Security Guard Qualifications
A high school diploma or equivalent is generally the minimum educational qualification for a security guard position. A high school education is usually sufficient for any unarmed security guard position; however, employers often prefer applicants to have some additional criminal justice coursework or training for armed positions. For higher profile positions, a degree in police science or criminal justice may be required. Some vocational and community colleges also offer coursework specifically geared towards a career as a security guard. It is common for employers to provide new hires with instruction before starting them on the job. Training may include emergency procedures, detention of suspects, self-defense, and communication skills. Most states require security guards to be licensed. Though licensing qualifications vary by state, you will typically have to pass a background check and complete some classroom training.
Honesty and integrity are important qualifications for any security guard. You will be entrusted with confidential information and the protection of valuable equipment. Security guards should be alert and aware of their surrounds and able to make quick, decisive decisions on the best course of action. Successful security guards also possess strong communication skills. You will need to be able to speak clearly and effectively to suspected criminals, law officers, and the general public. You should also have the physical strength to handle emergency situations and subdue possible offenders.
Experience in the military, criminal justice, or law enforcement can be a great benefit to anyone looking to become a security guard. While experience certainly can help you get a job in security, it is often not a qualification for entry level positions. An experienced security guard may be able to advance into a position as a security supervisor or manager.
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