A retail security officer guards the premises for a retail store. Retail security officers ensure the safety at such places as clothing stores, electronics shops or even automobile dealerships. They guard the retail establishment against theft, property damage and the occasional unruly customer. And, of course, they keep a close eye on the cash register and vault.
Retail security officers aren't always uniformed. Some use the assistance of cameras to watch over customers. Either way, they must act swiftly and confidently when dealing with suspicious activity. Retail security officers have to be prepared to use force, particularly when it comes to apprehending and detaining shoplifting suspects. Most retail security officers spend a long time on their feet, walking the premises and staying alert.
Retail security officers need to be aware of their surroundings at all times. They need to be strong communicators, able to convey critical information to suspects, store employees and, if needed, law enforcement officials when things go wrong. They should be confident, professional, assertive when necessary and not easily rattled. They need to possess strength and stamina in the event they are forced to chase down or restrain a suspect.
Most security officers must possess a high school diploma and a license. Licensure typically involves coursework, testing and background checks. Retail security officers can usually learn on the job with minimal training, provided they possess the confidence, work ethic and overall abilities needed for the position. Some have worked security in other establishments, such as hospitals or nightclubs, before finding employment in the retail field.
More and more retail stores are finding a need for security, particularly when it comes to preventing shoplifting and property damage. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for security guards are expected to increase by 14 percent between 2008 and 2018, which is slightly higher than the average growth rate for all other occupations. More than 1 million workers were employed as security officers in 2008, the BLS reported.
Salaries for security officers, including those in the retail sector, vary by their experience and overall responsibilities, but most make between $20,000 and $30,000 per year. According to PayScale.com, security guards earned anywhere from $19,451 to $28,660 per year in April 2010. The BLS listed the median annual salary for a security guard at $23,460 in May 2008.
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