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Occupation Profile
Security Guards

What do they do?

Guard, patrol, or monitor premises to prevent theft, violence, or infractions of rules. May operate x-ray and metal detector equipment.
Typical interests of people in this field:
Conventional, Enterprising, Realistic

What does this information tell me?

This description can give you a quick overview of what you might do if you worked in this job.

“Typical interests of people in this field” shows the main types of interests related to this occupation, based on categories from the Interest Assessment. You’ll see one, two, or three “interest types” that are strongest for the occupation.

You can read more about these interest types and learn more about your own interests by taking the Interest Assessment.

You can use this information to see if this career might be a good match for what you are interested in and like to do. 

What is the source of this information?

The occupation description and the related interests come from O*NET OnLine’s Occupation Information.

Also known as

  • Security Supervisor
  • Campus Security Officer
  • Safety and Security Officer
  • Custom Protection Officer
  • Security Officer
  • Loss Prevention Officer
  • Security Guard
  • Hotel Security Officer
  • Security Agent
  • Customer Service Security Officer

What does this information tell me?

This is a list of other names for the occupation you selected. Sometimes different employers, industries, or parts of the country use different names for the same career.

You can use these names as substitutes for the career name when you’re looking for more information online or searching for job postings.

What is the source of this information?

These alternate titles come from O*NET OnLine’s Occupation Information.

Career video

Transcript:Whether employed by museums, military bases, or casinos, security guards and gaming surveillance officers observe and patrol operations to maintain order and protect property against theft, vandalism, and illegal activity. Security guards enforce rules on a property, and deter criminal activity, either by walking the facility and grounds to conduct security checks, or monitoring surveillance cameras and alarms. They guard merchandise in retail stores… students and facilities at universities and schools… verify visitor IDs and keep facilities safe at factories, office buildings, hospitals, and military bases. At sporting events and concerts, guards control crowds and direct traffic… while at bars they may collect cover charges and check IDs. At casinos, gaming surveillance officers and gaming investigators watch video monitors fed by hidden cameras to check for cheating and theft —by either employees or patrons. They notify security staff when they spot any potential trouble. Security and surveillance work calls for either many hours sitting in front of screens, or long shifts spent standing or patrolling. It can be routine work…. until a problem arises when it can become hazardous. Work schedules typically include nights and weekends. Most positions require a high school diploma or equivalent. Experience with video surveillance is helpful. Security guards may need to register with the state, especially if they carry a firearm. Drug testing is common, before and during employment.
View transcript

What does this information tell me?

This career video gives more information about the career you selected.

You can view the complete video script by clicking “View Transcript” above.

This video is one of hundreds of downloadable career videos in CareerOneStop’s Video Library.

What is the source of this information?

These career videos were produced by CareerOneStop (newer videos) or by a national video consortium, which includes many state workforce agencies. Data and information the videos are from the Occupational Outlook Handbook and O*NET OnLine’s Occupation Information.

How much does it pay?

Hourly wages for Security Guards in United States


Wage Chart for Occupation
$11.85 $18.24


Wage Chart legend for lowest 25 percent
  One out of four earn less than $11.85
Wage Chart legend for middle 50 percent
  Half earn between $11.85 and $18.24
Wage Chart legend for highest 25 percent
  One out of four earn more than $18.24



What does this information tell me?

This chart shows you a range of how much most workers in this occupation earn per hour, in the location that you selected.

The lower rate on the left shows what 25 percent of all workers in this field earn less than, and 75 percent earn more than. If you are just starting out, you can assume you might make closer to this amount than the higher amount, although this is not necessarily a “starting wage.” Often workers with more experience and training earn wages at the higher end.

You can learn more about wages for this and other occupations by clicking “See more wages” above.

What is the source of this information?

The wage information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics Program, a semi-annual survey that provides wage and employment statistics for the nation, each state, and sub-state regions.

Will there be jobs?

Image. Employment outlook for this occupation
New job opportunities are very likely in the future.

This occupation is:
  • Projected to have a large number of job openings


What does this information tell me?

Outlook information can tell you whether a career is expected to be in demand in the future—that is, whether there are likely to be job openings if you choose this career. Careers can have one of three outlooks:

  • A Bright outlook means new job opportunities are very likely in the future
  • An Average outlook means that a small number of new job opportunities are likely in the future (less than an 8 percent increase)
  • A Below average outlook means new job opportunities are less likely in the future

You can also view local job listings in this field by clicking "Find job openings" above. This can help you see if local businesses are hiring—another way of looking at demand.

What is the source of this information?

This information comes from O*NET’s Bright Outlook occupations. It is only available at a national level, so even if you selected a state, you’ll only see this information for the whole country.

How much education do you need?

Typical education needed for entry: High school diploma or equivalent
Chart. Percent of workers in this field by education level attained

What does this information tell me?

There are two pieces of information here:

  • The first sentence tells you the typical level of education that you would need to start in this career. You can use this to see if you have, or want to get, the education level usually needed for this career.
  • The chart shows you the range of education levels that people who currently work in this field have. You can use this to see if you fit in this range.

Note that these two may be different since the chart includes ALL people who work in this field and not just those getting started.

For example, sometimes career requirements change. People already in the field may not be required to have the higher level of education that new workers need.

You can search for programs that lead to the education needed for this career in your local area, by clicking “Find local training” above.

What is the source of this information?

These data come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections: Education and training assignments by detailed occupation, 2018; and Educational attainment for workers 25 years and older by detailed occupation, 2016–17.

What you might do in a day
  • Block physical access to restricted areas.
  • Investigate illegal or suspicious activities.
  • Respond to emergencies to provide assistance.
  • Monitor access or flow of people to prevent problems.
  • Write operational reports.
  • Lock doors and gates of entrances and exits to secure buildings.
  • Answer alarms and investigate disturbances.
  • Monitor and authorize entrance and departure of employees, visitors, and other persons to guard against theft and maintain security of premises.
  • Write reports of daily activities and irregularities, such as equipment or property damage, theft, presence of unauthorized persons, or unusual occurrences.
  • Patrol industrial or commercial premises to prevent and detect signs of intrusion and ensure security of doors, windows, and gates.

What does this information tell me?

This is a list of typical tasks that people in this career might do on the job.  You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

Click on “More tasks” to see more detailed examples of activities for this career.

You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these tasks to use on your resume.

What is the source of this information?

This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. The first five items on the list are O*NET’s Detailed Work Activities. The second five, shown after you click “More tasks,” are O*NET‘s Tasks.