A job as a security guard can provide you with a dynamic workplace, career advancement opportunity, and depending on the employer can include advantages like paid vacation and full medical benefits. There are companies hiring entry-level job seekers with no experience in the field, providing that you complete the required training.
A more seasoned job seeker can branch out into related career paths such as security management (both in a security company but also incorporate security), a private investigator, a police officer, corrections personnel, RCMP, CSIS, and more.
In a world where asset protection is increasingly important, the market for security guards in Canada is quite robust. Professionals with the right training are in high demand. Security guards play a significant role in many aspects of modern life, such as guarding an office building, construction site, shopping malls, transportation centers, trade shows, warehouses, educational institutes, religious centers, event venues, supermarkets, banks, and government buildings.
On a daily basis, our eyes may skim over security personnel, as part of the job is to blend in rather than stick out. But the next time you’re out and about, take a look at what an integral role security guards play in keeping things running smoothly. In a crisis, people look to security staff for guidance and reassurance that things are being handled.
If you’re highly motivated, have a strong work ethic and desire a career with the potential for advancement, being a security guard could be a promising future for you. Before embarking on a new career as a security guard, it’s important to know what it entails and what it takes to excel.
Eligibility, Licence, and Certifications
A valid and up-to-date security license is a prerequisite to be certified to work as security personnel across Canada. Requirements vary depending on the province. To start with, applicants must be at least 18 years of age, legally permitted to work in the country and pass a criminal background screening.
To advance your career from a standard security guard position to a specialized position, you must pursue additional certifications. This demonstrates to potential employers that you value your career path and continually strive to be the best security professional that you can be.
Types of Security Personnel
Choosing your niche within the security profession gives you a lot to consider. You can begin with an assessment of the daily duties the job requires and the environment in which the job takes place.
Standard Security Guards
This position is the most common type of security staff. In this type of job, you may be hired directly by the company that owns the premises and items being guarded, or more commonly you would be employed by a private security company that serves multiple clients. At different times, you may be assigned to different locations, such as a bank or a construction site.
Specialized Security Guards
Some types of security require advanced, specialized training, such as guarding of a private art collection, an airport, an exotic animal sanctuary, a scientific research facility, a chemical plant, or other locations with specialized security needs. The possibilities are virtually endless for a career as a specialized security guard.
Crowd Control Guards
For large public events and festivals, crowd control guards are needed to help guide, inform, patrol, and supervise the crowd. Often in situations of overcrowding or high tension, such as following a big loss for a local sports team, crowd control guards are responsible for managing the situation by providing clear instructions, preventing scuffles and keeping a level head.
A Truly Dynamic Career
A career in the security industry provides the opportunity to find a vocation that works for you. For example, if you feel a strong sense of duty, enjoy helping and protecting vulnerable people, and are detail-oriented, you may be stationed at the front and center of a building. It will be your responsibility to screen and greet everyone upon arrival and to ensure that everyone entering the building is authorized to be there. This is an excellent option if you are an outgoing, extroverted person who enjoys developing a cordial rapport with the regulars.
Those who identify as introverts can also excel as a security professional, such as the night shift where you would patrol the vicinity rather than greet and admit people. It would be your responsibility to protect and guard against threats to property, such as theft and vandalism.
Pursuing a career as a security guard can be a great option for students in college or university since the flexible hours are helpful to suit your study schedule. Even if your career path is eventually headed in a different direction, a security job can provide your resume with years of experience that shows a commitment to professionalism and work ethic.
Skills Required in the Security Industry
To be successful as a security guard, there is a wide range of skills necessary. Communication is integral to this position, both in terms of listening and speaking. One of the basic tasks of your role is to follow the given protocol. Typically this is handed over via a list of instructions, or it may be your job to write notes given verbally by your supervisor. Similarly, communicating directions to the public is a basic task. This becomes incredibly necessary when working with a large crowd or with the general public to ensure their safety. Giving clear, strong verbal directions to the crowd is a must to avoid confusion and panic.
Quick, flexible thinking is a skill required. Your initial assessment of a situation may need to shift rapidly to address a new aspect. In some incidents, the need for security guards to use common sense and quick thinking is imperative, before a situation gets out of control. Always rely on your training and follow the steps outlined to implement security and crowd control measures.
Being a security guard is more than just patrolling your surroundings—you have to be adaptable. Being able to adapt to a number of different conditions and demands are required to successfully perform your job. You should cultivate calming techniques and stress-reducing measures into your routine, which will help when you need to quickly pivot and adapt on the spot.
Finally, the skill of continuous learning is key to be a security guard. Today, technology is ever-changing, so there is a need for security guards to be highly trained on an ongoing basis. Personnel must be tech-savvy, including training on many devices and systems. Continuous professional training is necessary for today’s security guards to meet industry requirements, and to excel throughout their career.