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What Is the Definition of a Security Officer?

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

Security officers, also referred to as security guards, are hired to patrol, guard and protect homes, businesses and property from theft or vandalism. They often work closely with law enforcement, maintaining peace and reporting unlawful activity.


Security officer duties include theft prevention, recording daily events and illegal activity, and protecting the safety of others. Depending on the position, security officers may also be required to detain individuals until law enforcement arrives.


Perimeter security officers patrol a given area on foot or by monitoring suspicious activity via security cameras. Mobile security officers, such as armored car guards, protect property during transport.

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Most security guards are hired by private businesses to deter illegal activity, but government agencies also employ security officers to protect public areas such as museums, schools, airports and military installations.

Employment and Pay

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, security officer jobs are predicted to grow by 14 percent by 2018. The median annual wage of a security officer as of 2008 was $23,460.


Many states require security officer certification and training on law enforcement procedures. Additionally, armed security officers require a license to carry a weapon.

2016 Salary Information for Security Guards and Gaming Surveillance Officers

Security guards and gaming surveillance officers earned a median annual salary of $25,830 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, security guards and gaming surveillance officers earned a 25th percentile salary of $21,340, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $34,680, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 1,134,000 people were employed in the U.S. as security guards and gaming surveillance officers.

About the Author

Jeannie Knudson is an avid traveler with a love for the written word. She has been a freelance writer for over 15 years and holds a Bachelor's Degree in English from the University of Northern Iowa. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and experiences on eHow and Travels.com.

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