A Bodyguard is a type of Security Guard that specializes in the protection of a person or group of people from all kinds of dangers (e.g. theft, assault, kidnapping, assassination, and harassment). The usual clients and employers of a Bodyguard are wealthy people, high-ranking government officials, and celebrities. Bodyguards generally work in groups to provide round-the-clock protection to their employers.
The amount of Bodyguards protecting a single person can vary depending on the person. Heads of states and other important government officials usually have an entire team of Bodyguards protecting them. This is known as a Security Detail and is something mainly reserved for VIPs.
The position of a Bodyguard has been romanticized by mainstream media with many people believing their role is basically fighting crowds and acting like action movie heroes. In reality, however, the tasks of a Bodyguard are much more ordinary. They rely heavily on preparation, contingency plans, and teamwork to cover all possible variables. Bodyguard teams work with tactical strategies and coordination. They work as a single unit to protect their employers by completing a series of tasks.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Bodyguards are required to complete.
- Planning daily activities and security measures for the client(s):
- Reviewing the client’s daily agenda;
- assigning tasks to each member of the team; and
- preparing security measures and contingency plans.
- Driving employers to whatever destination they may need to visit:
- Driving an armored or otherwise modified vehicles;
- being able to assess vehicle malfunctions;
- performing evasive maneuvers when necessary;
- looking after the vehicle when the employer gets off; and
- staying alert to pick up the employer when necessary.
- Escorting their client(s):
- Providing close protection to their employer;
- preventing unidentified individuals from approaching their employer;
- staying alert for possible attackers; and
- escorting their client out of a potentially dangerous area.
- Pre-checking areas where their client will be:
- Inspecting vehicles for possible explosives;
- monitoring for possible snipers; and
- detecting possible bugging in electronic devices.
- Running background checks on people that will interact with the client(s):
- Reviewing a list of all people that will interact with the client; and
- analyzing each individual’s background for possible threats.
- Taking defensive armed or unarmed actions:
- Using hand-to-hand combat training to protect the client;
- using non-lethal weapons (e.g. pepper spray, expandable batons, or Tasers) to protect the client; and
- using lethal weaponry (e.g. handguns, machine guns, or counter-sniper rifles) to protect the client.
- Monitoring the environment where the client is located:
- Staying in contact with the entire Bodyguard team;
- reporting any suspicious activity; and
- reporting the movements and whereabouts of the client.
- Reviewing the client’s daily agenda.
- Carrying out and reviewing background checks of the people interacting with the client.
- Going over security measures and contingency plans.
- Inspecting vehicles for possible bugging or explosive devices.
- Escorting clients to their vehicle.
- Driving clients to their destinations taking pre-established routes and escape routes when necessary.
- Monitoring all client activities.
- Staying alert for suspicious activities and possible threats.
- Reporting all client activities and incidents.
The average Bodyguard salary is $69,000 per year or $35 per hour. This is around 2.1 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $48,000 while most experienced workers make up to $97,000. These results are based on 1 salary 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.
- Excellent unarmed combat and defence skills:
- Being proficient in hand-to-hand combat; and
- being capable of taking defensive and evasive actions when needed.
- 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.
- Excellent driving skills:
- Driving different types of vehicles;
- taking evasive actions when needed; and
- having an understanding of basic mechanics.
- Strong communication skills:
- Reporting client’s activities and whereabouts;
- reporting suspicious activities to teammates.
- Excellent decision-making and stress management skills:
- Assessing chaotic and dangerous situations;
- sticking to security measures and contingency plans; and
- staying calm during stressful situations.
Professional Bodyguards work for specialized security agencies that assign them to different clients depending on their profiles, due to the fact that some clients require more experienced Bodyguards than others. In Canada, all professional Bodyguards and people working as part of the staff of a security agency must be properly licensed. Bodyguards can obtain their Security Guard licence in several schools and institutes around the country sanctioned by the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services , provided they meet the proper requirements.
There are no official educational requirements for acquiring the aforementioned licence other than a high school diploma. In all provinces and territories, licence applicants must be at least 18 years of age, a Canadian citizen or permanent resident with a valid working visa, and possess no criminal records. In Nova Scotia, however, Peace Officers and active members of a police service can’t apply to get a Bodyguard licence.
The Ministry requires a minimum of 40 hours of Security Guard Preparation Courses to be given in all sanctioned institutes. The amount of training and the time it may require to complete the course will vary depending on each school’s curriculum. Some aspects covered during training are, but not limited to, hand-to-hand combat, handling weapons, security tactics, training exercises and simulations, and first-aid. Once the training is completed, applicants must pass a final examination, both theoretical and practical. If the exam is passed, applicants may receive their Ministry issued licence.
Many security agencies hire applicants with extensive military or Law Enforcement backgrounds and experience, provided they are properly licensed. Aspirants with these type of previous knowledge usually have the proper training foundations, aptitudes, and skills to take on the job. Most agencies also hire Bodyguards with a certain body type, they usually prefer people that are tall and muscular, with an intimidating, yet presentable, appearance.
Depending on the profile of the client, a Bodyguard may have to take on dangerous and life-threatening situations. When working with heads of state, Bodyguards need to be fully committed to their job to the point where they might have to put their own life on the line to protect the person they’re working for.