How to Become a Security Guard

There are lots of people who aspire to become security guards. For many who consider the profession a noble career choice – the desire to get involved in the field may have stemmed from watching TV shows such as X-Files every weeknight, or a movie like “Mirrors” with Kiefer Sutherland starring as an NYPD detective-turned-security guard. Starting a career in this particular field can be very rewarding in many different ways. From a financial standpoint security guards, also known as security officers, can make a very competitive salary with great retirement benefits, designed to attract and retain employees. And we’re not mentioning here future possibilities with lucrative private security firms. That said however, before fully committing yourself to such a career, which requires one to have excellent conflict-resolution skills and a general interest in protection, you should ask yourself honest questions to see if the job is right for you. Keep in mind, this is not an easy career, or a career without risks. The primary objective of a security guard is to deter criminal activity on the premise they are working.

To get an idea of what’s involved ; here is a short description of the job itself:

  • First, the main requirement for security guards, whose moto is detect, deter, observe and report, in almost all of the states is the SG license (also known as the ‘Guard Card’). While each state has its own guidelines for licenses, most require the applicant to be at least 18 years of age, a high school graduate or equivalency certification holder, be a United States citizen or resident alien, pass a background check, complete an 8-hour training course by an approved instructor, and successfully pass a drug test according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • A security guard may be armed or unarmed depending on the area in which they work (the armed security guard is required to have a higher amount of training than the unarmed security guard, since they will be armed with a weapon. This due to the fact this applicant will have a greater insurance risk and have more responsibilities. Armed guards usually enjoy higher earnings, greater job security, and more potential for advancement).
  • A security guard patrols designated areas to prevent and detect signs of intrusion.
  • Monitors and guards premises to prevent theft, violence, or infractions of rules.
  • Escorts individuals to specified locations and provide personal protection.
  • Observes and reports incidents at an assigned site.
  • Assists in emergency situations if needed.
  • Provides security and safety of assigned property and personnel, while making sure to be visible and keeping a noticeable presence.
  • Preserves order and may act to enforce regulations.
  • Answer alarms and investigate disturbances.
  • Write reports of daily activities and irregularities. Every violation should be reported and documented, regardless of how small it may seem.
  • Call police or fire departments in cases of emergency, such as fire or presence of unauthorized persons.
  • In cases of evidence of crime — sometimes you may be the only thing standing in the way of a crime — it is the security guard’s duty to call the proper authorities.

As you can see, the security guard job is not for everyone. It’s a job that means you have to be willing to be the tough guy (or gal), all the time, and it’s a job that needs a good deal a dedication from an individual. However, if you think this is the right career for you, which in many cases it is because its demands and rewards still attract many quality applicants, the next step will be to realize that the requirements to become a security guard differ from state to state. Some states require training before their prospective security guards can apply for a license, while others don’t require any special training and you can apply right away.

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