- On average, security guards make $21,530 a year
- A high school education is preferred but not always required
- Some security guard jobs can be dangerous
What do security guards do?
Does going undercover to nab bad guys sound like a dream job to you? Then you might be surprised to learn that you can score a job catching thieves, terrorists and arsonists - and you don't even have to be a police officer.
Security guards are hired by businesses, casinos, hospitals, stores, banks, nuclear power plants and other organizations to help deter illegal activities. You might be watching a bank of TV monitors all night, looking for suspicious activity. Or you might be stationed at a building's front door, checking IDs and greeting people who walk in. As a security guard you'll need to know the law, know your employer's rules and be able to enforce both.
Most companies hire security personnel to work around the clock, making this a great part-time job with flexible hours . In fact, many law enforcement officials work as security guards during their time off. Having law enforcement experience can come in handy, as security guards have to interact with police officers, interview witnesses and sometimes even testify in court.
There are some downsides to having a security guard job . It can be dangerous work, especially for armored car guards. The threat of being robbed or worse is all too real for most security guards. This is why many security guards receive firearm, hand-to-hand combat and emergency response training. Also, in some instances, security guards are instructed to let petty shoplifters go - a fact that might not sit well with the law-abiding side of your personality.
How much do security guards make?
Surprisingly, armored car guards make only $20,000 a year, even though their jobs are considered dangerous. On average, medical hospital guards and elementary and secondary school guards make the most, taking home more than $26,000 a year.
What are the education requirements to be a security guard?
A high school education is usually preferred but not required if you want to be a security guard. You'll get a lot of on-the-job training, especially if you're going to be a guard at a nuclear power facility. Nuclear power facility guards undergo several months of training before going on duty, especially with the increased threat of terrorism. Most other guards receive much less training. Even though a degree is not required, different security guard jobs still may require specific certifications.
Career paths for security guards
The best way to advance as a security guard is to receive additional training. Those with certifications in fields like gaming security or an associate's degree in criminal justice usually get paid more and promoted faster. The more you learn about security, the easier it will be for you to enter management or start your own security business, a common choice for many security guards.
The future of security guard jobs
Safety and the threat of terrorism are growing concerns for many companies, and as a result, job prospects look good for those of you wanting to become security guards. According to the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), the number of available security jobs will increase faster than average over the next few years. Gaming security jobs in casinos will see the largest jump - but in order to score one of these jobs, you're going to have training and experience.
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