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Security officer

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

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £13,000 to £26,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: up to 48 per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set requirements but a good standard of general education would be helpful. Previous experience of working in the police or armed forces could also be useful.

Employers will carry out checks on your personal and work history going back up to 10 years, and you’ll need to let them know about any criminal convictions.

You'll need a Security Industry Authority (SIA) licence for agency and contractor jobs. To qualify for this, you must:

  • be aged 18 or over
  • pass identity and criminal record checks
  • complete relevant approved SIA training
For in-house security jobs you don’t need an SIA licence.
You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

Skills for Security has more information about becoming a security officer.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • the ability to write short reports and follow written instructions
  • the confidence to challenge people when necessary
  • the ability to use your initiative and make quick decisions
  • the ability to work with technical equipment like CCTV

3. What you'll do

Your role will vary depending on the industry you work in, and could include:

  • patrolling, securing and monitoring premises
  • guarding cash or other valuables in a security vehicle
  • airport security including searching aircraft, passengers and luggage, and guarding the airport boundaries
  • supervising on the door for a large organisation

4. Salary

Starter: £13,000 to £16,000

Experienced: £22,000

Highly Experienced: £26,000 (supervisor)

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll work up to 48 hours a week, including evenings and weekends. Shift work is very common.

Some jobs involve driving. For work involving cash or valuables in transit, you’ll spend much of your time in a security van. You'll need a reasonable level of physical fitness. 

You may work on your own or in a small team.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress to senior or chief security officer, then supervisor.

With further qualifications you could go into security management or training, or set up your own security company.

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Last updated: 02 April 2018