Security guards and security officers are vital to maintaining the safety of people and property. There are dozens of different security guard jobs, and duties and responsibilities can vary widely. Many security guard jobs do not require extensive training or educational experience, though guards who carry firearms must complete formal training programs and receive special licenses.
A large number of security guard jobs can be found with private security firms. Firms are contracted by businesses, housing complexes, and other establishments to provide scheduled patrols. Security guards often walk or drive between several establishments during a shift, watching out for illegal, unsafe, or suspicious activities. They may be required to detain criminals or deal with service calls such as noise complaints at an apartment complex. Guards in mobile patrols are most often unarmed, though they usually carry a radio or cellular phone to call for assistance when needed.
Casinos, banks, retail stores, hotels, and shopping malls provide many security guard jobs. Guards at such establishments focus on protecting against theft while keeping employees and customers safe. They may monitor security cameras and inspect people entering and leaving the grounds. Security guards are typically required to perform scheduled patrols both inside and outside of a facility.
Public buildings, such as museums, schools, universities, and sports stadiums employ security guards to maintain the safety of a large number of people. Guards monitor persons entering public buildings and confront suspicious individuals. They may monitor feeds from security cameras, perform foot patrols of the grounds, and engage in crowd control.
Security guard jobs at places which require high levels of protection, such as government buildings, military bases, and transportation facilities, require extensive formal training. Guards at airports and train stations inspect passengers' luggage using metal detectors and x-ray machines in order to screen for weapons, explosives, or otherwise banned items. Guards at government buildings and military bases inspect all vehicles and persons entering a facility. Such guards are usually armed and have special clearance to detain criminals and make arrests when necessary.
Most employers do not require new security guards to have extensive experience or education. Potential guards are generally required to be at least 18 years of age, have no significant criminal record, and possess strong reading and writing skills. Armed guards must complete thorough classroom and practical training, as well as pass a licensing test administered by the government. Employers usually give priority to individuals with military training or law enforcement backgrounds.