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How to Become a Security Consultant

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

Security consultants don't just put together a security system for clients. They work one-on-one with clients, evaluating the clients' unique needs and tailoring a security plan specifically for the client's business or personal life. Security consultants can work on home security, business security, online or computer security and self-defense training. Clients are as varied as people who want help securing their homes, large businesses and even individuals who need security round the clock.

Background of Security Consultants

You won't find one particular background or education path for security consultants. However, many come from a previous profession in the military, with the police or an intelligence agency. For example, one security company, ITC Security Consultants, boasts that its employees are police officers or served in the military overseas. Computer-focused security consultants typically have a professional background working in IT.

Recommended and Required Licenses and Certifications

Consider getting certified if you want to be a successful security consultant. To become a member of the International Association of Professional Security Consultants, you'll need certification as a Certified Protection Professional, a Physical Security Professional, a Certified Security Consultant, a Certified Information Security Systems Professional or another certification that the IAPSC approves. You can get a CSC from the IAPSC itself. The CISSP is awarded by the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium. You can get a CPP or a PSP from ASIS International. You may also need to get a license. Some states like Nevada and Texas require a license to work as a security consultant. In Texas, this license requires an application and passing a specialized exam. In Nevada, a security consultant is legally synonymous to a private investigator, so you'll need a private investigator license.

Background for Computer Security

To become a security consultant who specializes in computer security, you'll need a different set of skills. These include basic computer coding skills including C# and Java plus skills in Web security, mobile security, network security, source code and cryptography. These jobs don't require a specific license or certification. However, experience assessing data risk and helping companies prevent attacks can be helpful. People who work in this field typically have a degree in computer science or years of experience in IT or coding.

Career Outlook and Salary

Glassdoor.com estimated the average salary of a security consultant to be around $82,580 a year. However, a security consultant who works in the energy sector told the website, Job Shadow, that an experienced consultant at his company can make $100,000 to $200,000 a year. Information security analysts had a median salary of $86,170 in 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This industry is expected to grow by 37 percent between 2012 and 2022.

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About the Author

With features published by media such as Business Week and Fox News, Stephanie Dube Dwilson is an accomplished writer with a law degree and a master's in science and technology journalism. She has written for law firms, public relations and marketing agencies, science and technology websites, and business magazines.

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