How to Become a Security Officer

Projected Job Growth: 18%
Projected Employment Change: 200,200

These types of officers conduct surveillance and patrol property to keep it safe from the dangers of theft, vandalism, fire, terrorism, and other types of illegal activities. Their duties may include, but are not limited to, enforcing laws on property, controlling access to property, monitoring alarms and surveillance cameras, conducting security checks, detaining violators, and interviewing witnesses. As indicated in the above projections, provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment in this occupation is expected to increase just about as fast as average for all occupations, although it is still among the faster-growing careers in the field.

Why Security?

Security officers have the option of working in a variety of environments, including hospitals, hotels, museums or art galleries, government buildings, airports, sports stadiums, and more. Naturally, it is a good career for those who want options when it comes to work environments. It is also a good career for those hoping to find opportunities for advancement. Security officers can advance to position as supervisors or security managers. Those who have completed postsecondary education, such as on campus or online college degree programs, or have been licensed to carry weapons may have better job opportunities. The demand for security officers will come as a result of growing concerns about criminal acts, vandalism, and terrorism, according to the BLS. The demand is particularly expected to be strong in the private sector, as private security firms begin to take over some duties once done only by police officers. Security officers who conduct TSA screening will also be in demand as transportation security remains an area of concern.

Getting Into Security

Those who wish to pursue a career in security may benefit from course work in criminal justice or police science from a postsecondary school. Many accredited online degree programs offer courses and programs in these types of majors as well as ones that specifically focus on security guards. Majors within this area cover topics like crime and criminology, policing, criminal investigation, supervision, victimology, and more. Those who are already working in the field but wish to advance may want to look into online degree programs in criminal justice. Having a degree can help you become a more attractive job candidate for higher-level positions. In addition, the majority of states require security guards to be licensed. While these requirements may vary from state to state, generally one must be at least 18 years of age, complete specialized training, and pass a background check. Guards who wish to carry weapons must be issued a license by the appropriate government authority. Certification is another way one can prove their expertise in the security field, such as the Certified Protection Professional certificate available from ASIS International.