How to get hired as a security guard

Do you have the qualities you need to be a security guard?One of the many careers you can pursue with a criminal justice degree is that of being a security guard. The job itself takes many forms, from patrolling property to providing personal protection or corporate security. In general, security guards are expected to protect people and valuables from danger, whether that be fire, theft or vandalism. If this all sounds appealing and you think becoming a security guard is the right career path for you, you’ll needed to possess these qualities in order to get hired:

Education

Although some jobs may not have education requirements, generally you will need a high school diploma or GED to become a security guard. Most employers hiring security guards prefer applicants who have earned an associate degree in criminal justice because it indicates that they’ve had the training that will give them the knowledge and skills necessary to be good at the job. Licensing requirements vary by state, and that information can be found on each individual state’s government website.1

Strength

Although chances are that you will spend much of your time patrolling and may never have to confront an intruder, interviewers will be looking to hire individuals who possess the physical strength to confront and handle intruders in an emergency situation. This is not to say that women cannot be security guards, but being physically fit can be a definite plus.2

Confidence

When interviewing for a job as a security guard, it’s important to express confidence in your knowledge and skills. However, be careful not to cross the line into cockiness. When you enter the interview, make eye contact and give a firm handshake. Remember the training you received while earning your associate degree in criminal justice, and relate your answers to the interviewer’s questions back to your personal experiences.3

Honesty and integrity

Security guards are entrusted with private property and the lives of the people they protect. As a result, it is imperative that they display both honesty and integrity. Future security guards may be given the opportunity to display these qualities in the form of an assessment to be taken during the application process. A background check and drug screening are also likely.4

Vigilance

Being both observant and vigilant are key qualities that employers look for in security guards. Because you’re in the protection business, you will need to have the ability to constantly be alert and ready to react to anything that appears to be out of the ordinary.5

1 Bureau of Labor Statistics, ‘How to Become a Security Guard or Gaming Surveillance Officer,’ March 29, 2012 - http://www.bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/security-guards.htm#tab-4
2 Bureau of Labor Statistics, ‘How to Become a Security Guard or Gaming Surveillance Officer,’ March 29, 2012 – http://www.bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/security-guards.htm#tab-4
3 Security Guard Training HQ, ‘5 Tips to Help You Get Hired as a Security Guard,’ 2012 – http://www.securityguardtraininghq.com/security-guard-tips/
4 U.S. News, ‘Best Social Service Jobs: Security Guard,’ 2013 – http://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/security-guard
Bureau of Labor Statistics, ‘How to Become a Security Guard or Gaming Surveillance Officer,’ March 29, 2012 – http://www.bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/security-guards.htm#tab-2