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What Do You Need to Do to Become a Security Guard?

Are you alert and honest? Do you have protective instincts? Maybe you've even thought about a career in law enforcement. Don't worry. You don't need to attend the police academy to serve and protect people and property. If you become a security guard, you can do both.

As a security guard or security officer, you could work in a variety of settings like retail stores, banks, university campuses, offices, public buildings and more.

Requirements to Become a Security Guard

Providing security services to protect people and property is a big responsibility. Just what will be required of you will depend on where you work. For private security, some companies offer training programs and have very strict guidelines about what you'll do and how you need to act and dress. If you work for the U.S. government, you'd need to adhere to the standard procedures and requirements for all government contractors set out in the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual.

But as a general rule, you'll need a high school diploma or its equivalent and some professional training to work in the security industry. Other requirements might include:

  • 18 years or older
  • Background check
  • Fingerprint
  • Physical fitness test
  • Basic security training
  • Report writing
  • Patrol tactics
  • Investigation techniques
  • Emergency procedures
  • Armed guard training
  • State license

You may also need additional training depending on the type of security work you will do. And as you gain more experience in your career, you will need to take periodic training to stay up to date on practices, techniques, and technology.

What to Expect Working as a Security Guard

Your job will be to monitor the building and grounds to keep it safe. You'll need to always be on the lookout for anything suspicious or off. Is there a door that's open that should always be locked? Is outside equipment out of place? Paying attention to these details is important.

You may also need to stop an illegal activity as it happens. You may even need to apprehend an individual and contact authorities. For example, if working at a shopping mall, you will be expected to detain any suspected shoplifters. You need to be ready and equipped for these types of situations, always remaining calm and professional.

You'll also need to complete paperwork at the end of your shift. These will include reports on daily activities that occur while you're on duty, as well as incident reports. During your training, you will be taught how to complete these reports and what details they will need to include.

Security Guard Skills and Responsibilities

Here are some skills you'll need:

  • Awareness and interest in the law and regulations
  • Commitment to customer and public service
  • Fast and critical thinker
  • Calm and capable during dangerous or emergency scenarios
  • Capable of working alone and as a team member
  • Good written and verbal communication abilities

If you think the role of a security guard sounds like the kind of job you could be proud of, consider the Criminal Justice & First Response program at YTI Career Institute's training facility. You could complete our hands-on program in as little as 21-month program and earn your Associate in Specialized Business degree.

Learn more now. Call our Lancaster campus today at: 717-295-1100.

Program lengths vary. Not all programs available at all locations. Job placement not guaranteed. Financial aid is available to students who qualify.