How Do I Become a Security Specialist?

A security specialist can provide protection for people and organizations or the data owned by businesses. A person interested in becoming a physical security specialist must complete some law enforcement training, while a computer security specialist will, at minimum, be required to complete two years of data security and encryption studies. Read on to learn more. Schools offering Criminal Justice & Security degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

There are two types of security specialists: those who provide physical protection services and those who provide digital security for data, computers, and networks. Read to to learn about the career requirements demanded of security specialists in either sub-field.

Important Facts about this Occupation

Security GuardsInformation Security Analysts
Median Pay (in 2014)$24,410$88,890
Job Outlook12% increase in employment by 2022 (average)37% (much faster than average)
Key SkillsDecision-making skills, physical strength, observation, patienceAnalytical skills, attention to detail, ingenuity, problem-solving skills
Work EnvironmentSpend long amounts of time on their feet, shifts of 8 hours or longer; high rate of injuries and illnessesWork in an office full-time; may be required to work evenings or weekends in the case of an emergency

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Physical Protection

People who wish to become a security specialist, bodyguard or premises security guard often complete either a certificate or an associate's degree program in physical security or law enforcement. Many community colleges offer degrees and diplomas in these criminal justice subspecialties. A certificate program for hotel security staff, professional security officers, or security officer specialists provides the basic skills necessary to apply for entry-level physical security specialist jobs.

Some of the skills learned in a physical security specialist degree program include assessing risk and security threats, evaluating physical security systems, and understanding electronic security systems. Courses may address:

  • Applications of physical security
  • Loss prevention
  • Applications of electronic security
  • Crime prevention for businesses
  • Security ethics and law

Computer Security

Computer security specialists are sought by businesses and organizations that have large amounts of classified data to protect. Many community colleges offer associate's degree programs in information security and network infrastructure security. A student enrolled in an information security degree program will learn about security techniques used with networks and operating systems. Other topics include security system design, programming, computer architecture, cryptography, and telecommunications.

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:

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