Being a Security Officer in a shopping centre or mall can be incredibly rewarding, and there is a lot more than meets the eye when it comes to the ins and outs of this job. Working in the retail and shopping mall security vertical requires a significant amount of training and education. Not only will you be safeguarding the public, but you will also be able to take pride in working as an essential part of local law enforcement. To many who have never been into the field, it is easy to misunderstand certain parts of the job or even myths they wish they knew before they applied.
You might have asked yourself, is there an easy way to land a security job? Is it a hard job? The answer to these questions depends on the company that hires you, your qualifications and experience, the location of the job and many other factors. In this article, we will answer all these questions and more by providing information that will help you find work as a Mall Security Officer.
This blog will cover:
- Training & Certifications
- Steps to Get There
- What do Security Officers do in malls?
- The Misconceptions
- How Much Money do Mall Officers Make?
- Things to Know Before Applying
Training & Certifications
There are many reasons why properly and thoroughly training Security Officers is critical to the success of a mall security program. Proper training empowers Officers, supports effective operations, and ensures program success.
There are numerous courses, certifications, and training opportunities for retail Security Officers. Some of these are mandated by the company, some are required by contracts, some are recommended to support development, and some are advanced and designed to address specific challenges/environments. Check out How to Become a Security Officer for more information.
- Valid security license
- Background check
- BST (Basic Standard Training)
- Basic First Aid – OFA 1
- Customer Service Training, De-escalation, Slip and Fall training / Liability Reduction
- Non-violent critical intervention (NVCI)
- Retail crime & loss prevention
- Mental health first aid
- Counterterrorism Information Officer (CTIO)
- Situational Awareness Specialist (SAS)
- Edge weapons defense
- Incident Command System
- Incident Management System
- Emergency Operations Centre
- Crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED)
PalAmerican has earned a national reputation as the leading training organization within the security industry, and it is because of our training experts that we have earned such a prestigious title. Our company-paid training goes beyond current industry standards, ensuring that Security Officers are ready to perform with the tools and confidence they need to succeed in their field. Our security professionals can take advantage of specialized training courses for their specific site as well as sharpen their skills, knowledge, and abilities to meet a career goal in protection services.
Steps to Get There
Retail shopping centres present a unique challenge with endless opportunities to grow. With millions of visitors per year, they are essentially scaled-down representations of the regions and communities. Here is a list of good-to-haves that will help you be a top Mall Security Officer and stand out in the industry:
- Friendly customer service experience
- Strong people skills. The job involves constant interactions with the public, tenants, clients, and other contractors
- Excellent verbal communication skills for de-escalation and working within a team
- Exceptional drive for helping the public and making a difference.
- Good writing skills – many reports/logs and audits are completed on a daily basis
- Must be able to walk 10-20km per shift
- Should be proficient with basic computer and keyboarding skills
- Aim for career growth. The security industry is known to provide quick progression through the ranks
At PalAmerican, we believe that the best way to create a strong team is through employee development and career ownership. Through our promotion-from-within philosophy, an employee can plot their own career path within our organization. This is a very simple yet powerful asset. With our coaching programs and mentorships, our employees can move up the ranks within PalAmerican and take their security careers to the next level.
What do Mall Security Officers do?
The primary function of a Mall Security Officer is to provide the highest level of security and customer service possible. Their most important goal is to keep the property, its tenants, visitors, and employees safe and free from harm. That said, there is also a wide range of multifaceted roles when it comes to mall security. The duties performed while on shift vary depending upon the specific needs of client sites. These duties may include:
- Customer service
- Access control
- Loss prevention
- Liability reduction (identifying and reporting hazards like wet floors & trip hazards, burnt out lights)
- Enforcement of rules and regulations (no loitering, skateboards, soliciting, panhandling, etc.)
- Monitoring of CCTV equipment, fire panels, and alarm response
- Responding to calls for assistance from tenants and the public
- Liaison with emergency services (Police, Ambulance and Fire)
- Emergency management (evacuations and shelter)
- Lost and found, lost persons, vehicle assistance (dead batteries, finding patrons’ vehicles)
- Traffic control
If you are looking to pursue a career in Law enforcement, the duties and responsibilities of working as a Mall Security Officer will give you relevant and excellent experience to help you make that transition and boost your policing application. Be sure to listen to Episode 10 of our Difference Makers podcast on How to Transition from Security into Law Enforcement.
Movies and TV shows can often influence how we think or view the world, and the Security industry is certainly no exception. Thanks to Hollywood, there are a bunch of misconceptions out there about being a Mall Security Officer and what it’s really like to work in the industry…no offence to Paul Blart: Mall Cop.
Here, we break down three of the most common misconceptions about working as a Mall Security Officer and bust the myths:
- Malls are public spaces – Some people think shopping centres are public places. They are actually deemed private property, and security acts as an agent of the owner. As such, Security Officers have the right to arrest for any criminal offence.
- Security guards at malls are not trained: Probably one of the biggest misconceptions about the security industry is that Officers have no fundamental skills and don’t do much, or are just “sleeping on the job”. This couldn’t be further from the truth! As we just mentioned in the “Training” section, mall Security Officers are highly trained and have to be alert all the time since they deal with emergency situations regularly. They go through extensive courses to gain the knowledge and skills to execute a successful security program for their site.
- Mall Security Officers are all men: While it is a male-dominated industry, you might be surprised to know that there is a huge demand throughout the industry for female Security Officers, from frontline operations to senior management. At PalAmerican, we celebrate diversity and inclusion and take pride in showcasing the fantastic stories of many women in security.
How Much Money do Mall Security Officers Make?
Wages for a Mall Security Officer vary but range depending on the size, scope of the property, and responsibility of the position. Getting into the larger shopping centres with the higher wages can be competitive as they require higher profile individuals.
While all industries have a growth trajectory, the security industry has an incredibly steep rate of growth that can quickly reward those who are open to learning and willing to work hard. While some professions may require you to stay in an entry-level field position for two to five years, one year of field experience can often qualify someone to be a Supervisor, and two years can qualify someone for entry-level management. As an Officer moves up the ranks, they must apply and be interviewed by the Supervisor, Client Service Manager and potentially the client.
Things to Know Before Applying
- To work as a Mall Security Officer and be successful, you need excellent people skills and a willingness to help and engage with the public.
- If an individual is an introvert or very shy, working at a shopping centre might not be an ideal place for them.
- Although there are daily routines and job requirements, no two days are alike. You never know what will happen, and you need to be ready to respond to any security situation that may arise.
As a Mall Security Officer, you will learn new things every day, so take those opportunities to grow. Be professional, put your best foot forward, and be enthusiastic about your work because it makes a difference, and people will notice when you put in good work. This will help you go far whether you want to stay within the security industry or go into law enforcement. It's important to feel good about the work that you're doing because it is important.
At PalAmerican, we stand out because of our people-first approach and our empathy-led security model. We want to make the world a safer and friendlier place and to do that, we go above and beyond as one of the top leading providers of security services.
If you are interested in starting a meaningful career in security and making a difference in your community, check out our careers page for all our opportunities within PalAmerican. There are endless opportunities available to create your own career path within a champion culture in a booming industry. We would love to see you grow with The PalAmerican Family.