Security officers are often hired by contract security companies and private businesses to provide clients with a broad range of security services. This may include providing protection for people as well as properties, and may be carried out in person or via remote surveillance.
Working as a security officer can be a very satisfying career by giving individuals the opportunity to offer protection and reassurance. Here is a look at how to become a security officer.
For many roles, security companies may be seeking individuals who have related experience, such as a military or law enforcement background. However, interested parties can train for this type of role even without specific experience in the field.
Outlined below are some of the most important prerequisites for becoming a security officer:
Having A Clean Background
Security officers must undergo a pre-hire background check that looks at their criminal background as well as other records that are deemed appropriate, such as motor vehicle records and credit reports.
Possessing Good Communication Skills
Interpersonal communication skills and writing are both important components of the job; some aspiring security officers may need to complete a formal assessment of their English language skills.
Many security officers will be required to document the activities that occur during their shift, including disturbances, for clients to use to assess potential damage and to communicate with law enforcement and insurance companies as needed. In addition, an interview may be used to gauge a candidate’s communication ability.
The Right Demeanor
Many security officers will interact with the public as part of their role, which means there is a customer service element in the sense that they will be representing the work location facility to customers. This means that the right appearance and attitude are highly valued. Having an eye for detail, being able to keep calm and being able to think rationally in tense situations are also important qualities for security officers.
Being In Good Physical Shape
Working as a security officer often means standing or walking for several hours at a time. In some positions, a quick response may be needed, or officers may need to chase perpetrators on foot. Therefore, being in good physical shape overall is important. In addition, some prospective employers may specify that officers are able to lift a certain amount of weight.
Education and Training
Although graduating from high school is a typical entry-level minimum requirement for a security officer role, college coursework can be very helpful. Some employers, such as large hospitals, might favor candidates who possess an associate’s degree at a minimum.
Some of the degree options which may be useful to security officers are criminal justice certificates, degrees in public safety, criminal justice studies and criminology programs. Many universities offer these types of programs online. Although college is not always required for security officer roles, it may prove helpful for attaining a first position in the field as well as for advancement within a certain sector of the industry.
Security officers must also successfully complete training. In some states, they will be required to undergo a licensing process, and many states also mandate training in specific subjects such as the duties of a security officer and the legal limitations of their power.
For security officers who will be armed, it will be necessary to obtain an armed security officer, or a pistol permit. This will require firearms training and qualifying at a shooting range before starting the role and at regular intervals afterward. There may also be specific credentialing processes involved with using non-lethal equipment, such as batons, in certain jurisdictions.
Many security companies offer their own in-house training, but officers can also seek their own training through state-approved schools or organizations devoted to these purposes. Proactively taking courses on job related topics, such as nonviolent communication, can help a candidate stand out.
Most security officers work in the private sector where a wide variety of businesses employ security officers, including hospitals, stores, office buildings, nightclubs, banks and museums. Many security officers work for security companies which are hired by those private sector businesses. Some of the possible security officer specialties include armored car officers, gaming surveillance officers, bouncers and retail loss prevention.
Security officers who have the right skill set and experience may have the chance to advance to a position of greater authority as their career progresses. They may, for example, move up to a role in which they manage other security officers, or work on developing security policies and programs for companies.
In particular, college campuses and hospitals have very complex security needs that may require specialty roles filled by security officers who possess advanced experience.
Get In Touch With APG Security
To learn more about becoming a security officer for a respected national security provider, get in touch with American Protection Group today.