Job description

A security guard is someone who is primarily hired by a private company or a public agency to protect its employees, property, money and equipment from burglaries, unsafe worker behaviour, trespassing, vandalism, external damages and other illegal activity.


    • Monitor security cameras installed around the premises
    • Perform routine patrols to ensure everything is safe and secure
    • Investigate any alarms, incidents or activities that are out of the ordinary
    • Request visitors to sign in and sign out, and hand out identification cards
    • Contact the local authorities should a party commit a criminal act or refuse to exit the building
    • Ensure that employees do not carry in or take away prohibited or forbidden articles
    • Maintain order in the event of a terrorist attack, natural disaster or five-alarm fire
    • Receive phone calls and transfer the caller to the appropriate line
    • Walk employees, visitors or residents to their vehicles
    • Accept and sign for packages sent directly to the property

Skills and qualities

Customer service
Attention to detail
Good judgment

Job outlook

Projected growth
The projected growth rate of employment in the US from 2016 to 2026, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme. The national average growth rate for all professions is 7%.


New jobs
The number of jobs projected to become available in the US between 2016 and 2026, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme.


Automation risk


Career progression

Security guards cannot expect to advance very far in this field. There are exceptions to the rule, such as if you work for a large security company and get promoted to management, or if you gain enough experience, then you can start your own private security business. That said, a lot of security guards are in the same role for many years. Moreover, because of automation and advanced security apparatuses, there is less of a need for security specialists.

Working conditions

Average hours

40h/ week

Typical schedule

Shift Work

8, 10 or 12-hour shifts

A security guard can work at all hours of the day and any day of the week. They can work full time, part time, contract (seasonal), and weekends and holidays. Most will work eight-hour shifts five days a week.

Depending on their employment, security guards will work indoors and outdoors in any weather. They might stand guard. or they might be able to be seated during their shift.

It should be noted that sometimes the work can be dangerous or hazardous. For example, a security guard at a bank or on a construction site might be a bit riskier than a security guard at a clothing shop or a furniture outlet.


Bottom 10%




Top 10%


Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.

Qualifications and training

Education level

High school

No education requirements for some jobs

Study time


Security guards are only required to have a high school diploma or GED. There are some employers who would prefer to hire applicants with a degree in criminal justice.

For the most part, security guards must only be 18 years of age or older, have a clean criminal record and pass a pre-employment drug test. In some jurisdictions, a security guard needs to complete courses.

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 2, 2022

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