In this section, we want to give you a clear idea of what you can expect to earn in this career. We use two sources of data here: the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which asks employers to classify their workforce and to report salaries using the SOC-specialty level of reporting, and the American Community Survey (ACS), which asks people to classify their jobs using the broad classifications that ididio uses for career profiles, and to self-report their salaries. For some jobs, the differences in survey approaches between BLS and ACS can paint a very different end-picture. In particular, the ACS data is reported for the larger career group security guards and gaming surveillance officers, which combines the data for 2 careers, including security guards. Whenever possible, we provide data from both sources.
The biggest take-away from the following two charts is the relationship between salary and experience that we can infer from age. Does this job seem to attract especially younger or older workers? Does it reward experience?
Take a minute a look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working in this career changes. We only provide this data when there are enough consistent ACS survey responses to allow a reasonable margin of error, so for some careers you will see gaps in our reporting of salary by age.
With 23% women, this occupation has a lower percentage of women than 61% of careers.
As we'll illustrate at the bottom of this section, the median salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 20%. The situation is a little better for security guards and gaming surveillance officers, with the median salary for men 6% higher than the median salary for women. This chart shows you the salary range for most workers by gender.
Nationwide there are twenty careers for which men do not have a higher median (middle) salary than women. The chart below shows the salary inequity, the percentage by which the median men's salary is higher than the median women's salary, for most jobs. Security guards and gaming surveillance officers have one of the smaller percentage increases for men's salary, with the increase the men's median salary over the women's median salary in this job lower than that for 83% of other jobs.
The representation of minority and foreign-born workers is quite different between careers, and the relative pay of those workers also varies significantly between careers. There is a higher percentage of minority security guards and gaming surveillance officers than for 96% of other careers. The percentage of foreign-born workers in this career is near the middle of all careers.
For some careers, there is a pay disparity depending on race or origin, though this is not prevalent. We calculate standard errors for all of our calculations, and when the error is high we do not show results. Therefore, for some jobs will have omitted race/origin categories.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), security guards typically hold a high school diploma or equivalent.
Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as security guards and gaming surveillance officers as reported in responses to the American Community Survey. Following, we investigate whether education level influences salary for security guards and gaming surveillance officers.
Security guards generally need a high school diploma or equivalent, although some jobs may not have any education requirements. Gaming surveillance officers also need a high school diploma or equivalent and may need experience with video surveillance technology depending upon assignment.
Most states require that security guards be registered with the state in which they work. Although registration requirements vary by state, basic qualifications for candidates are as follows:
Guards who carry weapons usually must be registered by the appropriate government authority. Armed guard positions have more stringent background checks and entry requirements than those of unarmed guards. Rigorous hiring and screening programs, including background, criminal record, and fingerprint checks, are required for armed guards in most states.
Some jobs may also require a driver's license.
What level of education is truly needed for security guards and gaming surveillance officers? Below we see the distribution of security guards and gaming surveillance officers salaries based on the education attained. These comparisons are based on all survey responses by those who identified themselves as security guards and gaming surveillance officers, and are not intended as a statistical analysis of salary differences that would correct for non-educational factors that could contribute to high or low earnings.
What jobs will most security guards and gaming surveillance officers hold next year?
The data in this chart comes from person interviews for the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The survey interviews households eight times over a two-year period, allowing us a glimpse into how people move from job to job. You can see more details from the results of the survey in our last tab in this section, and you can read about our methodology in our source descriptions.
Here we see all of the jobs that at least 1% of security guards and gaming surveillance officers reported holding in their second year's survey. Is your future job on this list?
A lateral career transition is a move to a job with similar pay and responsibilities. A move to such a job can offer a change of pace without an increase in stress or a decrease in pay. The following table simply identifies all 2 jobs which were held by at least 1% of survey respondents before working as security guards and gaming surveillance officers as well as 1% of respondents after working as security guards and gaming surveillance officers. Select a row to investigate the job's full description and determine if it truly offers an opportunity for a lateral transition.
What do people typically do before and after they work as security guards and gaming surveillance officers? Here are the full lists of all jobs that at least 1% of security guards and gaming surveillance officers surveyed reported as holding a year earlier or later.
Security guards and gaming surveillance officers typically do the following:
Guards and officers must remain alert, looking out for anything unusual. In an emergency, they are required to call for assistance from police, fire, or ambulance services. Some security guards are armed.
A security guard’s responsibilities vary from one employer to another. In retail stores, guards protect people, merchandise, money, and equipment. They may work with undercover store detectives to prevent theft by customers and employees, detain shoplifting suspects until the police arrive, and patrol parking lots.
In offices and factories, security guards protect workers and equipment and check the credentials of people and vehicles entering and leaving the premises.
Security guards work in many other environments, because they work wherever people and assets need to be protected.
Security guards, also called security officers, protect property, enforce rules on the property, and deter criminal activity. Some guards are assigned a stationary position from which they monitor alarms or surveillance cameras. Other guards are assigned a patrol area where they conduct security checks.
Gaming surveillance officers and gaming investigators act as security agents for casinos. Using audio and video equipment in an observation room, they watch casino operations for suspicious activities, such as cheating and theft, and monitor compliance with rules, regulations, and laws. They maintain and organize recordings from security cameras, which are sometimes used as evidence in police investigations.
Can you see yourself in the ranks of security guards? Here are the skills and traits that could lead to success.
In 2018, the median (middle) for 89% of all other jobs were higher than the median (middle) salary for security guards. This graphic shows how the salary distribution (adjusted for inflation) has changed for this job over recent years. The gray line, as a comparison, shows the median salary of all US workers.
Currently, jobs for security guards are anticipated to grow by 6% over the next decade; 57% of jobs are projected to grow more.
The projected employment for security guards is the best guess created by talented economists and statisticians at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, as you look through several careers you'll notice that the projections are heavily influenced by past performance and may miss current trends. No one can tell the future, and as new information and better techniques are developed, actual counts and future projections may change. Here's a glimpse at the actual counts versus the projections over time.
Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.
Which states hire the most security guards? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as security guards. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.
This map defaults to employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides job totals carefully compiled for accuracy and with a primary focus on how employers describe their workers. The BLS job totals do not count self-employed workers. We've also compiled totals using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) which are based on how workers describe themselves. Sometimes ACS results are quite a bit different from the employer-based BLS data.
One important factor in the differences between ACS and BLS data is that the ACS numbers are for all security guards and gaming surveillance officers, comprised of all specialities listed in the menu bar, and you can choose to view the BLS at the specialty or full career level.
We use two methods to compare salaries across states:
We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.
We have two sources for statewide salary information with important distinctions. The BLS data is created by surveying companies, missing individuals who are self-employed or work for smaller companies. The ACS data is compiled from multi-faceted household surveys and may reflect the inconsistencies that people may have in reporting information. The ACS salaries are for all security guards and gaming surveillance officers, which combines the specialities from which you can choose at the top of the page.
If this job interests you, then use the dots below to find other jobs you might like. The dots closer to the top represent jobs that are like Security Guards and Gaming Surveillance Officers (shown with a blue star). Look for the dots to the right to find the best salaries! (We pulled salary data from BLS, and they give a top salary value of just over $200K to protect privacy, so our graph would go much higher if the salaries were not top coded.)
There are a number of ways to measure the similarity of jobs, here are a few we provide: