Security Guard or Gambling Surveillance Officer

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Salary Range: $30,000 to $39,999

Average Hourly: $ 14.94

Education: High school diploma or equivalent

Number of Jobs: 1067700

Jobs Added to 2029: 155600

Growth: Faster than average



Go here to see salary and job data specific to the United Kingdom.

What Security Guards and Gambling Surveillance Officers Do

Security guards and gambling surveillance officers protect property against theft, vandalism, and other illegal activity.

Duties

Security guards and gaming surveillance officers typically do the following:

  • Patrol property
  • Enforce rules and regulations of an employer's property
  • Monitor alarms and video-surveillance systems
  • Respond to emergencies
  • Deter criminal activity
  • Control building access by employees and visitors
  • Conduct security checks over a specified area
  • Write reports on what they observed while on duty

Guards and officers must stay alert, watching for anything unusual. In an emergency, they are required to contact police, fire, or ambulance services. Some security guards carry firearms.

Security guards work wherever people and assets need to be protected. Responsibilities vary by employer. In offices and factories, for example, security guards protect workers and equipment and check the credentials of people and vehicles entering and leaving the premises. In retail stores, guards protect people, 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.

Gambling surveillance officers work in freestanding casinos and other facilities that have designated areas for gambling, such as hotels, video gaming terminals, and riverboats. They typically work from an observation room within the gaming facility.

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.

Gambling surveillance officers and gambling investigators act as security agents for casinos. Using audio and video equipment, 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.


Work Environment

Security guards work in a variety of places, including industrial settings, retail stores, and office buildings. Gambling surveillance officers work mostly in casinos. Because many buildings and casinos are open 24 hours a day, security guards and officers often must work around the clock.


Work Environment Details

Gambling surveillance officers and gambling investigators held about 8,700 jobs in 2020. The largest employers of gambling surveillance officers and gambling investigators were as follows:
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 58%
Casino hotels 17
Gambling industries (except casino hotels) 14
State government, excluding education and hospitals 7
Spectator sports 3

Security guards held about 1.1 million jobs in 2020. The largest employers of security guards were as follows:

Investigation, guard, and armored car services 61%
Educational services; state, local, and private 6
Healthcare and social assistance 6
Government 4
Accommodation and food services 4

Security guards work in a variety of places, including industrial settings, stores, and office buildings. Gambling surveillance officers and investigators are employed in casinos and other gaming facilities only in locations where gambling is legal.

Guards may spend considerable time on their feet patrolling buildings and grounds or may sit for long periods at a single post, such as in a guardhouse at the entrance to a gated facility or community. Others may spend periods of time in a vehicle, patrolling the property and grounds.

Both security guards and gambling surveillance officers may spend much of their shift sitting at a desk or counter in a dark room, observing customers on video surveillance equipment. They may have to monitor activity on multiple screens for long periods of time without distraction.

Work Schedules

Security guards and gambling surveillance officers usually work in shifts of about 8 hours, with rotating schedules. Night shifts are common. Most security guards and gambling surveillance officers work full time. Seasonal work may be available during the holidays and during the warmer summer months in some states.


Job Outlook

Overall employment of security guards and gambling surveillance officers is projected to grow 15 percent from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations.

About 165,000 openings for security guards and gambling surveillance officers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.


How to Become a Security Guard or Gambling Surveillance Officer

Security guards and gambling surveillance officers typically require a high school diploma and on-the-job training. Gambling surveillance officers sometimes need experience with security and video surveillance. Most states require security guards to be licensed by the state, especially if they carry a firearm.

Education

Security guards typically need a high school diploma or equivalent, although some jobs may not require formal educational credentials. Gambling surveillance officers also need a high school diploma or equivalent.

A bachelor's degree is not required to enter the occupation. However, some security guards and gambling surveillance officers study in degree fields such as security and protective service or social science.

Training

Although most employers provide instruction for newly hired security guards and surveillance officers, the amount of training varies. Most security guards learn their job in a few weeks, but gambling surveillance officers and investigators may need several months. Employer-provided training typically covers emergency procedures, crime prevention, and proper communication.

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

Gambling surveillance officers and investigators receive training in topics such as the rules of casino games, gaming regulations, identifying cheating techniques, and the proper use of video and radio equipment.

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

Work experience in a related occupation

To enter the occupation, gambling surveillance officers and investigators typically need work experience in casinos or with video monitoring technology. Candidates sometimes gain video monitoring experience by working as a security guard.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Most states require that security guards be licensed by the state in which they work. Although licensing 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 licensed by the appropriate government authority. Positions for armed guards have more stringent background checks and entry requirements than do those for unarmed guards. Most states require rigorous hiring and screening programs, including background, criminal record, and fingerprint checks, for armed guards.

Some states and gaming facilities require a minimum age of 21 to work in a casino.

Some jobs may also require a driver's license.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Security guards and surveillance officers must communicate effectively with others, even in stressful situations.

Interpersonal skills. Security guards often regularly interact with the public; in addition, they must be able to handle and deescalate confrontational situations.

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

Problem-solving skills. Security guards and surveillance officers must be able to quickly determine the best course of action when a dangerous situation arises.


United Kingdom Job Data

Source:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Security Guards and Gambling Surveillance Officers, at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/security-guards.htm (visited ).