Security Guards: Salary Overview
Security guards protect property and people against theft, vandalism, and other illegal activities.
Their job description typically includes protecting the employer’s property, monitoring alarms and CCTV cameras, responding to emergencies, controlling building access, conducting security checks, detaining violators, and writing reports.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for security guards was $29,680 in May 2019 which means that half the workers in this profession earned less than this amount and half earned more.
Salaries in this profession vary based on a wide range of factors, including the field of employment, the security guards’ level of experience, his/her skills, and the region of employment, among other factors.
The lowest 10 percent earned less than $21,150 per year while the highest 10 percent made more than $50,310 a year.
The 25th percentile for this profession was $24,650, which means that most security guards (75%) earned more than this amount.
Entry-level employees typically start with a salary that is closer to the minimum for this profession and start earning more after perfecting their skills and gaining a few years of experience.
Security Guard Salary by Industry
Security guards held approximately 1.1 million jobs in the United States in 2018, most of them (59%) being employed in the field of investigation, guard, and armored car services.
The average annual wage for security guards who worked in the field of investigation and security services was $31,350 as of May 2019.
The field of healthcare and social assistance hired approximately 6 percent of all security guards.
The mean annual wage for security guards who worked for general medical and surgical hospitals, an industry that hired 38,710 security guards in 2019, was $37,800.
Elemental and secondary schools hired approximately 32,330 security guards and paid them, on average, with $37,170.
Businesses in the travel accommodation sector had around 31,360 security guards on their payroll who were paid, on average, with $33,500 a year.
The local government hired around 25,130 security guards, as of May 2019, who earned a mean annual salary of $39,720 per year.
The highest annual salaries were reported by security guards employed in the industry of water, sewage, and other systems, by companies in the natural gas distribution sector, by machinery, equipment, and supplies merchant wholesalers, by businesses that provide architectural, engineering, and related services or by navigational, measuring, electromedical, and control instruments manufacturers.
The average annual salary earned by security guards who worked for companies in water, sewage, and other systems sector was $60,820- which is double the average for this profession.
Security guards employed by natural gas distributors earned, on average, $59,600 a year while those employed by machinery, equipment, and supplies merchant wholesalers earned, on average, $58,690.
Because security activities are typically outsourced to private security companies, businesses in these high paying sectors hired only a few in-house security guards and job-openings don’t occur very often.
Businesses that provide architectural, engineering, and related services, had 870 security guards on their payroll and paid them, on average $55,820.
The mean annual wage for security guards who worked for navigational, measuring, electromedical, and control instruments manufacturers was $55,180.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment of security guards is projected to grow 4 percent from 2018 to 2028.
They will continue to be needed to protect people and property and to prevent crimes and vandalism.
However, the competition for positions in higher-paying fields is expected to be strong and may require additional training and experience.
In conclusion, salaries for security guards vary based on many factors, and as an entry-level employee you should expect to earn less than $25,000 per year but if you’re in stellar physical shape and have completed some specialized training, you may find employment in a higher-paying position.
* Based on information from the May 2021 salary report from the BLS. The figures represent accumulated data for all states of employment for Security Guards. BLS data represents averages and medians for workers at all levels of education and experience. This data doesn't represent starting salaries.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.