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Security officer

Alternative titles for this job include Security guard

Security officers make sure that buildings, valuables and people are safe and secure.

Average salary (a year)

£20,000 Starter


£35,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 48 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays on shifts

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become Security officer

You can get into this job through:

  • an apprenticeship
  • an approved training course


You can apply for a Professional Security Operative Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship to get into this role.

You could also do a Security First Line Manager Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship, if you have experience in security work.

These take between 1 and 2 years to complete.

Entry requirements

Employers will set their own entry requirements.

More Information

Other Routes

To work legally in many jobs as a security guard you need a front line Security Industry Authority (SIA) licence.

Before you apply for this licence you need to train for an approved 'licence-linked' qualification. This is so that employers can be sure you have the skills and knowledge you need to do the job safely.

The qualification you need will depend on the type of security work you want to do, for example:

  • guarding cash and valuables in transit
  • CCTV operating
  • front line security

You can search for the correct type of training with an approved training provider in your area, through the SIA website.

More Information


Career tips

Experience of working in the police or armed forces could help you get into this job.

Professional and industry bodies

You can join the International Professional Security Association for training and development opportunities.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • customer service skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • concentration skills
  • the ability to monitor your own performance and that of your colleagues
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and Requirements

You'll need to:

When you apply for an SIA licence, checks on your personal and work history will be made, including your criminal record.

The SIA has more advice on applying for a licence and criminal convictions.

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your duties will depend on where you work.

As a security officer you could:

  • patrol premises and secure doors, windows and other entrances
  • monitor CCTV cameras and respond to alarms
  • check staff and visitors in and out of buildings
  • guard cash or other valuables in a security vehicle
  • operate scanning equipment and devices, for example at airports
  • guard important facilities, like power stations and hospitals

Working environment

Your working environment may be physically demanding and outdoors in all weathers.

You may need to wear a uniform.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could become a supervisor or chief security officer.

You could take further qualifications, through an advanced Security First Line Manager apprenticeship to go into security management.

With management experience you could become an area security manager, with responsibility for offices, shops or other facilities across a region.

You could specialise as a consultant, advising businesses on certain types of security, for example close protection, anti-terror measures or conflict management.

You could also set up your own security recruitment agency, or work for companies that develop and sell security systems, like biometrics or surveillance equipment.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Security Control Room Apprentice (1)

  • Wage: £24,500 a year Annually
  • Location: Milton Keynes

Courses In England

Are you interested in becoming a Security officer?

Search for training courses near you.

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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