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Occupational Profile

Security Guard

Security guards protect an organization's property, personnel and information against fire, theft, vandalism and illegal entry.

  • Avg. Salary $35,700.00
  • Avg. Wage $18.10
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook Up
Also Known As

Asset Protection Officer, Guard, Loss Prevention Officer

NOC & Interest Codes
The Security Guard is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Security Guards and Related Occupations
NOC code: 6651
METHODICAL

Interest in copying to perform security checks of passengers and luggage at airports; to operate security control room equipment to monitor establishment activities; to ensure that establishment safety and emergency procedures are followed; and to enforce regulations of establishments to maintain order

social

Interest in speaking with visitors to control access to organizations, issue passes and direct them to appropriate areas

directive

Interest in driving and guarding armoured trucks when delivering cash and valuables to banks, automated teller machines and retail establishments; and in responding to fire alarms, bomb threats and other emergencies

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation. 

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Specific duties vary depending on the area of employment. For example, security guards may work in shopping centres, banks, sports facilities, airports, conventions, parking lots, construction sites or public buildings such as hospitals, museums and art galleries. In general, security guards:

  • patrol an assigned area
  • check doors, windows, locks and building interiors for signs of damage or theft
  • provide information, guide traffic or respond to complaints and maintain order
  • watch for intruders sometimes through the use of electronic surveillance systems
  • observe and keep records of security related activities.

In case of fire or the presence of unauthorized persons, security guards sound alarms or telephone their supervisors, fire department or police. In some situations, security guards may make arrests.

The following types of security work involve being outside and driving:

  • In patrol car service, a security guard, alone or accompanied by a dog or another guard, patrols construction sites, buildings, or property, as a daily or nightly routine.
  • In mobile patrol, security guards respond to alarms from businesses, residences and schools. If an actual break and enter is detected, they contact police.
  • In camp or construction site guard service, security guards patrol and do gate clearance work at large construction sites or plants. This work may be seasonal with more opportunities for employment during the summer months.

Inspectors visit work sites to ensure that security employees are performing their duties.

Working Conditions
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Security guards may:

  • work indoors or outdoors in all weather conditions
  • stand most of the time or sit at work stations monitoring electronic security systems
  • work in teams or work alone for extended periods of time
  • wear uniforms.

Most security guards work shifts that include weekends and holidays. Many work evening and night shifts. Guards who work during the day often must deal with the public.

Security guards may be required to routinely lift items weighing up to 10 kilograms.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 19, 2016

This type of work appeals to people who enjoy having clear rules and guidelines for their work, dealing with people from diverse backgrounds and controlling access to facilities.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 19, 2016

To work as a security guard in Alberta, applicants must successfully complete a 40 hour basic security training program to qualify for a licence. Equivalencies may be considered. Individuals have up to two years after completing the course to take the Alberta government examination and must achieve 80% or higher. Please visit the Alberta Justice and Solicitor General website for a list of approved training providers and information on equivalencies and licencing.

The Canadian Society for Industrial Security offers three non-progressive levels of certification for security guards:

  • Certified Security Officer 
  • Certified Security Supervisor 
  • Certified Security Professional.

Most employers prefer to hire people who have at least high school education. Some security agencies have no minimum education requirements; however, they do require applicants to:

  • speak and write English 
  • be 18 years of age or older 
  • have good character and employment references 
  • no criminal record based on a current clear Police Information Check (PIC) with a vulnerable sector search 
  • be in good health (including the ability to pass eyesight and colour vision testing).

Some companies require guards to have valid first aid and CPR certificates, a valid driver's license and their own vehicle. Being able to communicate in a second language also is an asset.

Prospective students should consult employers regarding program suitability and reputation before enrolling in a post-secondary education program.

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Security Guard

Security guards protect an organization's property, personnel and information against fire, theft, vandalism and illegal entry. For more information, see the Security Guard occupational profile in OCCinfo.

Legislation

Under Alberta's Security Services and Investigators Act and Security Services and Investigators (Ministerial) Regulation, you must be licensed by Alberta Justice and Solicitor General if you are paid to patrol, guard or provide security, or detect loss of or damage to the property of another person. There are five classes of licence: security guard, executive protection, loss prevention worker, guard dog handler and security alarm responder.

Education

An applicant for licensing must be at least 18 years of age, a Canadian citizen or legally entitled to work in Canada, fluent in spoken English, competent and of good character, and not the subject of a criminal investigation; have no serious criminal record or outstanding criminal charge; and successfully complete the training and examination requirements for the class(es) of licence being sought. For official, detailed information about licensing requirements, visit the Alberta Justice and Solicitor General website.

Working in Alberta

Security guards who are licensed and in good standing with a regulatory organization elsewhere in Canada may be eligible for licensing in Alberta if licensed security guards in the two jurisdictions have similar responsibilities and competencies. For more information, see "What if I am already certified in another province or territory?" and the Alberta regulatory authority (below).

Contact Details

Licensing Department, Security Programs
Alberta Justice and Solicitor General
10th Floor John E. Brownlee Building
10365 - 97 Street
Edmonton, Alberta  
Canada  T5J 3W7
Phone number: (780) 427-3457
Toll-free phone number (within Alberta): 1-877-462-0791
Fax number: (780) 427-6470
Website: www.solgps.alberta.ca/programs_and_services/public_security/private_security_programs/

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Above-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

Security guards are employed by:

  • private guard service companies
  • governments
  • retailers
  • construction companies
  • industrial plants
  • hospitals
  • other public and private building owners.

Employment prospects are best for those who have their own transportation and are willing to work night shifts.

Experienced security guards may advance to supervisor, manager or inspector positions.

Security guards are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 6541: Security guards and related security service occupations. In Alberta, 76% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 12,300 Albertans are employed in the Security guards and related occuaptions occupational group. This group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 1.9% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 234 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As security guards form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for security guards. 

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Salaries for security guards vary widely depending on the responsibilities of the position and the type of employer.

Security guards are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 6541: Security guards and related security service occupations.

According to the 2015 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Security guards and related security service occupations occupational group earned on average from $15.67 to $24.66 an hour. The overall average wage was $18.10 an hour. For more information, see the Security guards and related security service occupations wage profile.

Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Health, Recreation and Human Services
    • Legal Studies
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Social, Community and Protective Services
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Alberta Justice and Solicitor General website: www.solgen.gov.ab.ca

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 25, 2015. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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