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.
You’ll usually need:
- some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
You can take a training course approved by the Security Industry Authority (SIA). Many of these courses are run by private security companies.
- you’ll need a Security Industry Authority (SIA) licence for agency and contractor jobs
Experience of working in the police or armed forces could help you get into this job.
You can find out more about working and training in security from Skills for Security.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- 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:
- pass enhanced background checks
- be over 18 years of age
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
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
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.