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Security Agent Skills and Qualifications

Security agents should have a calm disposition, the ability to act quickly and efficiently in stressful situations, and the observation skills to spot anything that may pose a threat. Typically, employers require a high school diploma as well as the following abilities:
  • Communication skills - security agents should be able to communicate clearly and calmly in all situations, making their points heard without losing their temper or professional manner
  • Attention to detail - security agents need to quickly spots threats and other issues that could pose danger but might otherwise be overlooked, so candidates for this job need keen observation skills
  • Patience - while being prepared is helpful, this job can also involve hours spent standing and observing a designated area with nothing to do, so patience and stamina are vital
  • Good judgment - security agents need to quickly assess situations and decide whether further action needs to be taken, so good judgement is a key skill to have in this role
  • Problem-solving skills - sometimes security agents find themselves in difficult situations that they haven't prepared for. In these cases, the ability to troubleshoot and find a solution to the problem is important

Security Agent Education and Training

The minimum requirement to become a security agent is a high school diploma, although most states also require people in this role to be registered with the state, especially if they carry a firearm. Employers typically provide a training program, but the amount of training received varies from job to job. Most security agents learn their job in a few weeks, learning emergency procedures, how to detain suspected criminals, and how to communicate effectively.

Security Agent Salary and Outlook

The median annual salary for security agents is $33,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Security agents in the 10th percentile earn around $23,000 annually, while the highest paid earn close to $55,000 a year. Some companies offer packages that reach up to $5,000 from bonus structures based on individual or group performances, and profit-sharing opportunities can exceed $5,800. Around half of all employers hiring for this position offer dental plans and medical insurance as part of their benefits package. The BLS predicts that this sector will grow 6 percent through 2026.

Helpful Resources

We've collected some of the best resources to help you learn more about becoming a security agent:

Basic Security Fundamentals: A Realist Primer for Security Guards - this practical guide for entry-level security professionals covers a wide variety of topics, from different types of employers to the duties that can be expected under a security agent's responsibilities

Security Guard Training Manual: The American Security Guard - as this book points out, different states have different laws, but almost all of them include the educational requirements and training discussed here. Covering bomb threats, fire evacuation, ethics, and how to observe more effectively, this text is a comprehensive overview of the security agent's role

"10 Crucial Duties of a Security Guard or Bodyguard" - the duties of a security agent can vary from company to company, but this blog post sheds light on some of the more critical tasks they regularly perform

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