Thinking about a job in the security field, but not sure if it’s for you? Don’t forget you’ve got options! You can work as an on-site security officer, a virtual security guard, or an airport security screener. Best of all, within those jobs, you’ll find a wide range of locations and opportunities. Security opportunities come up in all shifts, so if you’re working to complete your education or have family obligations, it’s likely you can find a shift to accommodate your needs.
To be successful in this job, you’ll need to be a good listener and customer-oriented. You should be a problem solver who doesn’t hesitate to take initiative when necessary. Experience in security, customer service, emergency dispatch, or the military could make you a good candidate.
Security officers don’t just protect people from harm; they enable them to go through their daily lives with confidence and freedom from fear. A security officer is often called upon to step in if emergencies like fires or natural disasters occur. If you can stay calm when most others are panicking and instill confidence so others will follow your lead is essential.
What Is It Like to Be a Security Officer?
For the most part, it’s not a desk job. Even if you do sit at a desk, you won’t be just sending emails. If you are an on-site security officer, say, one stationed at the front desk, you’ll be interacting with people as they come and go while carefully monitoring what’s going on around you or monitoring a larger area via closed-circuit monitors. If you work in a central video monitoring center, you’ll need to stay alert and attentive. Remote video monitoring security officers are not just desk jockeys!
No Two Days are Alike
Every assignment is different. The setting, the risks, the people you work with – they’ll all keep you on your toes.
Some of the most common duties for security officers include:
- Admitting authorized persons to the property
- Observing behavior as people leave to prevent theft or other threats
- Patrolling buildings and grounds on foot
- Securing doors, windows, gates, and other means of egress
- Inspecting equipment and machinery for evidence of tampering
- Checking for fire hazards, leaking water pipes, unlocked doors, etc., and reporting as needed
- Recording observations such as property damage, unusual occurrences, or malfunctioning
- Regulating vehicle and pedestrian traffic at access points to maintain orderly flow
- Warning violators of rule infractions, such as loitering, smoking or carrying forbidden items
- Apprehending or removing people engaging in suspicious or criminal acts
- Sounding an alarm or calling the police or fire department by telephone in case of fire or presence of unauthorized persons
What is it Like to Be a Virtual Security Monitor?
Remote security officers are expected to be observant and have strong attention to detail. They must be able to watch screens that never seem to change and notice when one of them finally does. They need to be comfortable with computers and technology and competent in entering data quickly and accurately. Remote officers need to be able to multitask and thrive in a fast-paced environment. If you like the idea of being a security officer but aren’t really interested in patrolling in all weather and interacting with people, a remote security monitoring job may be for you.
As a Virtual Security Officer, you’ll be:
- Trained in remote guarding standards and procedures, your assigned post, and client instructions and preferences.
- Expected to watch for and report fire hazards, leaking water pipes, unlocked doors, etc.
- Charged with admitting authorized persons to the property and observing them leave
- Issuing verbal warnings or notifying on-site security officers if you observe minor infractions such as loitering, smoking, or carrying contraband
- Contacting police or fire response in the case of fire, suspicious or criminal acts, or the presence of unauthorized persons
- Recording any property damage, unusual occurrences, and malfunctioning machinery or equipment
What Kind of Properties use Remote Security Monitoring?
Many businesses find remote guarding an important part of their security strategy. Here are few growing areas you may be responsible for monitoring as a virtual security officer:
- Automotive Dealerships
- Cannabis Farms
- Class A Buildings
- Construction Sites
- Hazardous Sites
- Healthcare Facilities
- Major Events
- Office Buildings
- Residential Properties
- Retail Establishments
- Trade Shows & Conferences
What Is It Like To Work As An Airport Security Officer?
Screening Officers keep people and property safe while guiding air passengers through the screening process before their flights. You will be interacting with hundreds of people a day who could be unhappy, nervous, stressed, or confused. You’ll be responsible for screening passengers, baggage, or cargo and may need to lift up to 70 pounds many times per day. You will learn to operate basic security equipment such as x-ray machines or hand wands. You might need to conduct pat-downs in some circumstances.
Airport Screeners Guide Passengers Through A Process That Includes:
- Passing through a metal detector or other screening of their person
- An x-ray of their carry-on and checked baggage
- Potentially searching through a bag
- Performing a physical pat-down of a passenger to clarify unclear items if needed
Last Line of Defense for TSA Compliance
As an airport security officer, your primary job is to ensure compliance with all Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regulations. You’ll be working with the public, so you must be comfortable working with all kinds of people and be able to identify those who could be a threat. Strong communication skills are essential in this position, including reading, writing, and listening. You must speak with authority while remaining polite and reassuring.
Patience is Essential for an Airport Screener
People who fly regularly are often impatient with people who are clearly lost as to what they should do. But everyone was a newbie sometime! As a screener, you may have to walk travelers through the process step by step. With your guidance, they can proceed efficiently, and the line will keep moving. If you’re ready for a career that helps people get safely to your destination, here’s what you need to know.
What are the best things about being an Airport Screener?
- You work inside in a climate-controlled environment
- If you’re a people person, you’ll enjoy interacting with passengers
- It is a team environment, and you rotate your duties throughout the shift
What Qualifications are Required for Airport Screeners?
You’ll need to pass extensive pre-employment testing, including a drug and medical screening and a background investigation, including a criminal check/fingerprinting and a credit check. Expect to work when airports are busy, including very early mornings, weekends, and holidays.
- You must enjoy working with the public!
- Must be 18 years old or more
- Hold United States citizenship
- Have a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent
- Complete introductory and ongoing training
- You need to be prompt, dependable and able to remain focused all day
Airports are Busy, Noisy and Stressful
Whether people are excited, nervous, or running late, emotions run high. As an Airport Security Officer, it’s your responsibility to stay focused and calm no matter what the day may bring. The ability to keep a cool head is essential — you may need to make quick decisions in crisis situations.
How does COVID-19 impact airport screener jobs?
If you’re entering the airport security field now, there are additional considerations to incorporate into your workday. Because advisement and regulations change as the situation evolves, it’s best to consult the latest version of CDC’s Updated Information for Travelers for the latest rules and best practices.
You will need to remind travelers to:
- Wear a mask and keep it over your nose and mouth
- Maintain a six feet social distance
- Use hand sanitizer before and after screening
- Be patient if staffing levels are low
- Remember that lines may look longer than they are because of social distancing
You May be Required to Manage Uncooperative Travelers
Be prepared to politely but firmly deal with people who believe rules don’t apply to them. Travelers have been known to cause disturbances when confronted, so you may be called to step in. Many of them may be learning for the first time that their actions have consequences and react badly. If they are unable to control their behavior despite being cautioned, they may need to be escorted from the airport property and law enforcement may need to be engaged.
Are you a Woman Considering a Job in Security? You’ll be in Good Company!
Some of the most in-demand skills for security officers are common among women, such as attention to detail, diplomacy, and vigilance. Sometimes the presence of female security officers is particularly comfortable depending on the client. Women in security are frequently underestimated, so people may let their guard down, making them easier to catch.
Learn more about what it’s like to be a woman in security from some of our veteran officers:
- Lesley Turner began her BOS Security career at Langley-Eustis Airforce Base, located near Newport News, VA. Today she manages a team of twelve to fifteen guards.
- Jocilyn Mims provided security to a local sorority before joining BOS Security. They asked us to assign her to their security detail because they trusted and respected her.
- Debra Russo is committed to helping the people she serves at the University of Georgia go about their daily lives without fear of harm.
Find Out How You Can Become a Security Officer!
Learn more about available security officer jobs or begin the application process at our job board.