Security guards are hired in a wide range of venues, from upscale retail stores to casinos and nightclubs. This industry offers stable employment for fewer training hours than many other professions. Because some states now require security guards to complete training before landing positions, community colleges are opening their doors to security guard training, providing state-mandated courses and licensure where applicable.
The Job of a Security Guard
According to Education-Portal.com, some of the duties of a security guard might include:
- Protecting property from arson, burglary or damage
- Contacting proper authorities (police, fire department) in the event of an emergency
- Writing reports regarding observances and occurrences during shifts
- Acting as property law enforcer
- Interviewing witnesses or victims of crimes
- Testifying in court
The job is a diverse one, based on the type of venue in which you work. For example, security guards in a retail store may remain stationary throughout their shifts, while those patrolling a larger piece of property may travel the perimeter of the property multiple times in a single shift. Some will monitor their environment using surveillance equipment from behind a desk, while others work on their feet all day.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for security guards is mostly favorable, due to the growing demand for security officers and the need to replace experienced workers who leave the occupation. More and more companies and individuals are seeing the need to protect property and possessions, and they are hiring experienced professionals to do so. These professionals are increasingly coming from private security firms, which are now hired to oversee major events, as well as health care centers like hospitals and nursing homes.
The BLS predicts job growth of 14% between 2008 and 2018, with about 152,000 new jobs over the decade. In addition to numerous full-time opportunities, many individuals are finding that the job of a security job can be done part time, thanks to a short training regimen and flexible hours. However, competition for the higher paying positions will remain fierce, which is why formal training is a good option to give applicants a competitive edge for these positions.
Most states now require security guards to hold a license, known in some areas as the "guard card," according to Education-Portal.com. To become licensed, the majority of states require applicants to:
- Have a high school diploma or GED
- Be at least 18 years old
- Pass a background check and drug test
- Complete classroom training
Classroom training is now offered at numerous community colleges across the country to prepare people for a career as a security guard.
New York Options
In 1992, the State of New York passed legislature requiring all security guards to complete mandated training and become registered in their field. To answer this call, colleges like Monroe Community College opened up a program to train qualified applicants in this field. The first course is an eight-hour pre-assignment training course completed in the classroom. Students who complete the course are issued a training certificate.
The second, 16-hour course involves on-the-job training, relevant to the security guard's specific position. This course may be held in an approved classroom setting or at an approved work site. The final eight-hour course must be completed annually to keep licensure current. It is designed to keep security guards up to date in their field and offer a refresher on basic duties and responsibilities.
The initial security guard pre-assignment training course is also available through Onondaga Community College. The college offers an online registration form and affordable tuition for those seeking work as a licensed security guard. The course is completed in a single day, so students can move into their line of work quickly and easily.
In California, security guards who work in schools must receive additional training in their field, due to legislation that was passed in 1998. Training courses are outlined at the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services, and they can be taken at training centers throughout California. Students must complete 24 hours of courses, which include The Role and Responsibility of School Security Officers, Laws and Liabilities and Disasters and Emergencies. A final exam is offered to ensure students have a good understanding of what it is like to work in a school environment.
Security guard jobs are available across the country, but proper training is a must to land the best positions. Find out the licensure requirements for security personnel in your state, and get started on a new career today.