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How To Become A Security Guard

Due to the personable nature of the role, security guards are in a profession of high demand and have the flexibility to work for a wide range of organisations in a variety of job roles. As a job with minimal qualification requirements and high reward, it is becoming increasingly popular as a career choice for the many. Additionally, qualifying as a security guard equips you with a valuable skillset and can open a plethora of job opportunities within the industry, depending on the company and the situation.

What does a security guard do?

Main Roles

Working in security can allow you to operate in a range of job roles for different organisations, dependant on what it is that they require for security…

  • Site security; this may also include patrolling & monitoring CCTV
  • Door supervising
  • Event security
  • Static security
  • Store detective
  • Airport security
  • Construction security

A security officer’s day will also consist of answering alarms and confronting individuals who are a potential threat. Most businesses and organizations hire security guards; banks, museums and retail stores often rely on guards to prevent the loss of valuables, as expensive items and large amounts of cash are held within these places.

As well as guarding a premises, security officers will also…

  • Communicate closely with law enforcement, fire departments and emergency medical personnel
  • Document the activities and any disturbances that have occurred
  • Ensure alarm systems, doors and windows are secure and work correctly
  • Potentially interview witnesses or testify in court

There is also variation in the time of day that you can work, as there are both day and night shifts available, which can be very different in terms of whether you prefer a more peaceful shift or one that is quite busy. As security is an ongoing service through all hours of the day, there are plenty of options regarding your flexibility when it comes to time. This can also be extremely useful not only if you are looking to work full-time, but if you are in search of a part-time job in a good career.

Some security guards will go on to become police or law enforcement officers and study while working full-time to earn an online associate’s or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Others may use their security experience to become a supervisor or chief security officer. With further qualifications you could go into security management or set up your own company.

Benefits Of Becoming A Security Guard

A major benefit is the rewarding nature of the job; helping people feel safe and protecting them whether that be through your presence alone or actively dealing with a threat. Helping people on the job is always worthwhile.

On the other hand, not all benefits are altruistic, many involve development of your own skills as you spend more time on the job. You may find that your customer service skills greatly increase due to high exposure to members of the public. Not all interactions with the public as a security guard will be strictly security-based, as people may ask you for help or assistance. More specifically, you will receive training in safety and first-aid, as well as training for other emergency events.

Skills All Security Guards Should Have…

All of the skills listed below are skills that a security guard will benefit from; those employed in security find that those around them greatly appreciate their knowledge.

Alertness

Security guards need to be alert at all times and remain focused on their surroundings. They must try to pay attention to detail and try to avoid all distractions as they could overlook something that can cause a hazard or harm. Having quick reflexes is also essential; anyone can spot crime. The difference is that a guard must be able to quickly inspect the situation and figure out how to address it.

Due to the likelihood of working long, tiring shifts and finishing at late hours, your vigilance may be disrupted. You must question whether this will be too difficult for you to manage.

Trustworthiness

A quality security guard should always be reliable. A company must be comfortable in letting you guard a business’ premises. First impressions mean a lot, you must show that you can be trusted, prove that you are capable of deterring crime and most importantly, turn up on time. It is no good if you are late to your shift.

Physical Fitness

Ideally, guards need to be in a healthy weight range and exercise regularly. An unfit officer may not be able to offer full protection for people. Moreover, being in good shape will also lead to increased mental alertness.

Not only do they need to be physically fit, but they need to look reputable. Clean and tidy uniform that’s always tucked in will indicate that they are well put together. It looks goods in the eyes of your client and will show you are a quality candidate.

Good Communication

A quality security guard has to be able to communicate effectively with good written and verbal communication. Written communication skills allow them to carefully and accurately note each important incident that happens. Furthermore, it’s important for them to have a calm, approachable attitude and represent a company well.

What do I need to become a security guard?

Most of the time, there is no need for any specific academic qualifications to start work as a security officer. However, a good standard of general education is always beneficial. Previous experience of working in the police or armed forces is also effective.

