Security Guard: Job Description, Duties and Salary
A security guard, a type of public safety officer, surveys assigned areas or properties for illegal activities, suspicious behavior or dangerous situations. Whether armed or unarmed, they provide an authoritative presence while promoting safety and order. Security guard salaries vary depending on the employer, the risks they face on the job and their level of experience.
Security Guard Job Description
Security guards monitor and protect property against criminal activity and damage. These guards may work at schools, hospitals and banks, along with such commercial properties as shopping centers, casinos and sports venues, power plants and transportation hubs. They monitor the flow of people and employees and respond in emergency situations.
Although some are stationed at desks or in gatehouses, others may patrol on foot or in vehicles, so security guards can benefit from being physically fit. Employers generally look for observant, detail-oriented individuals who aren't easily distracted and can identify threats quickly. Active listening also helps in the field, so security guards can identify complaints and receive information on questionable activity.
Job Duties of Security Guards
In order to adequately protect people and property, security guards must know and enforce rules and regulations to prevent criminal activity before it happens. They may monitor points of access in a building or property to allow entry only to individuals with the correct identification or authorization. In some situations, such as public events or crowded areas, they walk amongst visitors to promote order and provide a visible presence that deters safety issues.
If working after hours, they may maintain surveillance of a property by patrolling the grounds or using closed-circuit monitoring or alarm systems. They'll investigate and report signs of damage or unlawful entry as it occurs. Such issues require that they contact authorities and make written or verbal reports to law enforcement. In emergency situations, they may provide first aid or assistance and alert first responders. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) high-risk facilities often require ongoing training as well as the use of firearms (www.bls.gov).
Salary and Job Outlook for Security Guards
In May 2010, the BLS reported that security guards earned an average salary of $26,870. The BLS also noted that investigative and security services accounted for approximately 74% of security guard positions during this time, and security guards in that industry had an average salary of $25,010. Armed security officers, who need licensure to carry weapons, tend to receive higher wages and have increased advancement potential.
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