How Can I Become a Security Counselor?

Research what it takes to become a security counselor. Learn about education requirements, job duties, and wages to find out if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Marriage & Family Therapy degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Security Counselor?

Security counselors are human services workers who help residents in facilities such as rehabilitation centers and group homes, aiming to ensure the safety of both clients and the public. Their duties might include assessing what aid residents need, coordinating services, and driving residents to appointments or services. They are also responsible for accompanying visitors, checking residents' rooms for contraband, and monitoring security footage. Security counselors also coordinate with other care professionals, such as social workers, to address residents' needs.

The following chart gives an overview of what you need to know before entering this field.

Degree Required Varies by position from a high school diploma to a master's degree
Training Required On-the-job training for those without a degree
Education Field of Study Human services or social work
Key Responsibilities Assist residents with daily activities, behavior, and receiving visitors; administer drug screenings and/or examine residents' belongings for hidden drugs
Licensure/Certification Valid driver's license and/or food handler license; crisis intervention, first aid, and CPR certification
Job Growth (2014-2024) 11% (all social and human service assistants)*
Mean Annual Wage (2015) $33,190 (all social and human service assistants)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Kind of Education Do I Need to Become a Security Counselor?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, entry-level human service assistants - including security or operations counselors - may only need a high school diploma or GED test credential to gain employment. More advanced positions require an associate's or bachelor's degree in human services or social work. Useful classes at either level include those for human development, communications, psychology, ethics and computer applications.

What Other Qualifications and Skills Might I Need?

You may need crisis intervention, first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation certification to gain employment in this field. Some employers require that you have a valid driver's license or be a licensed food handler. In most cases, you must be able to pass a criminal background check and drug test. Employers look for good written and verbal skills; you should be able to read well enough to understand case histories, manuals and policies. Computer knowledge and typing skills are also helpful.

Where Can I Work?

You may work in mental health, mental retardation, residential youth and rehabilitation facilities. Group homes and residential drug treatment centers also employ security counselors. City or state agencies, social service providers, psychiatric treatment centers and correctional facilities run these organizations.

What Are My Potential Job Duties?

You help residents with life skills, such as doing laundry. If required, you provide transportation for daily activities. You may be asked to accompany a resident to appointments to help ensure his or her security and the public's safety. Some security counselors are involved in helping the resident comply with a behavioral plan by providing verbal or physical prompts and interventions.

You're also responsible for logging and accompanying visitors. You may monitor residents via video and man security checkpoints. In correctional and drug treatment programs, you check residents' rooms for drugs or conduct drug screening. You record or document accidental and behavioral incidents.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Those interested in becoming a security counselor might also want to research some related alternative careers which require some of the same skills and level of education. For example, probation officers work with those on probation to try to prevent them from committing further crimes. They generally need to have a bachelor's degree to gain employment. Home health aides need no formal education. They help people with chronic illnesses, disabilities, or the elderly with everyday tasks. Substance abuse counselors provide treatment to individuals with substance dependency issues to help them recover. Counselors need to have a bachelor's degree to gain entry-level work.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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  • Strayer University

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  • George Mason University

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  • The George Washington University

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  • Kaplan University

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  • Grand Canyon University

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  • Capella University

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  • University of Delaware

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  • South University

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  • Keiser University

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  • Herzing University

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