It is compulsory that you meet the following requirements before becoming a security guard:

  • At least 18 years old
  • Pass an ID check
  • Undergo a criminal records check
  • Be eligible to work in the UK

SIA License

To become a security guard, you must hold an SIA Licence. If you do not have one, then you will need to apply. The SIA Licence is issued by the Security Industry Authority and they are responsible for regulating the private security industry. In order to qualify for an SIA licence, you have to complete different training, including first-aid. The cost of applying for an SIA Licence is £190. This is non-refundable, so make sure that you have all the necessary documentation and correct information. If you are employed by an agency or contractor that provides security services to clients, you will need your SIA licence. It’s a criminal offence to take on security work without this licence and you could face the consequences of six months in prison or a £5,000 fine, so ensuring you have the essential qualifications is extremely important.

In order to pass for an SIA License, you must be over the age of 18 and undergo thorough background checks which will include your criminal record and right to work in the UK. However, this does not mean that you will be prohibited from getting an SIA Licence if you do have a criminal record or don’t have the right to work in the UK; it will depend on your own individual situation and each application is treated separately.

Plus, there are exams that you will need to complete. The questions often differ in these exams so it is not possible to cheat and find the answers, however you can research potential questions and revise subjects that you will likely be tested on. Plus, there are a variety of videos across the media that cover different exam topics.

If your licence needs renewing, you should be made aware that it does not do so automatically. For information on how to renew your licence, read this article.

There are different licenses available depending on the security role(s) you desire…

  • Security guarding
  • Door supervision
  • Protection of cash and valuables in transit
  • Public surveillance using CCTV
  • Key holding
  • Vehicle immobilising

CSCS Card

Pursuing a security job on a construction site will result in the need to have a CSCS Card, this shows that you can operate safely. During day or night patrols, individuals must be aware of specific health and safety risks, from uneven terrain to the risk of slips and trips and even exposure to asbestos/airborne fibres and toxins.

Additional Requirements

Once you complete the relevant training course and pass it’s assessment, it is your responsibility to ensure that you have checked all of the training requirements before applying

Depending on the type of security job you wish to pursue, your training will differ…

  • Door Supervisor Training
  • Security Guard Training
  • CCTV Training
  • Close Protection Training


If you are licensed in a specific role and wish to pursue a different role, you must apply for that alternative license. An SIA CCTV Operative cannot work as an SIA Door Supervisor; these are two different roles.

How do I get a security job near me?

As a result of achieving your SIA Licence, you can then apply to a contractor or agency that provides security services on contract; many guards often apply to multiple agencies. Applying can often be done online through a company’s website, over the phone, or at the agency’s main office.

You will need a CV, a proof of address, two forms of identification and two references. Plus, you need to have knowledge on what will be required and the skills that the employer is looking for. Demonstrate this understanding in your application.

Finding the right security company near me

Hopefully, you will be given the chance to attend an interview after applying. Researching the company beforehand and knowing why you want to work for this particular company is imperative; this question is commonly asked and it’s an opportunity to indicate that you are interested in working for them. It is important to do your research and find companies that have the right accreditations especially being an SIA Approved Contractor. The more accreditations a company can provide, the more dedicated they are to improving standards and providing a comfortable and safe working environment for both guards and clients. Having accreditations is also often in positive correlation with wages, as typically, the more certified an agency is, the more they can pay their staff.

Becoming a security guard

Usually, when a company have jobs available, you will receive specific training so you can be prepared and ready to arrive at your first shift. As you become more comfortable in your role as a security guard and begin thinking about possible progression opportunities, you can start working towards other related qualifications and become eligible for senior roles; this can lead to possible management jobs if this is a career path that interests you.

Find out more…

British Security Industry Association (BSIA)  

International Professional Security Association (IPSA) 

Get in touch!

Region Security Guarding are always looking to recruit experienced and SIA licensed security guards to cover job opportunities. The guards we employ must have a checkable 5 year work history with a criminality check and available references.

Fill out our application form or click here to see our current job vacancies.

Alternatively, you can contact us on 01902 544321.

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