Security Guards and Related Security Service Workers

(NOC 6541)

in All Sales and Service

This group includes workers who guard and implement security measures to protect property against theft, vandalism and fire, control access to organisations, maintain order and enforce regulations at public events and within institutions, conduct private investigations for clients or employers and provide other protective services. They work for public or private security agencies, residential complexes, educational, cultural, financial, and health institutions, retail stores, businesses and industry, investigation service companies, transportation facilities, and organizations throughout the private and public sectors, or they may be self-employed.

Job Outlook

Average

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  • Estimate Decline slightly employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 195 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate High rate of unemployment in 2019

Compared to: All Sales and Service

  • Estimate -505 employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 6125 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for these occupation.

The effect of COVID-19 on this occupation has been mixed. The transition of many workers from office spaces to remote work, as well as reduced foot traffic in commercial and public buildings, has diminished the need for security guards in some settings. Conversely, some retail shops have hired additional security guards to enforce occupancy and physical distancing rules. The relative stress and difficulty associated with these tasks, as well as the immediate need to fill this type of position, has prompted employers to offer wages well above the normal rate for this occupation.

There does not appear to have been a clear increase or decrease in employment in this occupation in recent years, though technological developments may reduce the need for security guards in certain settings. High turnover is a major contributor to vacancies in this occupation.

The median employment income for the 46% of Security Guards and Related Security Service Workers who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $30,491. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, the 59% of those who worked full-time, year-round had a median employment income of $43,600. (Source: 2016 Census)

Hourly Pay

$12.95

Minimum

$14.00

Median

$22.86

Maximum

Annual Pay

$5,139

Minimum

$23,096

Median

$46,506

Maximum

Compared to: All Sales and Service

Hourly Pay

$12.55

Minimum

$18.36

Median

$22.50

Maximum

Annual Pay

$2,949

Minimum

$16,629

Median

$45,086

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

This group includes workers who guard and implement security measures to protect property against theft, vandalism and fire, control access to organisations, maintain order and enforce regulations at public events and within institutions, conduct private investigations for clients or employers and provide other protective services. They work for public or private security agencies, residential complexes, educational, cultural, financial, and health institutions, retail stores, businesses and industry, investigation service companies, transportation facilities, and organizations throughout the private and public sectors, or they may be self-employed.

Job duties

Security guards:

  • Control access to institutions, use security control-room equipment and patrol assigned areas to guard against theft, vandalism, and fire.
  • Enforce regulations to maintain order and resolve conflicts and to monitor organization activities.
  • Make sure safety and emergency procedures are followed.
  • Issue passes and direct visitors to appropriate areas, check age identification of patrons, and 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 businesses.

Corporate security officers:

  • Investigate unlawful acts of employees or patrons of businesses.
  • Recommend security systems like electronic detection devices and access devices.

Private investigators:

  • Investigate to locate missing persons.
  • Get 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 businesses.

Sample job titles

  • bodyguard (except police)
  • bouncer - security
  • commissionaire - security
  • loss prevention officer - retail
  • private detective
  • private investigator
  • retail loss prevention officer
  • school crossing guard
  • security alarm system consultant
  • security guard

Skills

You should be physically fit and in excellent health, and have a valid driver's licence. Cultural sensitivity, patience, and mental stability are important. You must be resourceful and able to work on your own carrying out instructions given by your employer. It will be necessary to gain a good knowledge of the regulations pertaining to your work. Excellent communication, observation, and problem-solving skills are essential. You should also be able to communicate with and gain the respect of the public. Candidates are required to pass the appropriate background check.

Job requirements

  • High school is usually required.
  • A college diploma in law and security or police technology may be required.
  • Training is provided for airport security guards and company-specific training may be provided for security jobs in this group.
  • Security guards carrying firearms require a licence.
  • Armoured car drivers require a Valid Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL) and a Firearms Acquisition Certificate (FAC) for both restricted and non-restricted firearms.
  • Private investigators require provincial licensure.
  • Responsible beverage service certification is usually required for security staff in businesses serving alcoholic beverages.

Other considerations

Corporate security officers may require experience as a police officer.

By the numbers

Quick look

4,205

employed in 2016

67.7%

employed full-time

1.1%

self employed

25.1%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
74.9%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
50.3

median age

Compared to: All Sales and Service

102,605

employed in 2016

56.4%

employed full-time

5.8%

self employed

60.1%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
39.9%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
37

median age

Where will I likely work?

56.5%

Halifax

15.0%

Cape Breton

12.8%

North Shore

10.3%

Annapolis Valley

5.3%

Southern

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

North Shore

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

73.9%

Administrative and support, waste management and remediation services

8.7%

Public administration

4.2%

Educational services

2.4%

Transportation and warehousing

2.1%

Retail trade

What is the age of Employment?

23.0%

55-64

20.0%

65+

16.0%

25-34

16.0%

45-54

14.0%

15-24

11.0%

35-44

Compared to: All Sales and Service

30.0%

15-24

17.2%

45-54

17.2%

25-34

16.1%

55-64

13.8%

35-44

Top levels of education

36.1%

High school

$22,157 median annual income
26.2%

College Diploma

$26,284 median annual income
16.4%

Less than high school

$20,319 median annual income
8.9%

Bachelor

$22,408 median annual income
8.8%

Apprenticeship

$24,556 median annual income

Compared to: All Sales and Service

39.8%

High school

$15,705 median annual income
19.7%

Less than high school

$9,866 median annual income
19.5%

College Diploma

$20,644 median annual income
9.9%

Bachelor

$21,262 median annual income
8.0%

Apprenticeship

$21,234 median annual income

Education & training

Adult High School Siploma or Equivalent

High School Program

The Nova Scotia School for Adult Learning (NSSAL) administers, coordinates, and supports the development and delivery of adult education programs through learning partners in Nova Scotia. Our learning partners include the Nova Scotia Community College, Adult High Schools, Université Sainte-Anne, and community-based learning organizations that offer tuition-free programming across the province. NSSAL offers clear, accessible pathways from adult basic education to a high school credential or GED, empowering Nova Scotians to achieve their learning and employment goals.

Institutions providing this program

Universite Sainte-Anne

Pointe-de-l'Église, NS

Nova Scotia Community College - Adult Learning

Various, NS

Adult High Schools

Various, NS

Community Learning Organizations

Various, NS

Security and Loss Prevention Services

College or Trades Program

These programs prepare students to perform routine inspection, patrol and crime prevention services for security companies. They include courses in the provision of personal protection as well as property security.

Institutions providing this program

Nova Scotia Community College - Truro Campus

Truro, NS

Employment requirements & contacts

No regulating bodies were found under this occupation profile

Contacts

Nova Scotia Department of Justice, Policing Services Division
Halifax, NS

Additional resources

There are no additional resources for this occupation.