What does a security officer do?
As a security officer, your responsibilities will include:
• Enforcing the property owner’s rules and regulations
• Regularly patrolling the property
• Responding appropriately to emergency situations
• Keeping accurate records of all of your activitiesView Roles
What is the average salary of a security officer?
Your pay as a security officer will vary according to your experience, education, and seniority. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists the median pay of security officers at $15.13 an hour or $31,470 a year. The lowest-paid security officers earn slightly more than $23,000 annually while the highest-paid officers receive more than $50,000.
Regional pay differences
The highest average pay for security work around the U.S. is in the Northeast and Northwest where $18+ an hour is usual. There are outliers, however. In North Dakota, for example, the rate of pay is 36% higher than even New York. At the other end of the spectrum is the Southeast, where many states provide pay that is 24% lower than the average.
Bonuses and overtime opportunities
Signing bonuses for security work are modest at $500 to $1,500. Full-time officers can earn overtime, payable at time and a half, while building good relationships with their supervisors as they demonstrate their dedication. At the $19 an hour that security officers make in New York, assuming full-time base hours, just two four-hour overtime shifts a week will yield more than $11,000 in extra pay each year.
Industries that hire security officers
Finance, scientific research, medical, and material storage and handling are just a few of the industries that need dedicated and well-trained security personnel. They will secure the companies’ offices, warehouses, and other places where those companies do business. The high-level managers and executives of these companies and industries also hire security officers for their private residences.
Security officer job description
The advantages of working as a security officer include the development of leadership skills, opportunities for advancement, and a sense of accomplishment for being helpful to the company or individual you serve. The professionalism and integrity that you project will earn not only the respect of colleagues but also that of the general public.
What are the responsibilities of a security officer?
There are many things you must do as a security officer. These include:
- Deterring criminals by your very presence
- Patrolling the grounds at regular intervals
- Communicating with your team in a timely and appropriate fashion
- Carrying and using a firearm safely if the job requires it
- Using your best judgment in almost all situations
What type of equipment do security officers use?
Security officers wear uniforms. Often, these are similar to those of law enforcement officers. Generally, however, they include a “security” badge. You’ll also carry a radio to stay in contact with your team. If you work nights, patrol unlit interior areas, or both, then you’ll have a flashlight. For most situations, you’ll also have a baton and be trained in how to use it. For jobs in dangerous areas where encountering criminal activity is likely, you’ll probably be issued a firearm and be trained in its use as well.
What is the work environment of a security officer?
In some jobs, you’ll spend much of your time behind a desk, watching monitors. You might also screen visitors to the building where you work. You might even escort people through sensitive areas. At other times, you’ll make regular rounds or walk through certain areas looking for signs of people needing assistance. You’ll also investigate previous events, criminal or otherwise, and based upon your findings and conclusions, take action accordingly.
Who are your colleagues as a security officer?
You will most likely work with a security supervisor. That person probably started just where you did, at the entry level, and worked his or her way up the ladder. It’s possible, too, that you will work with a law enforcement officer regarding incidents at your place of employment. As part of your duties, you will be expected to build rapport with the other employees in the building where you work. Depending on where you work, they might be HR managers or office managers, administrative assistants, coordinators, or custodial staff.
What is the work schedule of a security officer?
When you will work depends on how many other security officers the company has hired, how many buildings or other places need guarding, and whether your particular job requires you to be available for all shifts. Eight or nine hours is a typical shift length, but many times, especially if you work continental shifts as part of a team providing 24/7 coverage, you will work 12 hours at a time.
What is the career outlook for a security officer?
According to the BLS, security officer jobs will increase by a whopping 15% from now until 2030, which equals 150,000 new jobs. That’s double the rate of most other fields.
Take advantage of training opportunities
It would be a good idea to enhance your resume by taking classes in such areas as investigative techniques, surveillance, and behavioral science. The more you learn, the more employable you make yourself. You also make yourself much more likely to be promoted. You will also benefit from managerial courses if you plan to make the most of any promotion coming your way.
What are the advantages of working with Spherion as a security officer?
Spherion is one of the most well-known staffing companies in North America. Our partnerships with varying industries range far and wide, which means that you will be able to network to your heart’s content. Some of the best advantages you get with Spherion include:
- Being paid by the week instead of once every two weeks
- Shift flexibility that lets you pick the shifts that fit best with your work-life balance
- A range of jobs in your area
- The convenience of a dedicated person who helps you look for shifts and jobs
- Training opportunities of great value
What education and skills do you need as a security officer?
To become a security officer, you don’t need more than a high school diploma. Of course, you must be able to read instruction manuals, pay attention in training, and have good people skills. Continuing education will be helpful in advancing your career, but you don’t need a lot of “book smarts” to gain the job in the first place. It would also help if you had previous experience, volunteer or otherwise. Still, finding an entry-level job is not difficult in this field.
Skills & competencies
The certifications and licenses necessary to become a security officer vary by state and local jurisdiction. Usually, no specific license is required, but armed security officers must be at least 21 years of age and licensed for firearms. Security officers must never have any serious arrests or convictions on their records. CPR training is a good idea even if it is not required by your state or jurisdiction. The International Foundation for Protection Officers is a valuable resource for budding security professionals to contact to ask about possible requirements or restrictions in a certain jurisdiction. It is also smart to join the organization if you plan to make a career in security because it also provides training and certifications for its members.
Security officers are essential to keep people, buildings and their contents safe. Learn what it takes to qualify for this job with answers to these commonly asked questions about becoming a security officer.
What are the most important qualities in a security officer?
The most important qualities include honesty, integrity, and compassion. A willingness to learn and to admit that you don’t know everything is most helpful. You also need good attention to detail to complete the required paperwork for your job. Observational skills are crucial. You won’t normally have to rely on threat assessment skills, but they are equally important to add to the rest that you need for the job.
What should I put on my resume for a security officer?
Work experience, if any, is paramount. Secondary to that is your collection of education and certifications, if applicable. Awards and recognition, such as citations for bravery at a previous job, would also be quite helpful to make a great impression on prospective employers.
How long does it usually take to get promoted?
Security firms generally promote from within, even if they sometimes hire the highest-ranking personnel from outside the company. It’s tough to say how long it’ll take for you to get promoted. A lot of the time, it depends on how much continuing education you’ve completed, how you fit in with the team, and whether you're proactive in striving to resolve problems.
How do I apply for a job as a security officer?
Applying for a security officer job is simple with Spherion. Just search Spherion.com by job title and location. If there’s nothing available at the time you look, then you can submit your resume as part of an open application. Spherion will then find jobs for you that match your resume, and you can access them through your account. A Spherion employee will then reach out to you to inform you of possible jobs as a security officer in your area.