Security Guard Career Profile

Security guards are responsible for protecting property from damage and criminal activity; there is a wide variety of security guard jobs available. We tend to think about security guards as employees of malls, but security guards can be found in banks, hospitals, corporate offices. There are other facilities that also require guards like airports, train stations and power plants.


Security guards are necessary when the facility, including its property and the people inside it, need immediate protection and response to emergencies or general security issues. Security guards at different facilities will have different responsibilities, access to different tools for their work and need additional experience to handle the security needs. Each type of facility requires a guard with different levels of training and experience and salary and status for security guards will depend on the type of facility that employs them.

Education and Training

Most states require that a security guard is licensed, which means some time in the classroom and passing a test for licensure. It is also usually necessary that the applicant have no criminal record.

If a facility has high security needs, or the security of the facility is essential to public safety, there may be a preference to hire former military or law enforcement officers as security guards for these facilities. Some former military or law enforcement officers will also find it easier to find more prestigious corporate security positions. Other security positions may require no law enforcement experience, and will hire graduates of security and loss prevention programs. These programs can vary in length from ten weeks to one- to two-year community college programs.

Depending on your duties, you will probably need to have driver's license. If your duties as a security guard will include the use of a weapon on firearm, you will also have to possess an appropriate license and training to handle that weapon.

Job Description

Security guards are responsible for protecting property and the people who reside and work within that property, so they may be stationed at security desks; monitoring access points either visually or on video monitors. They may walk on patrol, usually alone, though they may have a partner, either another guard or a guard dog accompanying them. They may also patrol by vehicle, by car, truck or ATV, depending on the terrain and facility.

A security guard will be responsible for the safety of the persons in the facility, by patrolling the facility, checking badges, registering visitors and handling directional questions about the facility. The security guard's presence is supposed to deter crime against the facility and the people within it. Security guards need not be friendly, but a surly or hostile guard can still be fired for bad attitude.

Additional duties can also include using surveillance equipment, as well as cell phones, radios and computers to remain in contact with other guards to check messaging systems or databases of persons approved to access a facility. The security guard may also be called on to administer first aid or CPR in an emergency, so consider this training to be an asset.

The national average hourly wage for security guards is just over eleven dollars an hour. Most security guards work full-time, eight hour shifts, but shift workers may also work all night or on weekends.