While much of the focus in the security industry these days is virtual, plenty of businesses still require a physical security force to guard property, protect employees and patrons, and ensure a safe, productive environment. 

Depending on the type of security position you hold, you could earn anything from a decent living all the way up to a six-figure salary.

Even better, the industry is forecasted to grow in the coming years. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the need for security guards and gambling surveillance officers will increase by 15% between 2020 and 2030, and entry-level positions require only a high school diploma or equivalent. [1] 

Which jobs might suit your skill level, education, interest, and experience, and which pay the best?

1. Unarmed Security Guard

A typical entry-level, unarmed security guard position generally requires only a high school education or equivalent, and little or no experience, with training provided. This position may require patrols through a specified area, as well as guard duties centered on a building and/or grounds, a work site, or onsite materials.

In some cases, guards monitor security systems. You may be on call to respond when alarms go off, you receive reports of potential security issues, or when requests for assistance come in. If there’s a gated entrance, you may be responsible for checking IDs, screening for contraband, and operating the gates or security doors.

A basic life support (BLS) certification is often a job requirement. You will do your job without the aid of a firearm, although you may be allowed to carry non-lethal weapons such as pepper spray, mace, a baton, or a taser.

The median salary for this position is $34,290, with a salary range between $30,641 and $38,638. [2]

2. Armed Security Guard

An armed security guard fulfills many of the same duties as an unarmed guard, with caveats. Typically, this type of guard must have one to three years of experience as a security guard or specialized training and/or certification in lieu of experience.

A security guard license may be required to hold this position, along with firearms certification. Some states require specific firearms permits for armed security officers issued by a licensing and regulatory agency, so it’s best to understand the laws of your state if you intend to apply for such jobs.

The median salary for this position is $43,343, with a salary range between $38,549 and $49,372. [3]

3. Security Escort

While a security guard is tasked with the general protection of a facility against any number of potential threats, a security escort is specifically responsible for screening visitors to the premises. 

This position may require you to stand watch at a gateway (parking lot or building entry, for example) and check IDs/ID badges, conduct searches for prohibited or dangerous items, and watch for details that signal potential threats. 

You may also be required to escort guests through sensitive areas, make sure they reach their intended destinations, or escort them off the premises.

The median salary for this position is $40,634, with a salary range between $35,863 and $46,339. [4]

4. Bank Security Guard

You might not think bank robberies are common in this day and age, but according to FBI Bank Crime Statistics, there were a total of 1,788 violations (including robberies and burglaries) in 2020. This number is down from previous years, perhaps due to pandemic-related closures. [5] In short, bank security guards are still a necessity.

This position has many of the same requirements as a regular security guard, except that duties are conducted in and around the bank building. The position may be armed or unarmed, and guards are often required to maintain a high-visibility position as a means of deterring criminal or other inappropriate activity. 

Patrols and monitoring of security systems may be included, depending on the overall security presence needed.

The median salary for this position is $44,725, with a salary range between $39,965 and $50,395. [6]

5. Security Guard Team Leader

For facilities that employ a security force, a team leader is put in charge to supervise guards and take responsibility for their activities and the overall security of the premises. In this job, you’re responsible for managing shift schedules to ensure coverage, assigning positions and duties to team members, and overseeing guard activities.

Team leaders may also be responsible for training team members and keeping them up-to-date with laws, standards, policies, procedures, and security-related events. Response, investigation, coordination with authorities, logging, and reporting duties also fall to the security guard team leader. 

This position typically requires a minimum of two years of experience, as well as knowledge of team processes.

The median salary for this position is $54,104, with a salary range between $45,888 and $64,307. [7]

6. Security Patrol Supervisor

Coordinated security patrols aren’t uncommon in large corporate office buildings, industrial work sites, and even commercial complexes and residential communities. A team of patrol officers, either on foot or in patrol vehicles, requires the coordination and oversight of a security patrol supervisor.

In this position, you will be responsible for overseeing patrol activity, often via communications and surveillance systems, and you’ll have to schedule shifts and assign patrol duties. Training, team updates, incident and emergency response, and assisting with investigations are all part of the job, as are documenting and reporting. 

Security patrol supervisors are generally responsible for the safety of facilities, grounds, property, employees, and visitors. Experience of two or more years and knowledge of team processes are typically required.

The median salary for this position is $54,200, with a salary range between $45,900 and $64,400. [8]

7. Director of Casino Security

Because of the on-site cash flow and the high risk of criminal activity, casinos tend to have particularly expansive security forces with several layers of protection and access, overseen by the director of casino security. 

In this position, you’re in charge of overall security, including the safety of guests, management of security systems and staff, and protection of the facility and its assets.

The director of casino security might be called upon to provide strategic security planning input, and may even help formulate a security budget. Duties also require this director-level position to step in as security incidents escalate. 

The job typically calls for three or more years of security management experience and a bachelor’s degree with a security-related specialization.

The median salary for this position is $87,700, with a salary range between $63,700 and $114,400. [9]

References:

[1] https://www.bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/security-guards.htm

[2] https://www.salary.com/research/salary/benchmark/security-guard-unarmed-salary

[3] https://www.salary.com/research/salary/benchmark/security-guard-armed-salary

[4] https://www.salary.com/research/salary/hiring/security-escort-salary

[5] https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/violent-crime/bank-robbery/bank-crime-reports

[6] https://www.salary.com/research/salary/posting/bank-security-guard-salary

[7] https://www.salary.com/research/salary/benchmark/security-supervisor-salary

[8] https://www.salary.com/research/salary/alternate/security-patrol-supervisor-salary

[9] https://www.salary.com/research/salary/alternate/director-of-casino-security-salary

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