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What Qualities Should a Security Officer Possess?

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A security officer is responsible for protecting you, your property and your clients from danger and loss. When looking to hire a security officer to work for your company, make a list of the qualities you seek. In most states, security officers must be at least 18 years old and possess a high school diploma or GED. However, qualities other than age and educational background are paramount.


Although a college degree is not required, candidates for a security officer position should have undergone some type of security guard training. Proper training gives you some measure of assurance that he would not be a liability to your company. Trained guards have learned about emergency procedures, search and seizures, power to arrest, officer safety, first aid and crisis deterrence. More in-depth training covers terrorism awareness, crowd safety and firearm usage.

Clear Criminal Background

Take steps to identify candidates who have clear criminal backgrounds. Many states require security officers to have a security guard license or guard card before obtaining work. These states automatically require the officer to undergo fingerprinting and pass a criminal background check before receiving a license. If your state does not require security officer licensing, it is up to you to perform a criminal background check before hiring the officer.

Relevant Work Experience

Look for candidates with relevant experience in law enforcement or the military. Such experience is an indication that he knows how to properly handle and use firearms. As a former law enforcement agent, he also has experience making observations and filing reports.

Good Physical Condition

Working as a security guard can require a lot of standing or walking, depending upon the employer. The job may also require a guard to restrain an individual on occasion. Before extending employment to a candidate, ask him to undergo a medical exam to determine his level of physical fitness.

Miscellaneous Qualities

From time to time, a security officer may be required to create written incident reports, which requires a good command of the English language. A guard should also have a pleasant personality and good customer service skills if the job requires contact with customers and clients. If the job requires vehicle patrol, he should have a valid state-issued driver's license.