Becoming a Security Officer can be a fulfilling and rewarding career. It plays into so many different strengths that it could be a great fit for many. Do you have excellent customer service skills or love solving problems? How about working in healthcare or at an educational institution? These are just some of the aspects of being a Security Officer.
But while there is likely a lot the average person wouldn’t know would be included in the job description, there are also many misconceptions about the gig too. One of the most common thoughts when thinking about a Security Guard or Officer is how one was portrayed in the movie, Paul Blart: Mall Cop, where the main character road around on a Segway trying to enforce the rules. Many also think of bouncers or overnight watchmen who are portrayed to be walking around jiggling doorknobs. While yes, Security Officers work to keep malls and venues safe, their responsibilities are much different than what is often depicted. Read on to find out more about what Security Guard requirements often include.
As a Security Officer, you are in charge of protecting the property and keeping people safe. Being visible at all times is an important part of the job, as is staying alert. You don’t want to put your guard down, so to speak, while on the clock. You always want to be patrolling and looking for potential risk factors or opportunities to prevent incidents. Acting fast to manage situations and having the ability to maintain order during large gatherings or events are also on the list of responsibilities.
For most organizations now, security is their first responder in their emergency plans. Consider a fire, flood, violent person, or some sort of external or internal disaster: it’s the officer who will be providing the first level of response.
But there’s more to the job than just that. Security Officers often deal with the public, so they need to have strong customer service skills. It’s also important to be able to sustain effective relationships with clients.
Other basic responsibilities include:
- Investigation of alarms and emergencies
- De-escalation of crisis situations
- Providing support to emergency personnel, including police and fire
- Writing clear and detailed incident reports
- Providing first aid when needed
While these are just a few examples of what being a Security Officer entails, there are a few other responsibilities that are important not to overlook:
- Be a punctual and dedicated worker – Security is about reliability, and if you are late or don’t show up, that puts your team in a bind and could even result in a dangerous situation.
- Keep your uniform clean and your look tidy – Security is usually one of the first things the public sees when entering a facility. Your uniform was created to be easily found, so making sure it’s clean and properly worn goes a long way in not only looking professional but feeling good as well. One more tip: shine your shoes!
Various Verticals of Work
There are a number of areas you could be tasked with providing security for. With each vertical, the tasks, and training, are different. At PalAmerican Security, we work with the client to curate a program to match their specific needs, meaning, no two sites have the same requirements. Read on to find out more about what each vertical may include.
Office & Commercial
When providing office security, strong customer service has to be at the forefront. It’s about building rapport with tenants that you see regularly while also providing strong safety and security. When working office security, tasks could include:
- Concierge services
- Mobile and operations center support
- After-hours issues/maintenance support
- Special event security
- Fire safety
Retail security is all about improving guest experience and reducing risks. Customer services skills are in high demand in this position as much of it has to do with dealing with the public. When providing security for a retail space, it’s important to have the proper training as you’ll likely have to deal with all sorts of situations, varying from crisis intervention to mental health issues.
Security at a healthcare facility has a goal of creating a safe culture for patients, visitors, and employees. This includes tasks such as:
- High-risk patient watch services and programs
- Emergency Department security
- Workplace violence prevention
- Parking management
- Healthcare security consulting
Find out more about what it takes to be a Healthcare Security Officer in this blog.
College and University
Campus security is similar to retail where customer service and reducing risk are top of mind. The focus for campus security also includes:
- Roving patrols including bike and mobile
- Event support
- Drug and bomb detection
- Role in special security issues (active shooter, campus violence)
- Security for open-structured buildings & parking lots
- Student misconduct
- Campus property and trespasser threats
Safety and security are key concerns for any Oil, Gas, Petrochemical, or Industrial business. Security in this vertical is highly complex and requires significant training for Security Officers. It also involves the following:
- Safety protocol enforcement
- Access control and site regulation enforcement
- Advanced first aid response
Training ranges from company to company, but at PalAmerican Security, we offer industry-leading training to help our officers be prepared for their role and site location. The following pertains to the training PalAmerican Security offers:
- Superior Security Guard Training Programs
Our Security Officers receive training that far exceeds current industry standards. After they master the fundamentals of patrolling, emergency response, legal and fire safety procedures, PalAmerican then provides additional hours of advanced vertical and site-specific training to ensure they are ready to perform as soon as they arrive at your location.
- Pre-Deployment Security Guard Training
Once a Security Officer is assigned to your site, the training and education does not stop. Changes in the environment, physical plant, and personnel are all under constant scrutiny and consideration. Upgrades, advancements and continual learning are elements of our protection model, and we are constantly growing our Employee Resource Center with new programs and video courses as new information becomes available.
- Site-Specific Security Guard Training
At PalAmerican, we start off with a more capable Security Officer because of our thorough 12-step selection process. We then supplement the initial training by ensuring that Security Officers are familiar with your site and all its complexities. By taking part in detailed orientation and training sessions that are tailored to your specific site, Security Officers are equipped with the knowledge and tools required to excel at your location.
- Continuous Development
Continuing education is the basis of a highly skilled security team. By ensuring that ongoing training is a prerequisite for advancement and a nod to the ever-changing environment, we enable our people to expand their skills and build on their strengths. This results in a more knowledgeable individual for our team and a more capable officer for our clients.
Like training, requirements differ at each company. Here are the basic requirements for becoming a Security Officer:
- Age: Must be 19 years of age or older.
- Citizenship: Must be a United States citizen.
- Education: Must be a high school graduate with a high school diploma. A bachelor’s degree in a relevant field such as criminal justice is encouraged but not mandatory.
- Valid driver’s license: All candidates must have a valid driver’s license. You must not have any repeat traffic violations, as this may hinder your chances and will be uncovered during the driving history check of a background investigation.
- Affidavit of Application: Applicants must fill out an Affidavit of Applicant Form and submit it to their hiring Criminal Justice Employing Agency.
In order to work as a Security Officer, you’ll need to have a license. If you don’t have one prior to applying, some companies will pay for the cost.
Interested in starting your career in security? Check out our careers page and read more about how to become a Security Guard here.