How Much Do Security Guard Jobs Pay?

Security guards are responsible for enforcing specific company rules and noticing lawbreakers. Read on to learn more about the job requirements of a security guard and how much you can expect to earn. Schools offering Criminal Justice & Security degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Duties

This occupation of security guard is often called by different names, including security officer, security guard and surveillance officer. Regardless of your official job title, you'll perform the duties of protecting your employer and employer's property from illegal activities. You'll do this by patrolling the area in order to deter and detect criminal activities or other issues.

When you're not actively patrolling, you'll be writing reports on observations you've made or problems you've found. Additional job duties can be dependent upon the nature of your employer, but can include activities like monitoring security cameras, responding to alarm calls or issuing traffic violations.

Salary Overview

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the mean hourly wage for a security guard was $13.10, and the mean annual wage was $27,240 in May 2012 ( In the same year, the median hourly wage was $11.52, and the median annual income was $23,970. Security guards whose earnings were in the top ten percent at that time had hourly salaries of $20.43 or more and yearly incomes of $42,490 or more. Those in the bottom ten percent had hourly salaries of $8.36 or less and yearly incomes of $17,390 or less.

Salary by Industry

If you're interested in industries that pay the most, the BLS reported that industries with the top mean pay in May 2012 included other transit and ground passenger transportation ($68,980), taxi and limousine service ($52,430), nonresidential building construction ($47,310), other fabricated metal product manufacturing ($45,760) and natural gas distribution ($45,710). Be aware that jobs at these types of institutions are highly competitive.

The industries with the highest levels of employment for security guards in May 2012 were investigation and security services, local government, hospitals, schools and traveler accommodation. Average salaries for these industries were $25,340, $31,590, $31,820, $31,140 and $28,680, respectively.

Salary by Location

High security guard employment levels were found in California, New York, Texas, Florida and Illinois in May 2012, according to the BLS. Workers in these states earned mean wages of $27,730, $29,790, $24,970, $23,370 and $25,530, respectively. The highest average pay was found in the District of Columbia ($37,010), Alaska ($36,610), Maryland ($33,020), Washington ($32,780) and Virginia ($31,500). The lowest pay for security guards averaged $17,450-$25,050, and some example locations included Kentucky, Alabama, Florida, Texas, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

Salary by Experience

According to in January 2014, reported wages for security guards with less than a year of experience were $13,289-$52,148. Salaries increased to $17,879-$42,282 with 1-4 years of experience and to $19,923-$38,849 with 5-9 years of experience. Guards possessing 20 years of experience or more made $25,434-$46,184.

Job Outlook

The BLS reported that security guards were expected to see about average employment growth, at about 12% from 2012 to 2022. The BLS attributes its growth projection to a rising demand for security along with the need of replacing workers who leave this occupation.

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