How to Get a Security Guard Job
The need for men and women with security skills is on the rise. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the security guard industry in the United States is expected to grow by 5% through 2024. Customers across a wide variety of industries continue to rely on professional, licensed security guards to protect their most valuable people and business assets.
With the exciting growth of the industry and the continued need for security guard services, many people are interested in beginning a career as a security guard. The field offers a great deal of variety – security guards can be found monitoring access to a massive construction site, de-escalating rowdy crowds at a football game or deterring thieves from ransacking homes in a residential community. Many people are drawn to security jobs because they often offer a mix of danger and adventure with the satisfaction of knowing that they have protected people and property from harm.
However, it can be confusing to understand the requirements and education required to become a certified security professional. Training requirements vary from state to state and from security company to security company. For those who are interested in entering the profession, it is critical that they have knowledge of the basic requirements, training and continuing education required to build their security guard résumés and successful careers.
How to Get Your First Security Guard Position
Review the Basic Requirements
To be considered for a security guard license in your state, you must meet some basic requirements. Although they vary from state to state, the requirements are generally consistent across the country. Some of the considerations in order to apply for a security guard license include:
- You must be at least 18 years of age.
- You must pass a background investigation.
- You must obtain a fingerprint scan.
- You may need to submit to drug testing.
- You must have a high school diploma or GED.
- You must complete the security guard training requirements for your state.
If you are not sure what is required by your state or municipality, contact your state licensing board for specific information related to the basic requirements and training needs. You may also choose to contact local security guard companies to research the licensing and training rules in your area.
Complete an Accredited Training Program
To become certified, candidates must complete a security guard training program. The hours required and the format of the classes may vary from state to state. However, most training programs include an initial 8-hour class that covers some foundational security skills. Following these eight hours, most training programs include some combination of security classes, physical training classes or on-the-job training that total approximately 40 hours.
Many people these days choose to complete their training online rather than attend an in-person course. While this is common, it is important to do your research to make sure that your training program is accredited in your state and provides the training you need to receive your license and obtain a job.
A typical security guard training program will cover a variety of topics that security guards working in most positions will need to be successful in their roles. Some of the topics and skills covered generally include:
- Power to arrest
- De-escalation tactics
- Identifying suspicious behavior
- Restraining dangerous individuals
- Understanding the laws protecting people and property
- Terrorism prevention
- Public relations and communication
- Anti-discrimination training
Other additional training may be required based on the unique requests of the security guard company that hires a candidate. Many prospective security guards who wish to fulfill certain specialized security roles may see the need to obtain additional certifications. For example, armed guards will need to acquire the proper certifications to carry and use firearms. Other security guards may deem it beneficial to become certified in CPR and other basic life-saving techniques.
Apply for Security Guard Positions
Once a candidate obtains the appropriate license for their state, they can then begin to apply for security guard positions. There are a wide variety of security jobs out there, with more and more becoming available every day. Like in any other profession, it is encouraged for new security guards to consider their ideal career path within the profession.
If there is a specific specialty that interests you, develop a plan to obtain the skills and certifications you may need for those roles. If you are considering a career in law enforcement, choose positions and educational opportunities, such as a criminal justice degree, to put yourself in the best position for success.
Start Your Career in the Security Industry
Although this is a general overview of the requirements and training needed for the majority of potential security guards, it is still important to research the standards for your state. At Off Duty Officers, we have been hiring some of the most well-trained and highly-professional security guards since 1993. We require our guards to be licensed and we provide extensive continuing education for our guards that far exceeds our competitors.
If you are considering a career as a security guard, we encourage you to do your research into the accredited training programs near you. When you are ready for a fulfilling career with one of the leaders in the field, complete our initial application on our website and one of our security specialists will review your information right away and contact you if you are the right fit.
When you need security personnel who aim higher
Call Off Duty Officers, Inc. to find out how we can serve your business.
Off Duty Officers, Inc. provides armed and unarmed, off duty law enforcement and security personnel for both short- and long-term assignments. Contact us for an instant