With the US currently accounting for 26% of the $244 billion global private contract security market and expected to grow an additional 5% by 2019, a security career promises stability and opportunity for advancement. As of 2024, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there will be 1.15 million individuals employed as security guards with median pay of nearly $12/hour or $24,680 per year.
These professionals play a critical part in the economy by protecting property against theft, vandalism, terrorism, and other illegal activity. Security personnel work across many industries and in diverse settings such as schools, casinos, public buildings, retail stores, and office buildings, among others. If this sounds like the right career path for you, read on to learn more about a few security jobs to target such as armored car driver, loss prevention specialist, surveillance officer, and patrol guard.
Median wage: $12.43 per hour/$34,654 annually
Education required: HS diploma or GED
If you’ve lived in a bustling city or suburb, odds are you’ve seen an armored car driving down the road or making a collection. It’s one of the more visible security jobs, easy to identify by the big, hulking vehicles they use to transport cash, sensitive/confidential files, and other items from one location to another. In addition to protecting these valuables in transit, drivers and guards are also in charge of loading/unloading the armored car as well as maintaining necessary tracking documentation. Working for an armored car company requires strong attention and strict adherence to the processes and protocols that mitigate the potential for robberies.
While there is an element of danger involved with working as an armored car driver or guard, the position usually follows set hours due to the fact that most clients are retail establishments open during the day. Armored car drivers and guards must also be physically fit, as the role requires a fair amount of heavy lifting. Although public interaction isn’t a large part of their responsibilities, a knack for customer service is still a plus because they must deal with clients while picking up items for transfer.
Median wage: $16 per hour/$48,307 annually
Education required: Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or related field (relevant experience and professional training may replace formal education)
Loss prevention specialists are critical members of retail security teams and go by many names: loss prevention manager, loss prevention officer, or loss prevention agent, just to name a few. However, the main duties for each of these security jobs are essentially the same. Loss prevention specialists are dedicated to minimizing “shrink,” which is the disappearance of inventory due to theft, fraud, accident, or abuse. Culprits could be customers, visitors, employees, or partners, so loss prevention specialists must always be vigilant and continuously search for new retail security strategies to safeguard inventory.
There are a number of tools used by loss prevention specialists to mitigate external and internal sources of shrink, including security alarms, access control systems, and closed circuit television (CCTV)/video monitors. Loss prevention specialists must also have exceptional investigative skills, a keen eye for detail, and the ability to conduct interviews and communicate with coworkers, subordinates, and law enforcement partners.
Median wage: $14.99 per hour/$31,170 annually
Education required: HS diploma or GED (associate’s or bachelor’s degrees are often preferred and specialized equipment training is attractive to many employers)
Surveillance officers are often employed by hotels and casinos to complement their physical security teams. These employees spend a majority of their time in the hotel/casino security office watching multiple CCTV and video feeds for suspicious activities. In addition to monitoring the actions of customers, employees, vendors/contractors, and visitors, surveillance officers may also be tapped to conduct investigations into allegations of wrongdoing, noncompliance, or corporate policy violations.
As far as security jobs are concerned, surveillance officers have a very low level of danger. However, these hotel and casino security team members must be able to quickly respond to perilous situations, show sound judgment, and display wide-ranging knowledge of all applicable laws. Background checks for these positions often include a thorough financial investigation to confirm that a candidate will not be susceptible to bribery attempts.
Median wage: $11.84 per hour/$24,630 annually
Education required: HS diploma or GED (associate’s degree preferred)
Patrol guards work on the front lines to provide protection for companies, organizations, and commercial properties. Their primary responsibility is to patrol the premises on foot or in a vehicle to observe and report any suspicious or dangerous activity. Patrol guards may also be tasked with monitoring and authorizing a building or parking lot’s entrance/exit point. These personnel are also charged with confronting persons who may be in violation of laws, rules, or policies and resolving situations before they escalate and pose the threat of danger.
Because they may be required to subdue individuals or provide emergency assistance, patrol guards should be in good physical condition. They must also exercise proper judgment and display a calm demeanor even in highly stressful situations. While not always required for these security jobs, a previous background in customer service will come in handy, as patrol guards deal with the public on a daily basis and often serve as a key company/organization representative and the first person to interact with visitors.
Interested in launching your security career? Search for security jobs on iHireSecurity and find wide-ranging openings including armored car driver, loss prevention manager, surveillance officer, patrol guard, and more!
US Bureau of Labor Statistics – Gaming Surveillance Officers and Gaming Investigators