If you are keen on safety and security this job could be perfect for you. Security officers make sure that buildings, valuables or people are safe and secure. They help prevent theft and damage. They also deal with emergencies.
You don’t need academic qualifications to start work as a security officer but a good standard of general education will be helpful. You will need a Security Industry Authority licence for most jobs.
A security officer needs to be mature and responsible. It will also help if you’re a polite and helpful person.
As a security officer, you could work for all kinds of organisations. Your role could vary depending on the industry you work in, and could include:
• patrolling, securing and monitoring premises, sometimes helped by closed circuit television (CCTV)
• guarding cash or other valuables in a security vehicle that is travelling between locations (in transit)
• airport security - searching aircraft, passengers and luggage, and guarding the airport boundaries
• supervising on the door for a large organisation.
Employers range from large organisations to small, local, private security companies. It is important to look for a well-respected company that will give you training, and reasonable pay and conditions.
With experience, you could progress to senior or chief security officer, then supervisor. With additional qualifications you could go into security management or training, or set up your own security company.
You do not usually need academic qualifications to start work as a security officer but a good standard of general education would be helpful. Previous experience of working in the police or armed forces could also be useful.
Employers will carry out checks on your personal and work history going back up to ten years, and you will need to let them know about any criminal convictions.
If you are employed by an agency (or contractor) that provides contract security services to clients, you will need a Security Industry Authority (SIA) front line licence. To qualify for this you must:
• be aged 18 or over
• pass identity and criminal record checks
• complete relevant approved SIA training.
You can take an approved SIA course at a college or training centre before applying for work. See the Training and development section for details about approved training, and visit the SIA website for more details about licensing.
• SIA - Licensing
If you are carrying out in-house security duties for your employer on premises managed and operated by your employer, you do not need an SIA licence.
You may be able to do this job through an Apprenticeship scheme. You will need to check which schemes are available in your area. To find out more, visit the Apprenticeships website.
As a new security officer or guard, you will receive induction training and supervision from your employer. You may be given the opportunity to take SIA approved training to gain your SIA licence if you do not already have recognised security qualifications.
Security Industry Authority (SIA) licence
The SIA approved training is made up of three parts, with a test for each part, and usually takes up to 26 hours spread over a number of days. It includes units on:
• security procedures, responsibilities and the law
• fire safety
• diffusing conflict
• communication skills
• personal safety.
Starting salaries can be between 720000 and 900000 a year. Experienced security officers can earn around 1200000 a year.
Figures are intended as a guideline only.