Updated: Aug 29
Specialties in the Security Field
In this day and age, the need for Physical Security has never been higher, and it continues to grow. For people considering to obtain education to acquire various specialties in the Security field, there are several different avenues into the industry. A lot of new security professionals can get stuck or discouraged within their career path, so here are a few different ways to go:
Specialties in the Security Field you may want to consider.
When someone says they work in Security, a common misconception that will pop into their heads is that of the overweight security guard standing in a mall (ala Paul Blart, mall cop). Yes, facility security is easily the most common field in security but is often the first step in a successful career in the security industry. Most Security guards who work at facilities use it as a steppingstone to reach other jobs in the security industry, or just to supplement their income. The most basic requirements for guards in California, in most states facility guards need a guard card, and will make slightly more than minimum wage, although many facilities pay much better. Some facilities have armed positions, in which case they must maintain their exposed carry permit and will make several more dollars an hour more than their unarmed counterparts. The main function of all facility guards is prevention, standing tall, and discouraging would-be criminals from trying anything at their site. In an actual event, they are to observe and report, making sure to get the details of the encounter accurately in the report to the police. It should also be noted that several of the Directors of highly established security companies started out as a Security guard at a facility.
And where Facility Security Guards are by far the most common, there are many different opportunities and specialties in the security industry. Here are a few of them:
Generally employed by companies catering to wealthy and high-profile people, the job of the Estate Security Agent is usually much better than facilities. They have great equipment, good facilities to work in, and much higher pay than a Facility guard. The basic requirements are similar also, Guard Card and Exposed Carry permits often being a necessity. But the biggest difference is the expectation of the clients. Estate Agents are held to a higher standard than Facility guards and have little to no room for error. They must always be alert and observing everything on the entire property, since clients will call with no warning asking about the location of a pet, car, child, or employee and they expect the Agent to know where everyone and everything is at all times. Good estate agents will spend years working at one account for one client, with good benefits and excellent job security. In an actual crisis event, an estate agent is expected to do everything in their power to ensure the safety of the client and their families; not just observing and reporting.
The second most common image that pops into people’s minds when they say security is the role of the “Bodyguard.” Used throughout the ages, and made even more famous in movies, the Close Protection Specialist is easily the most glamorous of security field occupations. It is also the highest paying, most demanding, and the hardest of the security jobs as well. To be a good Close Protection Specialist, you need to be highly trained in the field, ready for anything at any time, and always be planning for any eventuality. You should be in great physical condition, since you will be standing on your feet for hours at a time and will need to perform in an instant for any threats. You will also have to adapt your lifestyle to suit your clients, whenever they are up and moving, you are as well. Another hard part is always being “in the moment.” Ensuring that your situational awareness is always on point is mentally exhausting, and easily one of the hardest parts of the job. A Close Protection Specialist is expected to do everything in their power to protect their client but is often limited by the situation (a celebrity might have an excited fan run up to give them a hug, and it would be VERY bad if you use a taser on them).
Most Close Protection Specialists work part-time, often for weeks or months at a time with large breaks in between, and little notice before the next job. Many are employed by security firms, but some have built up a reputation on their own and work for a few (or one) set clients. The down time allows them to work other part time security jobs.
The Event Security Agent is a mix of all the above. Each event will have similarities, but will all be unique in their own way, with their own challenges and rewards. Agents will always be expected to act professionally, at the highest levels of scrutiny and in full view of the public. You must be a problem solver and ensure that small incidents do not take away from the overall event. I have worked in the security industry for many years and have risen through the ranks to supervise agents in many areas. I recently supervised an event, where more than 20 individuals tried to enter (separately over the night) who were not on the guest list and needed to be removed from the property, and a fight broke out amongst guests and they needed to be removed as well. Everything was handled quietly and efficiently, and the host afterwards heard rumors of the fight, but had no idea about the party crashers… or the incidents with the valet… or the car accident… Everything was given to him in a report afterwards (in case they needed the information afterwards for legal reasons). Event security is a great part time job, and good teams get paid very well.
Sadly, the events of the world are opening people’s eyes to the need for specialized Executive Protection Training . School security agents have a tough job. They need to be highly trained, ready to react, able to view everything that’s going on, but also need to deal with children and the laws that protect them. Schools have their own set of laws that make them different from all other areas. And dealing with children is a much more difficult proposition than adults. Your demeanor, attitude, and patience will be tested constantly.
Other Specialties in the Security Field
There are still many more Specialties in the Security Field out there. Overseas contractors, Port security, and Cyber security to name a few. They all are very different but built on the same principles. They also share one very important detail: they all constantly evolve! So, be sure to stay up to date on your training and continue to learn new things!