A security officer needs:
- good communication and negotiation skills
- to be responsible and trustworthy
- to be observant and alert
- to be physically fit
Security officers usually do shift work, which may include nights, weekends and public holidays. Some security officers work at a single location, while others travel between a number of sites in each shift.
Security officers usually spend long periods of time on their feet as they patrol the premises they are stationed at. They may have a high level of contact with the public, and at times may experience verbal or physical abuse. However, they receive training to deal with these difficult situations quickly and safely, to minimise the danger to all parties, including themselves.
On average, security officers and guards can expect to earn between $1 000 and $1 249 per week ($52 000 and $64 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a security officer develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.
Most security officers use radios and mobile phones to stay in contact with a partner or central office in case back up is needed. They also use electronic alarm systems and Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) to assist in monitoring premises and identifying potential incidents. Security Officers who patrol more than one location will also have to drive between sites, often in cars fitted with spotlights.
With special licenses some security officers are also permitted to carry guns or batons in certain circumstances. Some security officers may patrol with specially trained dogs.
They are also usually required to wear a uniform, though some may patrol in plain clothes.
To become a security officer, you usually need to complete a formal qualification in security operations.
The Certificate II in Security Operations is offered at registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.
You can also complete a traineeship. The security officer (armed), (unarmed) and (with guard dog) traineeships usually take six months to complete.
To work as a security officer in Western Australia, you need to be at least 18 years old, hold a current Provide First Aid Certificate, and must obtain a Security Officer License, issued by the Licensing Services Division of the Western Australian Police. You will also need to undergo a reference check and National Police History Check conducted by Licensing Services (Security). Contact the WA Police Licensing Services for more information.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.
If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
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If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.