what is a security guard?

As a security guard, you protect a business or non-profit organisation from thieves, assailants, trespassers and other perpetrators. Your responsibilities as a guard vary depending on your job description. For example, if you work as a security guard (or bouncer) at a nightclub, you block entry for underage people, violent customers and anyone who may cause harm. If you work at a museum, you stand inside the building to ensure visitors don't steal or deface the artwork. You keep the mining equipment safe when you work at a mining site.

Other general responsibilities of a security guard may include inspecting packages and removing people who harass other visitors. While most security guard jobs require you to write reports, the position comes with different levels of legitimate authority. For instance, some guards monitor security cameras and intervene for signs of trouble. Some security guards call police officers, ambulances and firefighters in an emergency.

Security guards who patrol their assigned grounds might detain people who break the law. Some guards check everyone who enters a building to ensure they have valid IDs. Working as a security guard may also involve violent situations. While a museum guard doesn't often deal with violent visitors, a security guard working at a nightclub might deal with drunk or aggressive customers.

Security guards working at banks, airports, stadiums and other high-risk areas need the training to protect themselves and other visitors. Depending on your job description, you guard customers, employees, merchandise, cash or business interests, even if it means putting yourself in danger.

security guard jobs

average security guard salary

A security guard takes home an average salary of $65,000 per year. Security guards with minimal tasks or are new to the role get a remuneration package of $60,000 annually. Experience and additional expertise increase your take-home salary to over $70,000 annually. The remuneration package depends on your experience level and the complexity of your responsibilities. For instance, you are likely to earn more if you are a security guard for a building that requires top-level security.

The job requirements also affect your remuneration. For instance, security guards who are required to carry firearms need additional training and often earn more. Some states and regions have higher salaries in metro areas to reflect the cost of living, while security guards in smaller cities have a lesser wage.

Want to know more about what you will earn as a security guard? Check out what you are worth with our salary checker.

security guard jobs

types of security guards

Nearly every industry has a position for security guards. Some security guards work at arenas, stadiums and other event venues to direct parking and traffic and keep crowds under control. Some types of security guards include:

• government contract security guards: you protect and secure government buildings and employees if you are a government contract security guard. The job requires you to be highly trained to guard courthouses or military command centres.

• in-house security guards: as a security guard, you can be hired in-house by a company instead of working through a security agency. You work in various settings, from hotels and hospitals to museums and nightclubs.

• bodyguards: You are highly trained as a personal security guard assigned to protect a dignitary, celebrity or VIP. You assess threats in your surroundings and defend the person under your protection if required.

Smiling male looking away wearing yellow jacket and walkie-talkie signing where to go
Smiling male looking away wearing yellow jacket and walkie-talkie signing where to go

working as a security guard

Working as a security guard mainly involves protecting individuals or buildings. Find out more about the role by checking the duties and work schedules involved.


education and skills

You require the following qualifications to become a security guard:

• vet qualification: complete a VET course with a registered training organisation to become a security guard. You can find relevant courses for security guards, depending on the security work you are interested in. Most employers hire candidates with a Certificate II in security operations.

• security licence: the licensing requirements for security guards depending on the state you work in. You can apply for a security licence if the territory or state requires a licence. Most employers will also require a police criminal record check.

• more qualifications: to progress to high-paying security roles, improve your security risk management qualifications or receive additional firearms training.

security guard skills and competencies

Some of the qualities of a security guard include the following:

• observational skills: as a security guard, a significant part of your work day is to observe your surroundings for suspicious activities. It is important to be alert and focused to notice changes in your surroundings. Your excellent observational skills help you detect irregularities and determine the right action.

• honesty and integrity: you are responsible for securing valuable properties, so honesty and trustworthiness are crucial when protecting your employer's property.

• teamwork skills: as a security guard, you work in teams during shifts and practical cooperation is required. You also need interpersonal skills to communicate with other team members.

• communication skills: as a security guard, you require exceptional communication skills as the organisation's public face. Your job involves greeting visitors and directing them courteously.


FAQs about working as a security guard

Here, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the security guard profession.

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