How to Become a Security Guard

How to Become a Security GuardThere are a lot of benefits to being a security guard that many people don’t realize. Security guards have a lot of responsibility, and there is a lot of room for movement up the chain as security guards become more trustworthy and can eventually become supervisors for other guards.

There is a very low barrier to entry as a security guard, and guards can make their own decisions and be in charge of their own shifts the majority of the time. Many guards make a significant amount in overtime pay, and they work a unique set of hours that some people find extremely beneficial.

The Education Required for Security Guards
High School or GED

Find Related CareersSOURCE: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Some states require licensure for security guards and others do not. The states that do require licenses usually require hours put into a training program. Many local colleges will provide this training, and some employers will even pay for this training.

If you are in a state that requires its security guards to be licensed, you should call local security companies and ask if they are hiring and if they pay for the training required to be a security guard. If they do, then you may wish to consider applying before receiving your training so that you can get it paid by the company.

Some states, as noted by the Department of Consumer Affairs in California, require a certain amount of training while on the job. While an education is not required for a security guard, a criminal justice degree is usually beneficial because it will allow a security guard to move upward in rank or move laterally to another similar position.

Starting Your Career as a Security Guard

Once you have the appropriate training and licensing, you will usually sign up with a security company. Security companies have a wide range of services offered. Some of them lease out security guards to office buildings, and others lease security guards to extremely high risk facilities such as banks. The companies that you apply with will usually start out small, but you can then build up your career.

Having a degree will help in this step. While you can continue a career as a simple security guard, you can also advance your career with progressively more interesting and higher risk jobs. As long as you perform well throughout these positions you will be able to keep going upwards through the ranks. Eventually, you may be able to be in charge of your own security team.

Opportunities for Advancement for Security Guards

The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that the median income for a security guard is $24,380, so those that want an increase of wages may need to advance their careers significantly. For those that wish to advance within the career path of a security guard, the ultimate positions will usually be in high risk private sectors such as banks or running security for high profile individuals.

If you wish to advance outside of a security guard role, and you have the education to do so, you can consider a career in the FBI, with the police department or as a private investigator. If you received a criminal justice degree, you will be able to apply to all of these departments, and your past experience as a security guard may help you succeed.

Take the First Step

The first step in becoming a security guard will be to ascertain the requirements of a security guard in your state. At the same time, you will want to look into the applicable degree programs that may suit you, such as a criminal justice program that is either on-campus or online.

There are many two-year degree programs that could prove very beneficial to those becoming a security guard as well, for those that don’t want a lengthy time commitment. However, those that want to transition into other types of career may be benefited more by going after a four-year degree from the start.

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