Security Guards and Gaming Surveillance Officers

Career, Salary and Education Information

Top 3 security guard Jobs

  • Security Guard - 1st Shift - ARYZTA - Streamwood, IL

  • Security Guard - Sight & Sound Theatres - Ronks, PA

    Act 235 Certification preferred. • Valid drivers license • Outgoing and Personable/likeable (Approachable) Please visit sight-sound.com to

  • SECURITY OFFICER - Physicians for Healthy Hospitals - Hemet, CA

    Possession of an appropriate valid California driver's license. Current Guard Card Employees must maintain a driving record, which meets the

See all security guard jobs

What Security Guards and Gaming Surveillance Officers Do[About this section] [To Top]

Security guards and gaming surveillance officers patrol and protect property against theft, vandalism, terrorism, and illegal activity.

Duties of Security Guards and Gaming Surveillance Officers

Security guards and gaming surveillance officers typically do the following:

  • Protect and enforce laws on an employer’s property
  • Monitor alarms and closed-circuit TV (CCTV) cameras
  • Control access for employees and visitors
  • Conduct security checks over a specified area
  • Write reports on what they observed while on duty
  • Serve as witnesses for court testimony
  • Detain violators

Security guards, also called security officers, protect property, enforce rules on the property, and deter criminal activity. Some guards are assigned a stationary position from which they monitor alarms or surveillance cameras. Other guards are assigned a patrol area where they conduct security checks.

Gaming surveillance officers and gaming investigators act as security agents for casinos. Using audio and video equipment in an observation room, they watch casino operations for suspicious activities, such as cheating and theft, and monitor compliance with rules, regulations, and laws. They maintain and organize recordings from security cameras, which are sometimes used as evidence in police investigations.

Guards and officers must remain alert, looking out for anything unusual. In an emergency, they are required to call for assistance from police, fire, or ambulance services. Some security guards are armed.

A security guard’s responsibilities vary from one employer to another. In retail stores, guards protect people, records, merchandise, money, and equipment. They may work with undercover store detectives to prevent theft by customers and employees, detain shoplifting suspects until the police arrive, and patrol parking lots.

In office buildings, banks, hotels, and hospitals, guards maintain order and protect the organization’s customers, staff, and property.

Guards who work in museums and art galleries protect paintings and exhibits by watching people and inspecting the contents of patrons’ handbags.

In factories, government buildings, and military bases, security guards protect workers and equipment and check the credentials of people and vehicles entering and leaving the premises.

Guards working in parks and at sports stadiums control crowds, supervise parking and seating, and direct traffic.

Security guards stationed at the entrances to bars and nightclubs keep underage people from entering, collect cover charges, and maintain order among customers.

Security guards working in schools and universities patrol the buildings and grounds, looking for suspicious activity.

Work Environment for Security Guards and Gaming Surveillance Officers[About this section] [To Top]

Security guards and gaming surveillance officers hold about 1.1 million jobs, of which nearly all are held by security guards.

Security guards work in a wide variety of places, including public buildings, stores, and office buildings. Gaming surveillance officers and investigators mostly work in gaming facilities operated by local governments. They are employed only in those states, and on those Indian reservations, where gambling is legal.

Security guards hold nearly 1.1 million jobs. The industries that employ the most security guards are as follows:

Investigation, guard, and armored car services 58%
Educational services; state, local, and private 6
Health care and social assistance 6

Gaming surveillance officers hold about 7,000 jobs. The industries that employ the most gaming surveillance officers are as follows:

Gambling industries (except casino hotels) 38%
Casino hotels 30
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 20

Most security guards spend considerable time on their feet, either at a single post or patrolling buildings and grounds. Some may sit for long periods behind a counter or in a guardhouse at the entrance to a gated facility or community.

Guards who work during the day may have a great deal of contact with other employees and the public.

Although the work can be routine, it can also be hazardous, particularly when an altercation occurs.

Most gaming surveillance officers sit behind a desk observing gamers on video surveillance equipment.

Injuries and Illnesses

Security guards have a higher rate of injuries and illnesses than the national average. Although the work is mostly routine, the work can also be dangerous. As a result, guards must always be alert for threats to themselves and the people and property they are protecting.

Security Guard and Gaming Surveillance Officer Work Schedules

Security guards and gaming surveillance officers usually work in shifts of 8 hours, or longer, with rotating schedules.

How to Become a Security Guard or Gaming Surveillance Officer[About this section] [To Top]

Get the education you need: Find schools for Security Guards and Gaming Surveillance Officers near you!

