Salary of Private Security Officers

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

Private security officers are hired by a company to protect its property against theft, vandalism, fire and any other illegal activities. Though they may be armed, security officers often call for assistance from emergency medical services, fire or police. Flexible hours and limited educational requirements attract many people looking for part-time or additional jobs. The annual income of private security officers can vary greatly depending on the type of industry, location and hours worked.

National Income

The private security industry is a very vibrant one, employing 1,028,830 individuals, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) May 2009 data. The annual median wage is $23,820, with most private security officers earning between $19,460 and $30,580. The lowest 10 percent earn less than $16,840 while the highest 10 percent earn over $40,230 per year.

Industry

Industry can account for a substantial difference in the income earned by a private security officer. According to the BLS, security officers working in the natural gas distribution industry earn the most, with an annual mean wage of $64,610. Unfortunately opportunity for employment is limited with only 320 individuals finding work in this industry. The computer systems design and related services industry also offers good potential, where 1,780 private security officers earn an annual mean wage of $46,560. The investigation and security services industry, employing 598,790 security officers, offers the best potential for employment. However, with an annual mean wage of $24,450, this is one of the lowest paying industries.

Location

The top five paying states and their annual mean wages for this occupation, according to the BLS, are Alaska $37,030, District of Columbia $37,010, Washington $35,420, Vermont $30,840 and Maryland $30,320. With a mean annual wage of only $28,280 the state of New York did not make this list. However, with 97,590 private security officers working in the state, the prospect for employment in this region is very good. Florida also employs a large number of private security officers, over 77,000. The District of Columbia has the highest concentration of security officers, 18.9 per 1,000 workers.

Employment Outlook

Employment growth for security officers is expected to be faster than average. The BLS anticipates job growth of 14 percent between 2008 and 2018. This demand is being driven in part through greater concerns regarding crime, vandalism and terrorism. In addition, security activities previously controlled by police officers, such as residential neighborhood and public event security, is increasingly being managed by private security firms. However, competition is expected to be intense for those better paying jobs that require further education and training.