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What does a Security Officer do?

Do you have a passion for fighting crime? Want to protect people and places, while helping to maintain the safety of your community? Are you looking for a job that gets you off of your feet, away from a desk, and out and about? Consider a career as a security officer.

A variety of job options

The role of a security officer is to protect the private and/or public sector from theft, vandalism, violence, or general disturbances. A security officer may guard people or property (including money or merchandise), and may work with law enforcement or medical professionals in the wake of a crime. As a security officer, you may be employed in one of the following locations:
  • Museum
  • Bank
  • Hospital
  • Laboratory
  • Shopping mall
  • University
  • Airport
  • Factory
  • Residential building
  • Casino (known as gaming surveillance officers)
You might even be hired by a private security firm that services high-profile clients, like celebrities. These types of security jobs require discretion and, often, crowd-control.

Becoming a security officer

There are generally no education requirements to become a security officer. A certificate or degree in criminal justice or a related field may make you a more attractive candidate for higher-paying or higher-profile employment opportunities. Security officers must be alert, aware, willing to work long hours on their feet, willing to assist people in a medical emergency, willing to place themselves at a minimal-moderate degree of risk, and willing to work off-peak hours, sometimes overnight. You will also likely be subject to a background check before you are able to work for a prospective employer.

Armed security guards usually receive specialty training from their employer, and may be required to hold a firearms license. If you are hired by a casino or other entity that uses a multi-camera security system, you may undergo training that's specific to that entity's surveillance equipment.

The wages are a bit higher in some of the larger industries that employ security officers, namely banking facilities, hospitals, and local government facilities.

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