Starting a New Private Security Job? What to Expect from a Veteran's Perspective

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New Private Security Job? What to Expect: a Veteran's Perspective

Given that there are nearly 400,000 unemployed veterans in the U.S., it's hard for many of them to find the right job for their skill set. However, a private security job is just the thing that could help veterans get a job where they feel like they're able to contribute something special. If you're looking at starting a new job in this field, you might not know what to expect.

Here's everything you need to know about getting a job in the security industry.

The Ideal Candidate

If you're looking for a job as a veteran, there are a lot of options that make use of your skills but few that do so as much as working in private security. Your day-to-day life will depend on the job you get, but if you've had the right training, you can get to the top fast.

While some security guards wear a uniform, others will be seated in an office looking at monitoring and handling security equipment. At a large enough facility, you might be tasked with managing all the security technology needed for watching the comings and goings at the facility. If you're comfortable with this technology, you'll be a welcome addition to the team.

Facilities hiring security desk workers are going to need you to know your ID. You'll have to know the difference between a counterfeit ID and a legitimate one. You might have to work night hours or might be asked to handle busy daytime hours where there are deliveries, metal detectors, and unexpected events.

If you've worked patrols in your military career, you could be well suited for this role as someone who walks the perimeter of the facility. There are solitary shifts perfect for introverted people who like to work on their own.

The Earnings Vary

While many security guards earn well above minimum wage, expect to earn at least $30,000 a year. For positions that require a lot of safety training or take a lot of risks, you'll earn much more.

Given that most of the jobs available don't require you to have a college degree, you won't earn as much as you would with more technical jobs that require specialized training.

The more skills you need for a job and the more technical it is, the more you'll end up getting paid. If you're protecting a valuable facility or a clientele who are high earners, expect to make a little bit more as a security guard.

The salary for many security jobs isn't very high. That's because the barrier for entry is low, and most of the positions don't have you doing too much. You're there mostly as a deterrent to trouble or intrusion when you work at a college campus or at a typical office park.

At the end of the day, much of your job is knowing who to call when things get hairy. Since you don't have the authority or training to act as a police officer, you'll be the one to call them or to call the fire department if something happens.

As you get better at your job or take additional training for certifications, you'll end up making a higher rate, especially if you're willing to work overtime.

What's Expected and What You Get for It

Depending on where you work, you might not get a salary. The few security jobs that offer you healthcare are hard to find and have a high bar to entry. If you're a combat veteran, you get five years of VA health care guaranteed if you weren't injured in duty.

If benefits are essential or if you're starting a family, search for a position where benefits are offered.

Speaking of family, you'll have to look carefully for the right job if you want to spend time with your family. Some jobs require you to be out of the house from the time your kids get home from school until the wee hours of the morning. Ask about shifts when you're in search of a position to fit your lifestyle.

The more training and experience you have, the more you'll be able to determine your own schedule.

Site security doesn't often require you to travel. However, if you work as part of a team contracted to work for a private company or the government, you might be asked to leave home for a while. Thankfully, most labor laws require you to be paid for even those hours you spend in transit.

Moving Up

One of the best ways to move up in the world of security is to get licenses and certifications. Starting off as an entry-level security guard is challenging if you've got a lot of training. It's frustrating to know that you could be doing more than you are but with the help of certifications, you'll be able to prove you know what you do.

Get a permit to carry a firearm, and you'll find that your private security jobs are going to open up wider. You'll unlock high paying positions when you're able to defend yourself, a facility, or a person working at the site. Being a bodyguard or working for an armored car company is a much better paying job than sitting behind a desk and checking IDs.

However, you need to be prepared for anything with a job like this and if you're looking for something relaxing following your military service, consider carefully.

A Private Security Job Offers a Lot

Depending on the kind of private security job that you get, it could be a challenge for you to ever feel bored. You could be running around a facility all day putting out literal or figurative fires. You could be traveling the globe to protect a high-powered CEO or public figure.

If you're still in the resume writing process of your job hunt, check out our tips to get the most out of your experience on paper.