While we might go to a place like the Mall of America and poke fun at a person that reminds us of Paul Blart, Mall Cop, patrolling the floors and stores, or while we might not notice airport security or the person providing security at the latest rock concert as a law enforcement representative, the reality is, today's security officer is a vital part of our homeland security and safety.
While they aren't investigating for the CIA, FBI or DEA, security officers do their job the best they can to protect us from crime, terrorism, violence, theft, burglary and other illicit activity that allows us to go about our daily business.
In fact, security officers are kind of like referees or umpires - you don't really notice them until there is a problem.
Because of an increased need for security, qualified workers are in demand. It's not just the mall cop either! There are many industries that need and always recruit security personnel, including:
- Construction Sites
- Resorts & Hotels
- Theme Parks
- Retail Stores
- Department of Homeland Security
- Music Concerts
- Condominium Complexes
- and the list goes on!
Good - real good. The need for security officers is at an all-time high as the threat of terrorism, vandalism, crime or burglary is at its peak. Security officers work in malls, at retail stores, schools, sporting events, rock concerts, major airports, casinos and resorts, among other places. Businesses see the need to protect their customers and business and security guard/officers are at the forefront.
Education & Training Overview
While these positions don't require formal training (Associate's Degree, Bachelor's Degree), they may require one to have a high school diploma or GED. In other cases, those who can pass a background check and prove in an interview they can do a job, may be hired. That's what is attractive to this type of profession - it provides a good opportunity for one without formal education. However, those with criminal backgrounds are likely out of luck for many security guard positions. Each position does require formal on the job training but that's actually a benefit to the job seeker who can learn on-the-job and get paid.
(It's fast and easy!)
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the ASIS International - dubbed the preeminent organization for security professionals - has written training guidelines that provide minimum standards for quality of security guard services. Among them is asking for 48 hours of training within the first 100 days of service. ASIS is also a good resource for job seekers looking for career assistance and guidance no matter what type of security they are going into.
Security jobs are also great jobs for those pursuing law enforcement careers. For example, Ron Boyden worked in retail security for Best Buy Corp after graduating from college and before attaining is first full-time police officer job.
According to the BLS, median wages for security guards were $23,460 as of May 2008. Those working in hospitals made around $29,020, those working in elementary or secondary schools, for local government, in airports and for investigation services made between 22,170 to just under $28,000. In addition, those mall security jobs that made Paul Blart famous, pay about $25,000-$30,000 per year.
Security officer jobs offer flexible shifts, with many companies hiring security guards/officers for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week work. This is also a good job for someone looking for part-time work, nights or weekend work. It's a good second job, or a good job for someone pursuing other work and looking to make decent money and get hours. Working as a security guard is also a good training ground for someone looking to move into a career in law enforcement or Homeland Security, for example. This job will get you out from behind a desk, but it can also put you in risky or compromising situations. Security guards do need to be able to work well in tricky situations and in reality, do face real-life situations similar to those working in law enforcement.