How to Become an <br>Unarmed Security Guard

How to Become an
Unarmed Security Guard

Gabriela Bercenas
By Gabriela Bercenas - Content Strategist
Last Updated: April 20, 2023
Rate This Article:

Are you interested in protecting people and looking into a career in security? This how to become an unarmed security guard guide has all the information you’ll need to train and prepare for this job, including education, salary info and more.

You’ll also find well-written unarmed security guard resume examples and a professional Resume Builder to help you apply for a job opening.

If you are having writers block, our resume examples can help. Choose from hundreds of job titles to find the right example for your needs.

One extra step to impress a manager: A growing number of hiring professionals read cover letters to determine whether they’ll interview a candidate or not. Use our cover letter templates to craft a complete application that lands you the interview.

brands image

What Does an Unarmed Security Guard Do?

An unarmed security guard is a public safety officer that protects and surveys an assigned area for illegal activities, suspicious behavior or dangerous situations without carrying a weapon. They work in various places, including retail stores, residences, entertainment venues, hospitals, banks and power plants.

Some everyday unarmed security guard duties and responsibilities include:

  • Monitor and protect the property assigned to them against criminal activity and damage.

  • Monitor the flow of people and activities to identify and respond to suspicious behavior.

  • Station themselves at specific entry points, such as gatehouses or doors, or patrol the area on foot or in a vehicle.

  • Patrol an area on foot or by vehicle and conduct security checks.

  • May be in charge of ensuring the security of a building or area, needing to routinely patrol the area to identify anything unusual.

  • Monitor closed-circuit TV (CCTV) cameras for suspicious or illegal activity, such as shoplifting or vandalism.

  • Detain the violators if illegal activity is observed until authorities can take them into custody.

  • Oversee access points to a building by verifying employees' and visitors' identities and using metal detectors to check belongings.

  • Notify police, fire or ambulance services and secure the area before their arrival.

How Do You Become an Unarmed Security Guard?

Job prospects for unarmed security guards are strong, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting a 3% growth for all security guards, both armed and unarmed, through 2031. This steady job growth translates to an estimated 155,900 job openings per year. This high number of jobs, coupled with the high turnover in the industry, should mean plenty of job openings.

Follow these steps to become an unarmed security guard.


Step 1: Finish your high school education.

Becoming an unarmed security guard usually requires a high school diploma or equivalent, although some jobs may not have any education requirements.


Step 2: Consider an optional associate degree.

Most employers don’t require more than a high school diploma or equivalent. Still, an associate or bachelor’s degree in security and protective service or social science will make you seem qualified.


Step 3: Apply for an entry-level job opening to start training.

Training for the position is usually supplied by the employer, and the type and length of training vary based on the employer and job duties. You can review our detailed unarmed security guard resume samples to learn how your fellow applicants describe their observational and security skills.


Step 4: Finish eight hours of pre-assignment training.

Many employers will provide up to eight hours of pre-assignment training before you receive an on-site assignment.


Step 5: Undergo 8-16 hours of on-the-job training.

On average, the training takes place over a few weeks, during which the new hire learns the essentials of the job, such as emergency procedures, detention of suspected criminals, securing a property and proper communication.


Step 6: Renew your qualifications with an annual eight-hour training.

Most states require that you register with a regional department of security. These departments often require annual training to re-register for the state and remain licensed to work.

If you’d like to improve your application materials, check out our Resume Builder. Our builder provides applicant tracking system (ATS-friendly) resume templates and job-specific content written by certified resume writing practices.

Unarmed Security Guard Skills

The job of the unarmed security guard requires constant vigilance despite performing often-repetitive tasks. They often interact with the public regularly, so good people skills are also a plus. Additional skills that can help you on the job include:

Technical skills:

1Physical fitness to follow and apprehend offenders.
2Familiarity with emergency procedures, crime prevention and collaborative communication.
3Review and troubleshoot audio and video monitoring technology.

Soft skills:

1Good communication skills, especially active listening.
2Ability to work flexible hours, including nights and weekends.
3Ability to read, write and document observations in a security log.
4Observant, detail-oriented candidates who can stay focused and won’t be easily distracted or bored.
5Strong decision-making abilities to respond to emergencies with a calm head and react well to stressful or dangerous scenarios.

Insights from an Unarmed Security Guard

To give you a better idea of what goes into becoming an Historian, we talked to Robert D. Sollars, a 33-year security veteran who started his career as a guard. Here’s what he told us.

What is the common career path for an Unarmed Security Guard?

Because of the turnover rate there is no path unless you make your own. If you are fortunate then the contractor will recognize your brilliance and begin to promote you up the ladder. You can progress to supervisor, manager, and if you are lucky up the ladder to a corporate position.

What should someone consider before becoming an Unarmed Security Guard?

Are they willing and able to work any shift and any hours they are needed? This is one of the true requirements of the field. Another is that generally you can be alone for up to 12 - 16 hours at a time in a dark warehouse on the weekend. Can they handle people swearing at them and blaming them for everything that happens bad to them because of something that management did or said? Are they detailed oriented? Can they be hyper vigilant about sounds in the facility especially if they are after hours and they are the only ones there? Do they truly like helping people and not just something temporary? Do they get satisfaction knowing that their job is done correctly and that they will never know if they stop a crime? Are they interested in learning both at work and away from it?

What type of person excels in this job?

Someone who is dedicated to helping others and wants to contribute to society by protecting lives, property, and staying alert to any type of threat. Also, having a customer service background is extremely helpful. When I was hiring, I always looked for someone who could think outside-of-the-box to solve problems.

What are some of the most important skills for an Unarmed Security Guard to have? 

Customer service, creativity, ability to notice the little things, detailed oriented, doesn’t mind being alone and works well either alone or with others. Additionally, it does help to be curious and willing to learn, adapt, and change quickly as the circumstances change.

What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of being an Unarmed Security Guard?

For me it was the fact of safeguarding the lives and property of the client I worked for. It’s not often you’ll get one person protecting dozens, if not hundreds or thousands, of people and billions of dollars of equipment on a daily basis.

Add to that the idea that the field is constantly changing and evolving. It makes it exciting to be a part of the international community - from fighting terrorism and workplace violence to ordinary crime such as theft and vandalism.

How Much Do Unarmed Security Guards Get Paid?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistic, the median yearly salary in the United States for all Security Guards, Armed and Unarmed, is $24,630. The lowest 10 percent of Security Guards earned less than $18,350 per year, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $45,010 annually.

Top 10 States for Unarmed Security Guard Salary

Unarmed Security Guards in the following states make the highest median annual wage in the U.S.

    District of Columbia








    New York






    North Dakota


    New Hampshire




    Unarmed Security Guard Resources

    We put together this handy list of additional resources to help you find even more information as you continue to explore a career as an Historian.

    On the Web

    This website provides training and useful information to begin a career as an Unarmed Security Guard.

    While focused on online training, this website also has a great blog with lots of tips and insights into the job requirements of an Unarmed Security Guard.

    Industry Groups

    National Association of Security Companies
    NASCO represents private security companies, and the website has lots of industry news, events and other resources.

    International Foundation for Protection Officers
    This global organization offers education and training for Unarmed Security Guards, as well as news and a blog.