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Security officer

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

Annual Salary

£16,000 to £26,000

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

37 to 48 a week

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

Day to day tasks

Your duties will depend on where you work, but may include:

  • patrolling premises and securing doors, windows and other entrances
  • monitoring CCTV cameras
  • responding to alarms
  • checking staff and visitors in and out of buildings
  • guarding cash or other valuables in a security vehicle
  • operating scanning equipment and devices, for example at airports
  • searching luggage
  • guarding the boundaries of important facilities, like airports or power stations

Working environment

You may need to wear a uniform.

You could work at a store or from a vehicle.

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

You can get into this job through:

  • an apprenticeship
  • a course run by a private training organisation

You may be able to start by completing an intermediate apprenticeship in providing security services.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
For more information
Other routes

You can take a training course approved by the Security Industry Authority (SIA). Many of these courses are run by private security companies.

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

  • If you work as a security contractor on a building site, you'll also need a Construction Skills Certification Scheme card (CSCS).
  • An employer will carry out checks on your personal and work history up to 10 years. You need to let them know about any criminal convictions before you apply for a security licence.
  • You do not need a Security Industry Authority (SIA) licence for in-house security jobs at your employer's premises.
  • pass enhanced background checks
  • be over 18 years of age

More information

Career tips

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

Further information

You can find out more about working and training in security from Skills for Security.

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

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

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • thinking and reasoning skills for dealing with emergencies
  • concentration skills to stay alert and aware of your surroundings
  • customer service skills for challenging people politely but firmly
  • excellent verbal communication skills for negotiating with people
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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