what is a security guard?

In your role as a security guard, you are responsible for protecting a business or organisation from criminal activity and any other activity that contravenes the organisation's policies. That means you could find yourself guarding a locked building in the middle of the night, a busy shopping centre during business hours, and anything in between. Another common role for a security guard is working on the doors of nightclubs and similar venues. In these situations, the role may be referred to as a 'bouncer' rather than a security guard.

Some of your duties include checking to make sure anyone on the premises you are guarding has the proper ID and authorisation to be there. The nature of your role means the possibility of violence is always there, so you should be physically able and mentally prepared to deal with such eventualities. There are security guard roles where violence is less likely, such as working in a museum.

There is also the possibility of working in much higher-risk security guard roles, such as at banks and airports. For these roles, additional training is usually required. Security guard work is often shift-based, though your hours will depend entirely on your specific job description and your employer's business.

Does the prospect of working in security appeal to you? If so, read on to learn more about what skills and qualifications can help you succeed in this profession.

security guard jobs

average salary of a security guard

According to Payscale, the average salary for a security guard in India is around ₹180,000 per year. Entry-level positions earn around ₹100,000 per year, while the highest earners in this profession can make as much as ₹350,000. This pay is mostly made up of base salary, though bonuses and other incentives may comprise part of your total pay.

factors that affect a security guard's pay

Experience is a significant factor in security guards' pay, though the biggest factor is likely the potential danger you are in. Security guards who do daytime, public-facing jobs are paid less than those dealing with revellers in a nightclub setting. Your experience and ability are major factors in this difference. Security guards who face a higher likelihood of dealing with violent people will be expected to be able to handle themselves, which will often mean they are trained.

Your schedule can also affect your pay. Working unsociable hours—such as a night shift—will generally result in higher pay than normal business hours throughout the day.

security guard
security guard

types of security guard

One of the advantages of being a security guard is that your skills are required in most industries, giving you plenty of options to keep your work life varied if you choose. Below are some of the more common types of security guard jobs you might apply for:

  • general security guards: in this role, you typically work during regular business hours in retail stores and other public venues. As this type of security guard, you are more likely to be dealing with large numbers of the general public during your day.
  • residential security guards: in this role, you guard residential areas, such as local neighbourhoods and apartment complexes. You are on the lookout for criminals and general anti-social behaviour. Your presence deters people who might be thinking of committing a crime in the area.
  • night shift security guards: as the name suggests, in this role you work nights. Your responsibilities can vary significantly, but you usually guard a building that is busy during the day and locked up at night. Examples include museums, retail centres, factories, and anywhere else that criminals may be tempted to target outside regular business hours.
  • armed security guards: in this role, you are trained with firearms and tasked with guarding high-value items. Examples of this role include guarding the secure areas of banks or vehicles transporting money.
  • event/venue guards: event guards can have a varied range of responsibilities, from general security to guarding venue gates and providing protection for performers at the venue.
  • bodyguards: as a bodyguard, you provide a personal service to an individual or individuals, ensuring they are safe to go about their day. The precise terms of this arrangement are unique to each individual. This type of security guard role is often one of the most dangerous, as individuals who need bodyguards are more likely to be confronted or attacked.

working as a security guard

Working as a security guard involves protecting people and property from criminal activity or unwanted attention, in the case of bodyguards and event guards. For the most part, however, the core duties remain the same across all types of security guards.


education and skills

No specific qualifications are required to become a security guard, though most employers require that you have passed the 10th standard. Some certifications may be required by your employer and may improve your chances of being hired or paid more. These include things like first-aid training and conflict management.

skills and competencies

Some of the qualities of a security guard include:

  • focus: the role of a security guard can be quite dull. Indeed, dull is preferable as it means there are no problems. That can make it difficult to maintain focus. You can remain vigilant and aware throughout the hours you are working.
  • physical ability: you are physically able to manage an average member of the public should they become belligerent. You are required to restrain such people as quickly as possible while doing as little harm to them as can reasonably be expected. You may also have to pursue people, such as thieves trying to flee the scene.
  • patience and a cool head: though this applies to all security guard roles, it particularly applies to those who work in places that serve alcohol. Security guards are in a position of power and are expected not to abuse that power. That will occasionally mean dealing with people who are intoxicated and obnoxious.

FAQs about working as a security guard

Here are some common questions about working as a security guard:

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