Wherever there is property or people to protect, security officer jobs usually can be found. Security officers, also called security guards, work in public buildings, for private corporations, in stores and in banks. They also can protect individuals and homes, drive and ride in armored cars and work at airports and other transportation terminals. Security officers might patrol in cars, on foot, on bicycles or on motorized scooters. Some security officer jobs require that guards stay in one place.
Security officers guard property at museums, art galleries and other public buildings. In these places, they might walk from room to room, be stationed in a particular room or guard a specific exhibit. Private companies, such as aerospace and defense contractors, for example, employ security officers to screen people entering buildings and protect company and government assets. Officers at private companies might be situated at entrances, patrol parking lots in cars, or sit in rooms surveying buildings and property by watching banks of television screens or monitors that receive live feeds from security cameras.
At department stores, shopping malls, banks and credit unions, security officers protect against potential thefts and robberies. They might notify police officers of thefts or robberies and might have to restrain suspects until officers arrive. Private or personal security officers guard private individuals and their assets. They might escort VIPs and other well-known individuals from place to place to ensure their safety. Armored car security officers transport money and valuables and protect people who are making large bank deposits.
Security officers are employed by private security agencies, by the companies and agencies they protect, by property management companies and by other organizations. Some security officers carry guns, and others are unarmed. Some might wear bulletproof vests, depending on the level of risk related to their jobs. Some wear uniforms similar to those of police officers, and other security officers dress in plain clothes.
Training and background requirements for security officers vary. A high school diploma usually is desired, especially for guards who carry guns. Many guards undergo on-the-job training. People applying for armed security officer jobs normally are required to undergo more stringent training than unarmed guards. Armed guards will undergo firearms training, use-of-force training and more.
Some employers prefer hiring security officers with police or other law-enforcement training or with degrees in criminal justice areas. Licensing is often required for security officers, and some guards receive certification as professionals in the field. ASIS International is one organization that certifies security officers.
People applying for security officer jobs often have to undergo background checks and be fingerprinted. They might also be required to take drug tests upon hiring and periodically during their employment. A driver’s license is often required for someone seeking to become a security officer.