How to Become a Private Security

Private security is a fast growing career area with various opportunities for employment. Private security guards provide protection to individuals and private businesses. Security guards may personally monitor the events taking place in a particular area or use a wide assortment of electronic surveillance devices in order to insure the safety and security of individuals, property, and businesses. Security guards can be commonly found working for department stores, hospitals and banks. Some private security guards work directly for individuals or business organizations, while others work for privately owned security services which contract them out to various businesses and organizations.

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The educational background and other qualifying characteristics required of private security personnel vary considerably. Some are hired with little or no experience while others are hired only after completing law enforcement school. Generally, security guards must be at least 18 years of age, have no convictions of violence or perjury on their record, and have some education or training in the area, whether it is several days of training on-the-job, or months of a more formal education. Topics covered during security training consist of instruction in the areas of crisis deterrence, protection, weaponry, report writing, use of electronic surveillance devices, and public relations.

The skills necessary to be a successful security guard are comparable to those needed by a police officer. Superior judgment, a willingness to adjust to the personality of the client, good vision, and first-rate communication skills are all very important. For certain types of security jobs, an ability to work alone, and to understand and operate surveillance systems, computers, and photography equipment, is also required.

Future opportunities for private security officers are estimated to remain plentiful. It is expected that the present security expenditures which are currently about 1.7 times that of law enforcement will increase to about 2.4 times that of law enforcement over the next 10 years. And, it is anticipated that over the next 5 years the number of private security companies will more than double. For those hoping to enter the field, opportunities appear very promising.

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