On the Job
Security guards provide protection to their employers. They protect property from illegal entry, vandalism, theft, and fire.
In the aftermath of 9/11, security has become a top priority. Places that already employed security guards, such as shopping malls, schools, and public buildings, increased the number of guards. Places that didn't have security began to employ security personnel. The phrase "better safe than sorry" suddenly rang truer than it ever did before.Security guards' duties vary with the size, type, and location of their employer. Some security guards patrol and inspect buildings and grounds. They check to see that windows, doors, and gates are locked. They also make sure that security equipment is working correctly. In stores, guards watch for theft by customers. In banks, guards watch for robbers. Some guards drive armored vehicles to transport money or valuables safely to and from banks. Other guards are responsible for driving and providing protection to their employers.
In offices and factories, guards check employee identification and answer visitor questions. At airports, they may use screening equipment to detect the presence of guns or other illegal items. Other guards patrol places of entertainment, such as nightclubs. They walk around and watch customers for signs of fighting. They warn customers when they are being too rowdy. Sometimes guards must evict customers; occasionally they may use force.
Security guards often keep in radio contact with other guards. Guards patrol on foot or in a car. Some guards use computers to store security information. They also write reports of what happened during their rounds or changes that they noticed. In emergencies, security guards investigate alarms. They call the police or fire departments when necessary.
Guards who work at night may adjust air conditioning or heating controls in buildings. They may also answer telephone calls, take messages, and provide information during non-business hours.
The following list of occupational tasks is specific to this career.
- Use detecting equipment to screen individuals. Prevent forbidden material from entering protected areas.
- Patrol factories or retail businesses to protect property. Check security of doors, windows, and gates.
- Answer alarms and investigate any problems.
- Monitor and allow employees, visitors, and other people to enter or leave buildings.
- Write reports of daily activities and any problems, such as property damage, theft, or unusual events.
- Use radio or telephone to call police or fire departments.
- Walk among visitors, patrons, and employees to maintain order and protect property.
- Answer telephone calls. Take messages, answer questions, and provide information during non-business hours.
- Warn people when they are breaking rules. May remove troublemakers from buildings, using force when necessary.
- Escort or drive individuals to places or events and provide protection.
- Inspect security systems to make sure they are working and that no one has bothered them.
- Drive and guard armored vehicles to transport and provide safe delivery of money and valuables.
- Monitor and adjust temperature controls, such as air conditioning, furnace, or boiler.
People in this career perform the following list of tasks, but the tasks are common to many occupations.
- Communicate with supervisors, peers, or subordinates.
- Monitor events, materials, and surroundings.
- Get information needed to do the job.
- Identify objects, actions, and events.
- Assist others.
- Make decisions and solve problems.
- Perform activities that use the whole body.
- Evaluate information against standards.
- Communicate with people from outside the organization.
- Judge the value of objects, services, or people.
- Work with the public.
- Establish and maintain relationships.
- Coordinate the work and activities of others.
- Handle and move objects.
- Resolve conflicts and negotiate with others.
- Teach others.
In a typical work setting, people in this career:
- Have a high level of social contact. They talk to the public and coworkers. Those who work night shifts generally have a lower level of social contact.
- Are responsible for the health and safety of others.
- Often deal with angry, unpleasant, or violent individuals. Guards who work at night clubs may deal with more aggression than other guards.
- Are often placed in conflict situations.
- Are somewhat responsible for work outcomes and the work done by other guards.
- Communicate with the public and coworkers daily by telephone or in person.
- Write letters and e-mails on a monthly basis.
- Work in a group or as part of a team.
- May work indoors or outdoors, depending on the type of job and duties.
- Are often exposed to sounds and noise levels that are distracting and uncomfortable. Guards who work at night clubs may be exposed to uncomfortable noise levels more than other guards.
- Are sometimes exposed to contaminants.
- Sometimes are exposed to extremely bright or inadequate lighting conditions.
- Work near other people, but usually have a few feet of space separating them from others.
- Often wear a special uniform.
- Must be exact in their work. Errors could result in injuries or property loss.
- Repeat the same physical activities.
- Make decisions on a regular basis that strongly impact the public. They consult supervisors for some decisions, but make most without talking to a supervisor.
- Are usually able to set their tasks for the day without consulting with a supervisor.
- Generally have a set schedule each week.
- May work full time or part time, but most work 40 hours a week.
- May work days, evenings, weekends, and holidays.
- May eat on the job rather than take a break away from the site.
- May be on-call in case of emergencies.
Physical Work Conditions
In a typical work setting, people in this career:
- Stand for long periods of time, depending on the job.
- Use their hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools, or controls.
- Walk while patrolling areas. May run during emergencies.
- See details of objects whether they are nearby or far away.
- Speak clearly so listeners can understand.
- Understand the speech of another person.
- Focus on one source of sound and ignore others.
- Move two or more limbs together (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while remaining in place.
- Use muscles to lift, push, pull, or carry heavy objects.
- Be physically active for long periods without getting tired or out of breath.
- Use stomach and lower back muscles to support the body for long periods without getting tired.
- Hear sounds and recognize the difference between them.
- Use fingers or hands to grasp, move, or assemble very small objects.
- Coordinate movement of several parts of the body, such as arms and legs, while the body is moving.
- Hold the arm and hand in one position or hold the hand steady while moving the arm.
- Use muscles for extended periods without getting tired.
- Use muscles to jump, sprint, or throw objects.
- See differences between colors, shades, and brightness.
- Make quick, precise adjustments to machine controls.
- Choose quickly and correctly among various movements when responding to different signals.
- Bend, stretch, twist, or reach out.
- Keep or regain the body's balance or stay upright when in an unstable position.
People in this career frequently:
It is important for people in this career to be able to:
It is not as important, but still necessary, for people in this career to be able to:
Source: Minnesota Department of Education.