Security Guards work for a Security Agency that gets hired by third parties to protect and guard their assets (e.g. property, people, equipment, or money). They can be armed or unarmed and use specialized equipment and tactics to do their job. Security Guards use various types of equipment to do their job (e.g. video cameras, motion sensors, alarms, and lethal or non-lethal weapons, always in compliance with regulations). The level of security required and the means to protect an asset will depend on the client’s profile and what they are intending to protect.
Security Guards are often stationed guarding private and public institutions, private property, and residences. Many companies hire the services of specialized Security Agencies to protect their assets. However, some companies are big enough to have their own security staff. The grand majority of Security Guards wear uniforms to properly identify themselves and the agency they work for, as well as to create a sense of authority.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Security Guards are required to complete.
- Preventing theft, vandalism, and trespassing of private property:
- Watching over a specified location to prevent any type of misconduct;
- patrolling the area looking for suspicious behaviours; and
- observing the area through video cameras and Closed-Circuit Television systems.
- Writing entries into a security log:
- Reporting all events that happened during their shift; and
- reviewing past log entries to stay updated with events.
- Scheduling shifts and patrols:
- Providing 24-hour protection when necessary; and
- scheduling random patrols to reduce predictability.
- Watching over visitors and people passing by:
- Reporting any unusual activities;
- escorting people outside the premises when necessary;
- detaining offenders; and
- calling local law enforcement or other authorities.
- Granting access to restricted areas to authorized people:
- Verifying visitor’s IDs and credentials when necessary.
- Escorting assets (e.g. money or other valuables) when they’re being transferred from one place to another:
- Driving armored cars when necessary;
- planning routes; and
- taking evasive actions when necessary.
- Being of assistance during emergencies (e.g. fires, earthquakes, and crimes) and providing first aid to people as required.
- Handling security equipment and weapons when necessary:
- Using monitoring systems, such as alarms, video cameras, and motion sensors;
- using non-lethal weapons (e.g. batons, pepper sprays, and Tasers);
- using lethal weapons (e.g. handguns and shotguns).
- Reviewing previous log entries.
- Monitoring the area using video cameras.
- Patrolling the area and looking out for suspicious activities.
- Granting access to restricted areas to authorized personnel and visitors.
- Escorting people outside the premises when necessary.
- Detaining offenders and calling law enforcement when necessary.
- Writing new entries into the log reporting any irregularities.
- Escorting valuables when necessary.
- Providing assistance during emergencies.
The average Security Guard salary is $28,655 per year or $15 per hour. This is around 0.9 times less than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $20,000 while most experienced workers make up to $40,000. These results are based on 1,407 salaries extracted from job descriptions.
- Outstanding physical condition:
- Having excellent health;
- being in great shape;
- possessing acute senses of vision and hearing; and
- having high levels of stamina.
- Exceptional weapon skills:
- Being proficient in the use of non-lethal and lethal weapons.
- Highly analytical:
- Possessing strong observational skills, being able to assess different situations and to identify possible threats.
- Strong communication skills:
- Reporting client’s activities and whereabouts; and
- reporting suspicious activities to teammates.
- Excellent decision-making and stress managing skills:
- Assessing chaotic and dangerous situations;
- sticking to security measures and contingency plans; and
- staying calm during stressful situations.
- Good driving skills:
- Driving armored vehicles;
- taking evasive actions when needed; and
- having an understanding of basic mechanics.
Security Guards are often hired by private security agencies or by government agencies to provide protection to assets or properties. Many private and governmental agencies only require a high school diploma to apply, although for clients with higher profiles and more valuable assets to protect, agencies require aspirants to possess a college or university diploma in Law Enforcement, Security, or Police Technology to apply due to the level of complexity and risks involved in the job.
In most countries, including Canada, Security Guards must adhere to special regulations established by the government. The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS) regulates all private and public security affairs.
Training is provided in many agencies and specialized schools although the curriculum is regulated by the MCSCS and it is them who issue Security Guards Licences, which are necessary to work in the Security industry in all ten provinces and three territories of Canada. Proper licencing is also necessary for Security Guards carrying firearms. The requirements and issuing for a Firearm licence will vary according to the laws and regulations of each province and territory. All applicants are also required to undergo an extensive background check and provide good references; having a clean criminal record is essential to this. Possessing some form of background in Law Enforcement or military bodies can increase the chances for aspirants.
Many security agencies, both private and governmental, tend to prefer hiring people with a specific body type that is considered best suited for the job. Tall, muscular, and with a somewhat intimidating, yet presentable, look are some of the physical characteristics often sought by agencies.
Depending on the profile of the client and the assets they want to protect, Security Guards are sometimes expected to be in life-threatening situations. It is crucial that they are aware of the risks involved in the job and be willing to commit to their job to the point of putting their lives on the line to protect their client’s assets.