 5% by 2024, which is the same as the average for other occupations in the US.
The main reason is that more companies need security officers.
The payment depends on the responsibilities and requirements for the job.
Thus, an armed security officer or chief of security can make more than a security officer in a hospital or another facility.
The position of a security officer can be one of the most boring jobs, but on the other hand, it can become dangerous and exciting.
Security officers spend a lot of time monitoring the surroundings.
The job can be complicated, but usually, not much effort is required.