Security guards are needed in many different environments, from schools to shopping malls to residential buildings. They can be government employees, work under agencies, or be hired on a contract basis by private clients. Whether their main role is to operate as a patrol guard or help visitors find their way, every security guard must be prepared to respond to the unexpected.
The long hours of sitting or standing, coupled with potential hazards or threats don’t make this an appealing role to everyone. However, working as a security guard comes with lots of perks and opportunities. Here are the best places to work if you want a profession as a security guard.
Like most security jobs, security guards who work at a hospital or other healthcare facility are responsible for various access points, and granting visitors access to certain places. Their duty is to keep staff, patients, and visitors safe while also acting as frontline ambassadors. Protecting patients and their caregivers is a meaningful job, even if some patients require extra care.
A uniformed guard’s presence eases the minds of staff, patients, and visitors. They know that their loved ones are safe. Security jobs here require more emotional than physical strength; guards must be sympathetic.
Guards who work in shopping malls are asked to watch out for shoplifters and people who may create an unsafe environment for others. Mall security officers are often assigned specific patrol spots inside the building, and that can make the job a bit easier. These guards may be asked to confront shoplifters or troublesome customers, but their training prepares them with multiple techniques and strategies.
If you prefer a social work environment that isn’t too stressful, you will enjoy working here. Guards get to meet shoppers with diverse personalities, and may look forward to helping employees who work in the retail stores. They also pick up transferable skills, like customer service, when they work in retail.
Working as a security guard in an office building is a respected role, and it’s one of the less demanding workplaces for guards. Depending on your qualifications, you might be assigned to the surveillance room, or you might be stationed close to the front of the building. In cases of emergencies, security guards are the first responders. There are times when these guards will be required to write reports, but office buildings are generally low-risk when it comes to physical security.
The possibility of things getting rowdy in a nightclub is high when alcohol is involved, so security guards have to be present to restore order. Your main task will be to check IDs when working as a bouncer, but you will also need to move around and monitor patrons to ensure intoxicated guests aren’t endangering themselves or others. Guards may profit from tips depending on how the establishment is organized.
Private security guards that manage to work for celebrities or other high-profile individuals are responsible for escorting them to events and ensuring they get to every destination safely. Personal security guards secure luggage, coordinate transportation, and fend off the public if necessary. The earning potential when working as a VIP escort is high, but the risk may be high at times.
Schools employ security guards to reduce violence, which in turn provides a secure learning environment for students, teachers, and visitors. Working as a security guard in a learning institution requires you to be up-to-date on techniques to defuse arguments and fights between students. Educators and learners perform better when they feel safe; security guards play an important role in ensuring this.
If you enjoy art and want to make a living out of your passion, it is worth it to work as a museum security guard. You keep an eye on visitors and make sure they follow the rules regarding touching and taking pictures of items. Spending time around exhibitions can be exciting, and you sometimes interact with tourists and share your passion with people who care about the same things that you do.
Courthouses may seem dangerous because alleged criminals are coming and going all of the time. But incidents rarely occur here. Since there are a lot of security measures already in place, security officers don’t often have to get involved in very dangerous incidents. Courthouse guards escort jury members, relay messages, and help to maintain order in the courtroom. It is no doubt an interesting job.
Residential security guards protect residents and staff who live in apartments or homes. The social interaction here may be minimal or significant, depending on whether you are strictly security or work at the concierge desk. You get to know tenants occupying the building or neighborhood, and help them with tasks or questions from time to time.
What to consider before choosing a place to work
To determine the place that will play to your strengths, you should consider things like location, hours, flexibility, and your own preferences. Security jobs can be monotonous, engaging, or even dangerous, so here are some factors to consider before you make a final choice.
Indoors vs. outdoors
Do you overheat quickly? Or does being outside give you more energy? Some security guards work outdoors at least some of the time, but if you prefer indoors, then consider something like surveillance footage monitoring. You might also look at driving a patrol vehicle around a construction site or dockyard; this is usually more interesting.
Quiet vs. eventful
All security jobs have an element of unpredictability to them. But some sectors are more busy, stressful or dangerous than others. If you enjoy challenges, working in more fast-paced environments might be for you.
Quiet security jobs exist too, so if you prefer to work in a low-risk setting, night shifts or office environments might be the best fit.
High tech vs. low tech
Your role may come with some tools or tech that you will need to know how to use in order to be successful. Ask about technology before you say yes to the position. A guard tour system like Patrol Points is a happy medium for most guards; it is very user-friendly but also robust enough to streamline and improve patrols and communication. All you need is the app and a smartphone.
Working alone vs. in public
Working as a patrol officer is a nice idea for people who prefer to stay out of the public and want minimal interactions. You can guard building sites, patrol the perimeter for hours, and document activity without having to interact with people other than your supervisor.
But you can also take a role where you interact with lots of people. Sporting events, office buildings and malls are all great examples. Patrolling busy paces may be unpredictable, but it can be rewarding too. Plus, it opens you up to more opportunities.