Security guards patrol and inspect property against fire, theft, vandalism, terrorism, and illegal activity. They monitor people and buildings in an effort to prevent crime. Guards must remain alert, looking for anything out of the ordinary throughout their shift. In an emergency, guards may call for assistance from police, fire, or ambulance services. Some security guards may be armed.
A security guard’s job responsibilities vary from one employer to another. In retail stores, guards protect people, records, merchandise, money, and equipment. They may work with undercover store detectives to prevent theft by customers or employees, detain shoplifting suspects until the police arrive, or patrol parking lots. In office buildings, banks, hotels, and hospitals, guards maintain order and protect the organization’s customers, staff, and property. Guards who work in museums or art galleries protect paintings and exhibits by watching people and inspecting packages entering and leaving the building. In factories, government buildings, and military bases, security guards protect information and products and check the credentials of people and vehicles entering and leaving the premises. Guards working at universities, in parks, and at sports stadiums do crowd control, supervise parking and seating, and direct traffic. Security guards stationed at the entrance to bars and nightclubs keep under-age people from entering, collect cover charges at the door, and maintain order among customers. Guards who work as transportation security screeners protect people, transportation equipment, and freight at airports, train stations, and other transportation facilities.TCC programs that are right for you:Criminal Justice and Public Safety programs
Security guards work in a wide variety of environments, including public buildings, retail stores, and office buildings. Guards who serve as transportation security screeners work in air, sea, and rail terminals and other transportation facilities. Most security guards officers spend considerable time on their feet, either assigned to a specific post or patrolling buildings and grounds. Some may sit for long hours behind a counter or in a guardhouse at the entrance to a gated facility or community. Guards who work during the day may have a great deal of contact with other employees and the public. Although the work can be routine, it can also be hazardous, particularly when an altercation occurs. Security guards provide surveillance around the clock by working shifts of 8 hours or longer with rotating schedules.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of security guards is expected to grow by 19 percent from 2010 to 2020, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Security guards will be needed to protect both people and property. This occupation is expected to add 195,000, a large number of jobs, over the 2010–2020 decade. Concern about crime, vandalism, and terrorism continue to increase the need for security. Demand should be strong in the private sector as private security firms take over some of the work police officers used to do.
For information on wages, visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Career information courtesy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook.