A career as a security officer is often an overlooked profession in today’s culture. But security guards play a vital role in many aspects of today’s business, from construction sites to shopping malls. So let’s shine the spotlight onto what it takes to excel in the role before you put on that uniform.
Eligibility and License
First and foremost, a valid security license is typically a basic requirement to work as a certified security personnel in Canada. Depending on the province within which you live, to be eligible for a license, applicants must meet three requirements: Be 18 years of age or older; be allowed to work in the country; and have a clean criminal record.
You’ve got the license – now what?
In a world where protecting one’s assets are extremely important, the market for security guards in Canada is certainly healthy, with demand for professionals with the right training. After obtaining a security guard license, responsibilities can often vary from one type of to another. Here are some options you might commonly find:
- Standard Security Guards: The most common security officer. These individuals work for private security companies and are assigned to different locations, such as banks or residential buildings.
- Crowd Control Guards: Often hired to manage crowd behaviours for big public events and festivals.
- Bodyguard: As depicted in many Hollywood films, a private bodyguard’s duty is to protect a specific person or a group of people.
- Airport Security Guards: As the name implies, these are guards assigned to provide security in airport premises, protecting passengers against threatening events.
If you’re looking to advance your career as a security guard after you obtain your license, you may want to pursue additional certifications, such as a valid PAL (Possession and Acquisition License). By doing so, you can showcase to employers that you take your job seriously and strive to be the best security professional that you can be.
The best of both worlds
One of the top aspects of a career in the security industry is the opportunity to find something that works for you.
For instance, if you’re the kind of individual that feels a strong sense of duty, loves helping and protecting others and has a good eye for detail, you may be stationed at the front and centre of a building. This means you’ll be tasked with screening and greeting those arriving and ensuring that everyone entering the building is supposed to be there.
On the other hand, for the introverts out there, don’t count yourselves out as potential security officers. You might want to consider a night-time gig, which might include patrolling the vicinity you’re protecting and guarding against threats to property, such as theft and vandalism.
Pursuing a career as a security guard also has advantages for students in college or university – namely, flexible hours to suit your study schedule.
The skills you’ll need to survive
It may seem that “anyone” can take on a job in the security industry; however, that couldn’t be more far from the truth. There is a wide range of skills necessary to be successful in this field in the short-and long-term:
- Communication Skills. As is the case for most jobs, the need for immaculate communication is integral to this industry. It will be your role to follow given protocol and communicate orders, which becomes necessary when working with a large crowd or with general public to ensure their safety.
- Thinking on the spot. In some incidents, the need for security guards to use common sense and quick thinking is imperative, before a situation gets out of control.
- Adaptability. Being a security guard is more than just patrolling your surroundings. You will need to be able to adapt to a number of different conditions and demands in order to successfully perform your job.
- Always keep learning. With technology ever-changing, there is a need for security guards to be highly-trained and tech-savvy, including familiarity with many devices and systems. Continuous professional training is almost a pre-requisite for today’s security guards to meet industry requirements.
The world is your oyster
The security industry can also be a great stepping stone to many opportunities in the field of law, security and public safety. With a few years’ experience, a more seasoned job seeker can branch out into other careers, including as a private investigator, a police officer or corrections. It is important to determine which aspects of your job you like so you can pinpoint the direction you’d like your career to take.