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Security officer

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

Annual Salary

£18,000 to £32,000

Average UK salary in 2022 was £33,200
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

37 to 48 a week

You could work: evenings / weekends / bank holidays; on shifts

Future employment

There will be 0.3% more Security officer jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

Your duties will depend on where you work. You could:

  • patrol premises and secure doors, windows and other entrances
  • monitor CCTV cameras
  • respond to alarms
  • check staff and visitors in and out of buildings
  • guard cash or other valuables in a security vehicle
  • operate scanning equipment and devices, like at airports
  • search luggage
  • guard the boundaries of important facilities, like airports or power stations

Working environment

You may need to wear a uniform.

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

You can get into this job through:

  • an apprenticeship
  • an approved training course

You can apply for a Professional Security Operative Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship to get into this role.

You could also do a Security First Line Manager Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship, if you have experience in security work.

These take between 1 and 2 years to complete.

For more information
Other routes

To work legally in many jobs as a security guard you need a front line Security Industry Authority (SIA) licence.

Before you apply for this licence you need to train for an approved 'licence-linked' qualification. This is so that employers can be sure you have the skills and knowledge you need to do the job safely.

The qualification you need will depend on the type of security work you want to do, for example:

  • guarding cash and valuables in transit
  • CCTV operating
  • front line security

You can search for the correct type of training with an approved training provider in your area, through the SIA website.

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

More information

Career tips

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

Professional and industry bodies

You can join the International Professional Security Association for training and development opportunities.

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

You could take further qualifications, through an advanced Security First Line Manager apprenticeship to go into security management.

With management experience you could become an area security manager, with responsibility for offices, shops or other facilities across a region.

You could specialise as a consultant, advising businesses on certain types of security, for example close protection, anti-terror measures or conflict management.

You could also set up your own security recruitment agency, or work for companies that develop and sell security systems, like biometrics or surveillance equipment.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

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