A Job Description of a Physical Security Specialist


A physical security specialist is someone who handles the safety of an establishment and its patrons. Security specialists guard the premises of everything from hospitals to government agencies to armored vehicles to cemeteries to banks to nightclubs. They not only protect patrons but also guard the property against damage or theft. Many security specialists work odd hours that involve evenings, weekends and overnight shifts.


  • Physical security specialists monitor the premises of their workplaces on foot or with the help of security cameras. Their top priority is to make sure everyone frequenting an establishment has a legal right to be there and that everyone's conduct is in line with the establishment's policies and guidelines. Security specialists might break up or prevent confrontations between patrons or prohibit a patron from entering an establishment for not wearing proper attire. If a situation gets out of control, security specialists often call local law enforcement officials for assistance.


  • Physical security specialists must be aware of their surroundings and the behavior of guests at the establishment. Many also need to have the strength and stamina to spend hours on their feet and, in worst-case scenarios, become involved in a physical confrontation. Those who are armed also need to be able to determine when a weapon should be used as well as the proper way to use it. Security specialists should also be confident, professional and analytical enough to accurately assess various types of situations.


  • Most physical security specialists must obtain a license or certificate before being allowed to protect establishments. Licenses vary by state, but almost all consist of a drug test, background check, classwork, training and exams. Some already work in law enforcement and work as security specialists as a second job.


  • People and business owners will always want to feel safe. Therefore, opportunities for physical security specialists are likely to always be abundant. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for security guards will grow by 14 percent through 2018.


  • Physical security specialists typically earn salaries in line with their experience, as well as the establishment that they are protecting. PayScale.com reported that security guards earned anywhere from $19,000 to more than $28,000 per year in April 2010. PayScale.com also estimated that 80 percent of security guards in 2010 were male.

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  • Photo Credit street cop image by Aaron Kohr from Fotolia.com
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