Security officer

Security guard

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Security officers make sure that buildings, valuables and people are safe and secure.

Salary range: £16,000 to £26,000

How to become a security officer

You can get into this job through:

  • an apprenticeship
  • a course run by a private training organisation


You may be able to start by completing an intermediate apprenticeship in providing security services.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship

More information

Other routes

You can take a training course approved by the Security Industry Authority (SIA). Many of these courses are run by private security companies.

More information


Career tips

Experience of working in the police or armed forces could help you get into this job.

Further information

You can find out more about working and training in security from Skills for Security.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • thinking and reasoning skills for dealing with emergencies
  • concentration skills to stay alert and aware of your surroundings
  • customer service skills for challenging people politely but firmly
  • excellent verbal communication skills for negotiating with people
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and requirements

You’ll need to:

If you work as a security contractor on a building site, you’ll also need a Construction Skills Certification Scheme card (CSCS).

An employer will carry out checks on your personal and work history up to 10 years. You need to let them know about any criminal convictions before you apply for a security licence.

You do not need a Security Industry Authority (SIA) licence for in-house security jobs at your employer’s premises.

What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your duties will depend on where you work, but may include:

  • patrolling premises and securing doors, windows and other entrances
  • monitoring CCTV cameras
  • responding to alarms
  • checking staff and visitors in and out of buildings
  • guarding cash or other valuables in a security vehicle
  • operating scanning equipment and devices, for example at airports
  • searching luggage
  • guarding the boundaries of important facilities, like airports or power stations

Working environment

You could work at a store or from a vehicle.

Your working environment may be physically demanding and outdoors in all weathers.

You may need to wear a uniform.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could become a supervisor, then senior or chief security officer.

With further qualifications you could go into security management or training, or set up your own security company.

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