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Security Officer vs. Security Guard: What’s the Difference?

Choosing a job or career in the security industry is a great option for candidates seeking steady employment with the opportunity for growth. Besides these benefits, working in security can help you build on useful skills and provide a unique, behind-the-scenes look at various industries.

When deciding if the security industry is right for you, there are a few things to consider. One of them is whether you want to be a security officer or a security guard. Similar names, similar objectives. But without previous knowledge of the industry, you might not be sure what the difference is. Let’s break it down.


What’s a security officer?

A security officer typically holds more of a management-level position and is likely responsible for delegating tasks to security guards. Because they hold more responsibility, officers are required to have more training and experience – which leads to a higher salary.

In addition to managing the security guards, officers generally oversee all security related operations, like assisting with scheduling and staffing. One key factor to know is that most security officers won’t be stationed in one place: they’ll be on the move to make sure operations are running smoothly. In addition to the right experience, the ideal security officer has the following skills:

  • Organization

  • Multi-tasking

  • Tactfulness

Well, then what’s a security guard?

Working underneath the security officer, a security guard is often thought of as the face of the entire security operation. This will be who people interact with first and represents not only the security team, but also the business or venue they’re working at. As opposed to a security officer, guards are likely stationed in one place like entrances, gates, or other assigned checkpoints.

Security guards are a more entry level position but offer fantastic room for growth, especially if you’ve got your sights set on becoming an officer. The guard position also requires less technical experience, which also means it pays less than a security officer. Regardless, this is a great position to get your foot in the door of the security industry. Successful security guards have the following skills:

  • Time management

  • Customer service

  • Flexibility

To have a successful security team, both security officers and security guards need to work together. Each position has a special role in making sure assets are protected and operations run smoothly. If you’re considering a job in the security industry, your first move should be to gather information and decide what position is right for you. If you have any questions or are looking for a great gig in the security industry, contact Eclipse today.

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