Security Officer


The number of security officers is expected to grow 14 percent—faster than average—through 2018.
 
Concern about crime, vandalism and terrorism continues to increase the need for security. Demand for guards also will grow as private security firms increasingly perform duties—such as providing security at public events and in residential neighborhoods—that were formerly handled by police officers. Jobs for gaming surveillance officers will increase if more states legalize casino gambling.
In 2008, security officers earned an average salary greater than $23,460. The middle 50 percent earned $19,150 to $30,100. The highest 10 percent earned more than $39,360. Gaming surveillance officers earned an average of more than $28,850, with the highest 10 percent bringing in more than $48,310
Security guards, also called security officers, patrol and inspect property to protect against fire, theft, vandalism and terrorism. Security guards are either “static” (in one location for a long period of time) or “mobile” (patrolling or walking from one location to another).
 
Security officers’ responsibilities vary with the size, type and location of the employer. Employers include departments stores; shopping center and theater parking lots; buildings, banks and hospitals; air, sea and rail terminals; museums or art galleries; factories, laboratories and government buildings; universities, parks and sports stadiums; and bars and nightclubs.
 
Armored car guards protect money and valuables during transit, and gaming surveillance officers act as security agents for casino managers and patrons.Most security guards and gaming surveillance officers spend considerable time on their feet, work shifts of 8 hours or longer for 40 hours per week, and are often on call in case of an emergency.
There are no specific education requirements for security guards, but employers prefer to fill armed guard positions with people who have some college experience. Degrees in criminal justice, law, psychology and homeland security are very popular. Gaming or casino surveillance officers need education beyond high school. There are bachelor's degrees and certificates available online in casino and gaming management.
 
Licensing:
Most states require guards to be licensed. For licensing, individuals must be at least 18 years old, pass a background check and complete training in such subjects as property rights, emergency procedures and detention of suspected criminals. Drug testing is often required and may be ongoing. Guards who carry weapons must be licensed by the appropriate governmental authority.{{ad67}}
 
Entering the Field:
You will be subject to background, criminal record and fingerprint checks. You will be expected to have good character and no police record. An associate or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or an allied security field will mean better pay and greater job security.
 
Career Changers:
A significant number of law enforcement officers work as security guards when they are off-duty to supplement their incomes. Many gaming surveillance officers have had other work experience in the casino industry.
 

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