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Security Officer

Career Overview

Security officers are charged with patrolling and inspecting the property they have been hired to protect. Their surveillance should prevent vandalism, theft or attempts to harm people entering and leaving the building. Most security officers are unarmed, although most wear uniforms to reinforce their role as an official agent of the property.

If critical situations develop they contact the policed or fire department through the use of telephone or radio. Security officers are also expected to write daily (or nightly) reports on their activities and observations. Most work for a private firm that contracts security services to building owners or corporate occupants.


Security officers are required to have a high school diploma by most security agencies. The addition of a diploma, certification or associates degree that is security oriented is a definite plus, especially when an agency is looking for a crew supervisor. There are associates degrees available in security management.

Current Employment

There were over one million security officers working in this country in 2006. Over half of them were employed by contract agencies, including armored car companies. Many building management firms hire for and operate their own security operation, which may extend into parking areas along with a building's interior and immediate exterior.

Job Outlook

The job opportunities for security officers will grow faster than the overall pace of job growth among all categories. Security is an increasingly important issue for businesses with large facilities as well as for public buildings and recreational areas.

Salary Range

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

Source: U.S. Department of Labor

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