Security officers provide monitoring services for property owners to provide a safe environment and prevent violence. A security officer plays many different roles, but his primary task is to prevent crime. The presence of a security officer on the premises often serves as a deterrent to potential lawbreakers. Security guards work in public and private buildings, as well as retail and wholesale establishments. Some work at transportation facilities guarding against potential terrorist attacks.

Primary Duties

As security officers perform their job, they often patrol both the interior and exterior of the premises where they work. They monitor windows, doors and gates to make sure they’re locked properly. If an alarm sounds or there’s a disturbance, the security officer is the first on the scene, and is often the one making the call to emergency police, fire or ambulance services. Security officers might have the responsibility of taking phone calls that come into the business after hours. Some have the task of monitoring the heating and cooling systems of the buildings they guard. Security officers prepare daily activity logs and reports of any damage to equipment to present to their supervisor.

Types of Jobs

If you’re interested in a career in this criminal justice field, a variety of career paths are open. Transportation security screeners working in transportation facilities protecting freight, equipment and property, as well as people using the transportation system. They use sophisticated screening tools to look for weapons and explosives. Some transportation security officers have trained service dogs as their partners. Transportation guards often find employment as Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers. Armored car guards and other transportation security officers guard property and people during transport. These officers often carry weapons and wear bulletproof clothing. Gaming surveillance agents are security officers who monitor gambling facilities.

Cyber Security

A specialized career path for security officers with real growth potential is cyber security. These officers are highly trained with the use of computer systems and mobile devices, allowing them constant real-time communications capabilities. From a centralized location, cyber security officers can take photos of incidents as they happen and plot GPS coordinates of officers on foot patrol. These officers also make used of closed-circuit cameras to monitor activities on the premises. Since this field is one that changes rapidly, cyber-security officers must take frequent training courses to stay current with technology.

Job and Salary Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates here will be 195,000 new security officer jobs between 2010 and 2020, or a 19 percent increase. This growth in demand is higher than the general growth of 14 percent for other occupations. Demand is expected to be strong in the private sector, as more businesses hire private security officers. The median salary for security guards was $24,380 in 2010. Officers with specialized training should expect higher salaries.