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A school-safety agent is a public-safety professional who works in a public or private elementary, middle or high school. School-safety agents are responsible for enforcing campus-security policies and keeping students, teachers and administrators safe. While they may have affiliations with police departments, school-safety agents are not sworn police officers.
A school-safety agent's starting salary depends upon the type of employer and assignment. Some work for police departments as civilian employees. This is the case with some large metropolitan areas, such as the city of New York, where the New York Police Department recruits and employs school-safety agents for New York public schools. Other school-safety agents work for private-security companies and staff local schools as needed.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, school-security guards across the United States earn an average salary of just under $28,000. Those at the lowest end of the pay scale, including new agents, make less than $17,000 per year. School-safety agents who work for police departments may earn higher starting salaries. For example, the starting salary for a school safety agent with the NYPD is $30,057, as of 2011. In Los Angeles, the L.A. School Police Department pays a starting salary of $48,100, as of 2011.
In addition to mandatory annual raises, school-safety agents may receive many types of employee benefits that help offset their low starting wages. These include annual uniform allowances, health insurance, paid leave, overtime pay for night shifts and retirement benefits. School-safety agents who work for police departments may also be able to take advantage of police retirement plans that offer pensions after 25 years of continuous service.
The starting wages that school-safety agents earn are based on the nature of their positions. They generally have fewer duties and require less training than regular police officers, who must be ready to fulfill a variety of roles. School-safety agents, especially in elementary schools and suburban regions, are also likely to face less risk than police officers in urban departments or school-safety agents who work in schools with drug, gang and gun prevalence.