Most security guard jobs require a high school diploma. Gaming surveillance officers sometimes need experience with security and video surveillance. Most states require guards to be registered with the state, especially if they carry a firearm.

Security Guard and Gaming Surveillance Officer Education

Security guards generally need a high school diploma or equivalent, although some jobs may not have any education requirements. Gaming surveillance officers also need a high school diploma or equivalent and may need experience with video surveillance technology depending upon assignment.

Security Guard and Gaming Surveillance Officer Training

Although most employers provide instruction for newly hired guards, the amount of training they receive varies. Most guards, however, learn their job in a few weeks. During those few weeks, training from their employer typically covers emergency procedures, detention of suspected criminals, and proper communication.

Many states recommend that security guards receive approximately 8 hours of pre-assignment training, 8–16 hours of on-the-job training, and 8 hours of annual training. This may include training in protection, public relations, report writing, deterring crises, first aid, and other specialized training related to the guard’s assignment.

Training is more rigorous for armed guards because they require weapons training. Armed guards may be tested periodically in the use of firearms.

For gaming surveillance officers and investigators, some employers prefer candidates with previous work experience in casinos or individuals with a background in law enforcement. Experience with video technology can also be helpful in using surveillance systems and software.

Drug testing may be required as a condition of employment and randomly during employment.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Most states require that guards be registered with the state in which they work. Although registration requirements vary by state, basic qualifications for candidates are as follows:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Pass a background check
  • Complete training

Guards who carry weapons usually must be registered by the appropriate government authority. Armed guard positions have more stringent background checks and entry requirements than those of unarmed guards. Rigorous hiring and screening programs, including background, criminal record, and fingerprint checks, are required for armed guards in most states.

Some jobs may also require a driver's license.

Advancement for Security Guards and Gaming Surveillance Officers

Some guards advance to supervisory or security manager positions. Those with experience or postsecondary education should have an advantage. Armed security guards have a greater potential for advancement and enjoy higher earnings.

Some guards with management skills open their own security guard business. Guards can also move to an organization that needs higher levels of security, which may result in more prestige or higher pay.

Important Qualities for Security Guards and Gaming Surveillance Officers

Decisionmaking skills. Guards and officers must be able to quickly determine the best course of action when a dangerous situation arises.

Patience. Security guards and officers may need to spend long periods standing and observing their environment without distractions.

Observation skills. Guards and officers must be alert and aware of their surroundings, and be able to quickly recognize anything out of the ordinary.

Physical strength. Guards must be strong enough to apprehend offenders and to handle emergency situations.

Security Guard and Gaming Surveillance Officer Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]

The median annual wage for gaming surveillance officers and gaming investigators is $31,170. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $21,460, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $50,130.

The median annual wage for security guards is $24,630. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $18,350, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $45,010.

Security guards and gaming surveillance officers usually work in shifts of 8 hours, or longer, with rotating schedules.

Job Outlook for Security Guards and Gaming Surveillance Officers[About this section] [To Top]

Overall employment of security guards and gaming surveillance officers is projected to grow 5 percent over the next ten years, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Employment growth will vary by occupation.

Employment of security guards is projected to grow 5 percent over the next ten years, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Security guards will continue to be needed to protect both people and property because of concerns about crime, vandalism, and terrorism.

Employment of gaming surveillance officers and investigators is projected to decline 7 percent over the next ten years. Although states continue to legalize gambling and casinos continue to grow in number, advances in video surveillance and anti-cheating technology may limit the employment of gaming surveillance officers and investigators.

Security Guards and Gaming Surveillance Officers Job Prospects

Overall job opportunities are projected to be excellent, especially for security guards. The large size of the occupation and the number of workers who leave the occupation each year may result in many job openings. However, there will be more competition for higher paying positions that require more training and experience.

Candidates who have experience with video surveillance equipment should have the best job prospects in the gaming industry. Those with a background in law enforcement will also have an advantage.

Employment projections data for Security Guards and Gaming Surveillance Officers, 2014-24
Occupational Title Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024 Change, 2014-24
Percent Numeric
Security guards and gaming surveillance officers 1,102,500 1,157,500 5 55,000
  Gaming surveillance officers and gaming investigators 7,000 6,600 -7 -500
  Security guards 1,095,400 1,150,900 5 55,500


*Some content used by permission of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.

Explore more careers: View all Careers or Browse Careers by Category

Search for jobs: