Security Officer Job Description, Duties, Salary, and More
When it comes to finding the right career path, it can be difficult to find the right focus. You’ll need to examine your personal strengths, interests, and characteristics. And if you’ve got the desire to help people, and help people feel safe where they work or live, you may be the very person for the role of security officer.
If you’re not sure if a job like security would be good for you, take a look at the security officer job description, salary information, and other information below to help you decide.
What is a Security Officer?
Security officers are men and women who have been employed by a company, organization, or building to keep secure the building, offices, employees, and property on the premises. This means that security personnel are employed to protect and enforce the laws on the employer’s property, detain any criminals that have been caught on the premises, and keep logs of information for security information.
Security guards typically patrol buildings and grounds during their work hours, whether this shift is at night, midday, or early morning. This patrolling helps to ensure the security and safety of persons and property in the area. This helps to prevent theft, vandalism, and other crimes from being committed on the premises.
Security officers are also considered surveillance officers, able to observe, and deal with all areas of security, including dealing with possible perpetrators who have entered the premises on false pretenses.
Security officers also help to secure the safety and sense of security for employees who make work in unusual circumstances, off-hours, or other circumstances when someone may need an escort for security reasons.
Other Job Titles for Security Officers
As you’re looking for the right position, you may notice these other job titles assigned to that of a security officer:
- Security guard
- Armed security officer – requires additional training and certifications
- Armed security guard – requires additional training and certifications
- Security personnel
Duties and Responsibilities of a Security Officer
Some of the responsibilities of a security guard, no matter the company or location, will include these following basics:
- Maintain a safe and secure environment for customers, employees, guests, and others on the premises.
- Patrol, on foot, the grounds or buildings on a semi-regular schedule.
- Maintain detailed logs of visitor, contractor, and/or employee entry and exit from the building.
- Monitor and authorize entry of vehicles to a property.
- Remove trespassers from the area.
- Secure exits, elevators, and windows at the end of operations.
- Check surveillance cameras regularly to identify anomalies and disruptions to operations or identify unlawful acts.
- Respond to alarms by investigating and assessing situations when they have been triggered.
There are, of course, many other responsibilities that may be more detailed or more specific to a given company or agency.
What Does a Security Officer Not Do?
Security officers are just that: security personnel. They are not police officers, they do not have legal authority to make arrests, and they do not carry guns in most security situations.
With proper certification, some companies, such as financial institutions, may require their officers to be armed, but generally speaking, security officers carry flashlights or clubs, pepper spray, or other non-lethal weapons instead.
Qualifications for Security Officers
To meet the needs of the responsibilities and duties of the position of a security job, there are certain skills and qualifications that enable an officer to actually perform duties.
Age Requirements: 18 Years Old or Older
For a number of reasons, including liability, security officers must be at least 18-years-old, the legal age of adulthood. This enables companies to be certain there won’t be any legal labor issues.
Security officers don’t just spend their entire shifts sitting in chairs watching security screens. They must be able to file incident reports, patrol and make notes of unusual events, as well as just standard reports. Therefore, written communication skills are vital for all securities officers.
Verbal communication skills are also necessary for security officers. Officers must report over walkie-talkies, communicate with visitors, supervisors, co-workers, and many others throughout their job.
If they cannot communicate security risk information correctly, give instructions to guests, or give proper verbal response to questions from superiors on information and risks, security can be compromised for everyone.
While security officer positions aren’t nearly as demanding as police officers and fire fighter positions, there are still basic fitness requirements in most cases, for a security officer.
Most officers must patrol on foot, must be able to pursue minor security risks, and usually must be able to do a certain level of medium to heavy load lifting.
Strong Interpersonal Skills
Because of the nature of this kind of position, security officers need strong interpersonal skills. They often have to deal with visitors, guests, co-workers, superiors, and even those who may pose a security threat.
Being able to deal with different personalities and levels of authority can make all the difference in successfully defusing sticky situations or assisting someone.
Security officers may have some significant downtime on their hands, which means they may get a break to read during their overnight shift, or they may have requirements for doing additional work like administrative tasks related to their position.
Security guards must also be able to pay attention to various things going on at one time, such the present environment, screens showing other areas that they secure, and often deal with people at the same time as making these observations.
Complex Instruction Following
One of the many things required for security officers is following multiples sets of complex instructions. These can include everything from dealing with security systems, and data collection, among others.
Other Basic Skills That Must be Met by Security Officers
As in all positions, additional skills and abilities are requires of securities officers across the board, including:
- Solid, on-your-feet judgment
- Capability of dealing with uncertainty
- Surveillance skills
- Safety management
- Reporting skills
- Knowledge of security operations and procedures – which often are given during training for a given job
- Emotional control
- Knowledge of basic security and fire inspection procedures
- Objectivity in decision making
Many companies will also require:
- Proven experience as a security officer in past for 2 to 5 years
- Knowledge of legal guidelines regarding security and public safety
- Tech-savvy skills and experience with surveillance systems
- First-aid training
- Self-defense training
- Certification or registration as a security officer
Education and Training for Security Officers
Except in specific companies, most security officers need only a minimum of a high school diploma or G.E.D. type equivalent. Some companies may require more education, and some companies or security agencies may require special certification or licensing.
Many companies do not require armed security guards, and these will be the positions that typically require fewer trained skills. However, if computer education, and specific security training will nearly always benefit anyone seeking to work in the security field.
Where Can Security Officers Work?
Typical types of companies who hire security officers include a wide range of businesses, ranging from college campuses to banks. Some of the most common places you might work as a security officer may include:
- College campuses
- Private college dormitories
- Event venues
- Concert halls and theaters
- Retail stores
- Office buildings
- Businesses who work in sensitive materials
- Financial institutes
- Government buildings
- Military bases
- Bars and nightclubs
- Transportation companies
- Theme and amusement parks
- Medical facilities
- Museums and art galleries
Salary of a Security Officer
The findings on Glassdoor reveals that security guards on average receive a salary of $31,120 per year in the United States. The lower end average is $24,000 per year, while the high end pay for a security guard is typically closer to $44,000 per year.
That’s a fairly significant difference in pay – some $20,000 annually. These differences can be assumed to be so widely differing because of things like types of companies the officers work for, the cities in which they work, and other such factors that vary the cost of living and level of security qualifications required.
If you wish to work in this line of work, and wish to receive the higher end salary, you would do well to receive certifications and licenses, like for armed security positions, and apply for jobs with higher end companies, rather than small, local organizations or agencies.
The specific security officer job description may also be responsible for the variance in salary, as some positions are more intense, or possibly more dangerous than others.
Finding the Right Position as a Security Officer
If you’re interested in helping people, and genuinely want to make a career of it, you may wish to consider the career path of a security officer. Security guards are required to secure locations, ensure the safety of visitors and workers, and usually patrol the grounds on foot to ensure these things.
The role of a security officer may be the right fit for you if you’re an introvert and wish to work nights. For introverts interested in the field, looking into daytime positions with heavily trafficked buildings, such as government buildings, financial institutions, and hotels, may well be the right choice.
Either way, this security officer job description should help you to understand whether or not this kind of position would be good for you.