security guard career pathways

You’re considering becoming a security guard. You’ve done your research, looked into training and education programs, job openings in your area. But you’re still not sure what you can do as a security guard. Are there different careers available or is it just that - security guard? Generally, a security guard or security officer watches for and attempts to deter crimes or danger, as well as protect the people or property they’re guarding. That’s a pretty basic definition of the job, but there are a few different paths your career as a security guard can take. Depending on where your path leads, you may find yourself expanding the definition of what a security guard does on an average day! Check out some of the different places you can work as a security guard and start mapping out your career.

  • Public and Private Property. As a security guard, your main goal is to watch and protect the persons or property you’re responsible for. Through your career, you may find yourself working at malls, banks, stores, businesses, libraries, or schools. Your duties would include checking the identification of guests to a school, for example, or patrolling the different areas of the mall to make sure things are going well. You’ll be expected to be observant at all times, as well as having a firm understanding of what your limitations are in certain situations. You may also find yourself working in more sedentary positions, such as a guard desk or gate where you’re responsible for controlling who leaves and enters a building or property.
  • Casino Security. If you’re looking to have a more exciting career in the security field, working for a casino might be the path you take! Casino security guards, or gaming surveillance officers, work specifically with security as related to the gaming industry. As a guard in these positions, you’ll be responsible for monitoring audio and video of the casino floor, generally from an observation room. You may also find yourself walking the casino floor in plainclothes to monitor the games and players. Your main duty to your employer is to ensure that no cheating or theft is occurring during play, which can seriously harm the business and revenue of the casino. Unlike a general security guard, you won’t have as many options to explore when looking for a job in this field. Though casinos are certainly not limited to places like Las Vegas or Atlantic City, they can be more difficult to find in other areas and may not have open positions available.
  • Executive Security Jobs. More “glamorous” than other career paths available to trained security guards, working in executive security can be another exciting option. Guards in this field typically provide protection for CEOs, politicians, and celebrities who are high profile. You may work for a security company that hires guards out to these clients or you may find yourself reporting directly to the person you’re protecting. Though you may have more interesting work stories as an executive security guard, this career path is generally more difficult to find your way to without years of experience and training.

No matter what your career endgame is in the security field, training is a must. Most positions will require candidates to have, at minimum, a high school diploma. Furthering your education in the criminal justice or security fields can make you a more desirable hire for open positions. Once hired, you’ll go through on-the-job training with other guards or by shadowing someone more experienced. Depending on where you work, you may also be asked to obtain certain licenses, certifications, and background checks. Ultimately, wherever you decide to go with your career, you’ll be the person others look to for guidance and protection in uncertain circumstances. If the responsibility of protecting others sounds like an exciting career, look into affordable security guard programs! A good program can help your resume stand out among other applicants and help you start your dream job.

Security Guards and Gaming Surveillance Officers | Bureau of Labor Statistics