Security guards and related security service occupations (NOC 6541)

About this job

This group includes security guards and other related workers who protect property against theft and vandalism, control access to establishments, maintain order, and enforce regulations at public events and within establishments, conduct private investigations for clients or employers and provide other protective services not elsewhere classified.

People in these occupations:

  • work for public and private security agencies, retail stores, transportation facilities, residential complexes, educational, financial and health institutions, industrial establishments, cultural establishments and organizations throughout the private and public sector
  • may be self employed
  • should have strong observation and communication skills, the ability to maintain self control and the ability to make quick decisions during emergency situations 
  • should also be comfortable working alone and must be able to stick to procedures and set routines
  • must act in a disciplined, honest and ethical manner
Common job titles
  • ATM (automatic teller machine) guard
  • bodyguard (except police)
  • bouncer - security
  • inspector, airport - carry-on baggage
  • investigator, alarm - residence / business
  • investigator, security - business
  • ATM (automatic teller machine) guard
  • bodyguard (except police)
  • bouncer - security
  • business establishment investigator
  • commissionaire
  • custodian, vault

Earnings

Annual provincial median salary

$31,180

Source: 2016 Job Bank Wage data

Note:Estimated median employment income based on 2016 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))

Provincial hourly rate

  • High
  • Median
  • Low

Source: 2016 Job Bank Wage Report

Duties

Security guards:

  • control access to establishments,
  • operate security control-room equipment
  • patrol assigned areas to guard against theft, vandalism and fire,
  • enforce regulations to maintain order and resolve conflicts
  • monitor establishment activities
  • ensure safety and emergency procedures are followed
  • issue passes and direct visitors to appropriate areas,
  • check age identification of patrons,
  • perform security checks of passengers and luggage at airports.

Armoured car guards:

  • drive and guard armoured trucks,
  • pick-up and deliver cash and valuables to banks, automated teller machines and retail establishments.

Corporate security officers:

  • investigate unlawful acts of employees or patrons of establishments
  • recommend security systems such as electronic detection devices and access devices.

Private investigators:

  • conduct investigations to locate missing persons
  • obtain information for use in civil and criminal litigation matters or for other purposes
  • may also conduct polygraph tests (integrity surveys) for clients.

Retail loss prevention officers:

  • prevent and detect shoplifting and theft in retail establishments.

Work environment

The majority of security guards work full time 40 hours per week, however, some workers are only employed part of the year since many job opportunities are seasonal.

Many of the facilities that security guards monitor require supervision 24 hours a day year round so workers are often required to work shifts that include evenings, nights, weekends and holidays.

Security guards who watch site activity via security cameras spend a large portion of their day looking at monitors, which may result in eye strain and cause fatigue.

These workers may have to travel when monitoring multiple or large sites, guarding items in transit or working in the transportation industry.

Security guards take leadership roles in emergency situations and may have to handle hostile people, which can sometimes make for a stressful work environment.

Job requirements

Education, training & qualifications

In B.C., security guards do not need secondary school graduation, however, it is preferred. Other requirements include:

  • licensing for all security companies and their employees under the new Security Services Act, which replaces the Private Investigator and Security Agencies Act
  • completion of the Basic Security Training (BST) course with a grade of 60 percent or higher on the final exam for each course

The course is offered through approved institutions and security companies. Training requirements beyond BST vary depending on where security guards work and include:

  • firearms training for armoured car guards
  • gaming security officer training program offered by the Justice Institute of BC for casino/gaming security guards
  • a grade of 75 percent or higher on the BST exam and several other courses for commissionaires

Individual security companies often provide additional in-house training.

The new Security Services Act will require bouncers, armoured car personnel, in-house security guards, bodyguards and members of the Corps of Commissionaires to be licensed and undergo a criminal background check. Other requirements for security guards may include:

  • level one industry first aid
  • a valid driver's license
  • a clean criminal record.
  • basic writing and speaking skills
  • basic computer skills
  • advanced courses in investigation, writing, interviewing, decision making and ethics

As of July 1, 2017 when the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) came into force, you will not need significant additional training, experience, testing or assessment if your qualifications or certificates are recognized by a Canadian regulatory authority. This applies whether you were trained in Canada or internationally. Learn about labour mobility at www.workersmobility.ca. For information about labour mobility and foreign qualifications recognition, contact the B.C. regulator for your occupation.

Skills

  • Methodical
  • Clerical Ability
  • Social
  • Verbal & Written Comprehension
View skills definitions

Education programs in B.C.

The following program areas are related to this occupation:
  • Criminology/Criminal Justice
  • Legal Assistant Related

For more information about programs offered specifically for this career, visit EducationPlannerBC.

Select a region to view regional outlook
Vancouver Island / Coast Mainland / Southwest Thompson-Okanagan Kootenay Cariboo Northeast North Coast & Nechako
Cariboo
Employment in 2016:
560
Average annual employment growth:
0.3%
Expected number of job openings:
170
Kootenay
Employment in 2016:
190
Average annual employment growth:
1.8%
Expected number of job openings:
90
Mainland / Southwest
Employment in 2016:
11,130
Average annual employment growth:
0.9%
Expected number of job openings:
3,440
North Coast & Nechako
Employment in 2016:
110
Average annual employment growth:
0.0%
Expected number of job openings:
30
Northeast
Employment in 2016:
190
Average annual employment growth:
1.4%
Expected number of job openings:
90
Thompson-Okanagan
Employment in 2016:
1,320
Average annual employment growth:
0.7%
Expected number of job openings:
430
Vancouver Island / Coast
Employment in 2016:
1,680
Average annual employment growth:
0.7%
Expected number of job openings:
590

Source: B.C. Labour Market Outlook

Insights from industry

Security guards are needed to guard construction sites from theft and vandalism. As well, they are needed to protect most commercial and some residential buildings once construction is completed. Since many new graduates quickly move to higher paying jobs outside of the industry, there is currently a shortage of workers in B.C.

There will be growing demand for people with advanced security solutions training and threat/risk assessment skills. Those with previous experience working as security guards, in law enforcement or in the military will have a greater chance of finding work.

Most work opportunities will continue to be in urban centres such as the Lower Mainland and Southern Vancouver Island regions where there are more facilities that require monitoring. There may be higher growth in any port area due to the Transport Canada changes to the Marine Security Act and enforcement.

Increasingly, security professionals are using computers and technological devices in their daily work, so workers must be comfortable using this equipment.. As the use of closed circuit television cameras increases, those who can use monitoring equipment and software will have more job opportunities. However, increased use of closed circuit television monitoring may reduce the number of patrolling security guards needed.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

Security guards with a lot of experience may move into supervisory positions in the occupation or into corporate security management. Supervisory courses are offered to those who want to advance their career.

With additional training and education, security guards may move into law enforcement careers. For example, they may become police officers, corrections officers or sheriffs.

Commissionaires have an established system for moving up, with four levels of supervisor positions and three levels of management positions they can compete for.

Additional resources