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Security Guard Officer

Career Overview

Security guards, also called security officers, protect their employer's property against fire, theft, vandalism, violence, or other illegal activity. Security guards act as  de facto' law enforcement personnel on the property they are hired to protect, although security guards are rarely armed and are trained to call police in when the threat warrants it.

Security guards work at a stationary post, or patrol an area on foot or in a vehicle. Often they monitor remote cameras and motion detectors. Security officers write shift reports providing descriptions of any activity out of the ordinary on the site. In the event of a major incident they may interview witnesses or victims, prepare case reports, and testify in court.


There are certification and diploma courses available for individuals who want to become security guards. Certification is worthwhile when applying for work with a security agency, where most employees have no formal training. An educational background in security is also important for positions that require armed guards, and therefore licensure.

Current Employment

Security and gaming guards held over one million jobs in 2006. Half of these were jobs with special service companies for event security, armored cars, and firms that supply investigation and security services.

Job Outlook

Strong growth is projected for jobs in the security sector. Security guards are now seen as mandatory in many situations where security was once optional. Office buildings, hospitals and public gatherings of all sizes are likely to have security personnel present. It is much cheaper to hire a security firm than off-duty police officers for a one-time occurrence.

Salary Range

Lowest 10%  $7.63  $15,880
Median Salary  $10.85  $22,570
Highest 10%  $18.20  $37,850

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