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Security Guard  What They Do

Just the Facts


Guards, patrols, or monitors premises to prevent theft, violence, or infractions of rules. May operate x-ray and metal detector equipment.

This career is part of the Law, Public Safety, Corrections and Security cluster Security and Protective Services pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Monitors and authorizes entrance and departure of employees, visitors, and other persons to guard against theft and maintain security of premises.
  • Writes reports of daily activities and irregularities, such as equipment or property damage, theft, presence of unauthorized persons, or unusual occurrences.
  • Calls police or fire departments in cases of emergency, such as fire or presence of unauthorized persons.
  • Answers alarms and investigates disturbances.
  • Circulates among visitors, patrons, or employees to preserve order and protect property.
  • Patrols industrial or commercial premises to prevent and detect signs of intrusion and ensure security of doors, windows, and gates.
  • Escorts or drives motor vehicle to transport individuals to specified locations or to provide personal protection.
  • Operates detecting devices to screen individuals and prevent passage of prohibited articles into restricted areas.
  • Answers telephone calls to take messages, answer questions, and provide information during non-business hours or when switchboard is closed.
  • Warns persons of rule infractions or violations, and apprehends or evicts violators from premises, using force when necessary.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.



Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to hazardous situations involving possible injury such as cuts, bites, stings, and minor burns more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves walking or running more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Rotating shift work
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Armored Car Guard -- Provides secure transportation; protects and safeguards valuable cargo in transit from one place to another; and provides various cash services for automated teller machines (ATM), using bullet-resistant, armored vehicles.
  • Baggage Screener -- Oversees and manages processing of passengers and personal baggage through metal detection and X-ray equipment.
  • Bank Guard -- Ensures the safety and security of the bank.
  • Loss Prevention Officer -- Monitors video footage from surveillance cameras or walks the store in plain clothes, keeping an eye on shoppers in order to prevent theft from taking place.
  • Watchman --