Updated: Apr 5
A career in security guard work might not seem like it has a lot of opportunities, but you might be surprised. There are many ways that security guard jobs can be a great start to a diverse, exciting and rewarding career. You just have to approach it with an open mindset!
Security Guards: Responsible & Capable
Security guards are responsible for safety and property protection at different establishments. They are the front line of defense against criminal activity, and getting a job as a guard is often a helpful first step in a career in law enforcement. However, not every security guard aspires to be in law enforcement – there are a number of other positions as well.
Security guards are typically contracted by building managers, stadiums, stadiums, golf courses, and more, through a dispatching agency or security company. These companies will have divisions of employees, all the way up to management, legal, and even sometimes IT development positions. The benefit of coming in "at ground level" as a security guard is you will know how things operate.
The wide variety of experiences and skillsets acquired by a security guard can actually be a huge benefit for future career aspirations. Rather than having to face constant “surprises” when looking for a new job, a security guard can be expected to be aware of the security industry and what kind of qualifications are necessary to stand out in the marketplace among other applicants.
What Kind of Careers Can You Branch Into
As a security guard looking for the next step in your career, you have many potential options.
Security Management or Body Guard Did you know that you can specialize and become a professional in physical security? You can either become a boot-on-the-ground tactical expert like a body guard, or get into management where you lead teams of security staff, handle operations, and look at trends to minimize risks to the company or your clients. Start by elevating your skills, such as getting certified in handcuffing and control tactics, tactical communications, Situational Awareness and becoming a member of a professional association such as ASIS.
Law Enforcement Probably the easiest to imagine is branching into a career in law enforcement. This may include national, municipal or private police forces, or community or Alberta peace officers. Your experience dealing with the public, maintaining a secure area, and understanding the basics of law and protection will give you a leg up on your competition.
Private Investigation Private investigation is also a hugely diverse field, with a requirement of knowledge of the law and basics of security principles. They do internal investigations into theft, loss, fraud. They perform audits and look at trends. They may also do private investigation for a firm or their own company. Often it is a good next-step as the required government training is only a 60 hour course.
Emergency Planning & Incident Response Emergency planning and incident response are roles that plan for the unexpected, and manage it when it hits. These roles help communities and businesses continue to function in the midst of a crisis, develop recovery plans, and get back on their feet once the emergency is over.
Military With experience serving the needs of a space or a private company, you may be interested in serving your country. There is always demand for new recruits, and the Canadian military has many diverse divisions and career paths. Your background in security will almost certainly be of interest to the military recruiters, and if you happen to speak another language or two, that is a huge bonus!
Building Management With a background in ensuring secure perimeters, and an eye for detail, you will most likely have what it takes to help as a building manager. Most major cities have plenty of positions for building management, and they can even include perks like onsite living arrangements at a highly reduced rate.
Hospitality You understand how to manage a space – you may want to bring that skillset to a space like a restaurant or a hotel and aid in management. Timeliness, a sense of responsibility, attentiveness, and planning ahead are all shared skillsets between the security industry and hospitality.
Training and Professional or Adult Learning There are huge opportunities in professional training and learning – especially if you happen to have industry background. With so much of Canada’s workforce involved in heavy industry, construction, and manufacturing, there is a constant need of trainers and course administrators. Your background in security will pair well with strong communication skills to support your career in professional training if you choose to pursue it.
Preparing for Your Future
Things to do to ensure you have a path forward in your career in security, law enforcement, or any of the other paths outlined above:
Take classes in security, law enforcement, and emergency response, especially all courses that Tip of Spear offers.
Find a mentor or trainer
Develop strong communication skills
Network with other security guards to create relationships across the industry in your local area
Keep your resume updated
Learn French if you have not already – even beginner’s level is useful for careers in Canada
Keep developing yourself! A track record of course or program completions for self development is a huge advantage when speaking with employers
Your Next Steps
Whether you want to continue working in the security industry, or you hope to branch out one day, the best thing you can do for yourself today is to give yourself options. Learn, train, network, and be aware of opportunities.
Security guard jobs are more than meets the eye. With dedication and a “can-do” attitude, they can be a springboard to a fulfilling career and a lot of great experiences. Employers respect people who can put in an honest day’s work – your background in security will be valuable to many potential companies as long as you take it seriously and put in the work necessary to get where you want to be.