Security Guards Protect and Enforce the Law
Security guards and surveillance officers protect property, maintain security and enforce regulations and standards of conduct.
As a security guard, you may work in banks, hotels, hospitals, retail stores, restaurants, bars and schools, or for building-management companies and governments. Gaming surveillance officers work exclusively in casinos and other legal gaming facilities.
You will greatly benefit from earning a degree in criminal justice or security management if you aspire to any of the higher-paying jobs. While some people can get jobs without a formal degree, a security guard education is preferred by many of the top security firms.
While there are no academic requirements to become a security guard, a 2-year associate's degree program or a 1-to-2 semester certificate program in a criminal justice-related area is helpful if you want to be a security guard or surveillance officer, or be promoted to a managerial position.
And you'll have an easier time finding a job with some formal security guard education.
Here are just some of the types of education a security guard may undertake:
- Surveillance officers receive schooling in a casino-like atmosphere using surveillance camera equipment.
- Armed guards receive formal schooling in areas such as weapons retention (keeping your weapon safe during a physical attack), self defense and the laws covering the use of force.
- Security guards employed by the federal government must have some experience in the occupation, pass a written examination, and pass firearms and first aid tests to be certified by the U.S. General Services Administration.
Security Guard Certification and Licensing
Most states require that security guards be licensed. Requirements vary widely but in most states, applicants must be at least 18 years old, pass a background check and a drug test, and complete security guard classes in such subjects as property rights, emergency procedures and detention of suspected criminals.