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Bouncer Duties and Responsibilities

According to our search of dozens of job listings, these are the specific duties normally assigned to bouncers:

Control the Crowd This begins with controlling the flow of foot traffic into a bar or club and includes removing patrons who get too rowdy, using problem-solving skills to settle disputes in a respectful manner,and contacting the authorities when a situation gets beyond the bouncer's control.

Check Identification

Since bouncers are most often employed in places that serve alcohol, they must check guest IDs at the door to make sure each person in the building is at least 21 years old. Bouncers are also challenged with spotting fake IDs.

Ensure Security

People at clubs and bars are usually drinking heavily, which can create an unsafe atmosphere. It's up to the bouncer to make sure that everyone is protected. This may include frisking patrons to ensure they do not have any weapons, drugs, or other illegal contraband.

Greet Customers

Bouncers need to be personable and friendly to guests who enter and leave the facility, as interactions with bouncers are part of the entertainment experience.

Monitor Guest Lists and Dress Codes

Some events are invite only, and it's up to the bouncer to make sure that people who are not on the guest list are not permitted to enter the event. Bouncers must also ensure that customers adhere to the establishment's specific dress code.

Collecting Cover Charges

Many nightclubs and bars require a cover charge for entry. It is most often the bouncer's job to collect and handle this money.


Bouncer Skills and Qualifications

Bouncers must effectively walk the line between maintaining an authoritative demeanor while also being respectful of guests and their privacy. In addition, bouncers must be physically and mentally able to handle a nearly endless number of potential situations. Employers interested in hiring bouncers prefer candidates with the following skills:
  • Physical fitness - bouncers need to be physically up to the task of forcibly removing individuals from the premises or breaking up altercations between guests. Bar and club owners often prefer bouncers who are tall, large, and intimidating
  • Security experience - bouncers are tasked with making split-second decisions, so prior security experience helps prevent overreactions, the escalation of bad situations, and poor decision-making
  • Familiarity with safety protocols - bouncers must know how to keep a large group of people safe, when to remove a person from the premises, and when it's time to call the police
  • Situational awareness - patrolling a dark club with dozens or even hundreds of guests requires a bouncer to have excellent vision and to be extremely observant and aware of their surroundings
  • Professionalism - it's critical for bouncers to not show any favoritism to certain guests and to always carry themselves in a professional manner in often chaotic environments
  • Problem-solving skills - problems arise when you mix lots of alcohol and a large amount of people in a small space, and bouncers must resolve these problems quickly and effectively

Bouncer Education and Training

Bouncers don't need any education other than a high school diploma in most cases. Candidates who have training in martial arts, self defense, conflict resolution, and crowd control will likely be more sought after. Individuals with military or law enforcement experience are ideal candidates to become bouncers.

Bouncer Salary and Outlook

According to Glassdoor, the average annual salary for a bouncer is $21,740, with salaries topping out at around $28,000. However, several listings show much higher salaries depending on experience, appearance, skill, and the type of crowd expected at the venue. This pay is often for a part-time or even seasonal position, as bouncers rarely log 40-hour workweeks. Both the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Monster predict that security jobs will grow 6 percent over the coming decades.

Helpful Resources

Below we've identified some of the best resources for individuals looking to pursue a career as a bouncer:

Security Guard Training HQ - this career center details specific security training requirements for each state

Nightclub Security Consultants - here prospective bouncers can find online and in-person job training

Silvertrac - catered toward security guards, this blog features free resources like webinars, e-books, and job tools eduGuard - this online training center provides career guides and other resources for security guards, including more than 80 hours of online courses

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