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Fulfilling a desire to become a retail security guard involves first meeting a few requirements. For instance, you usually are expected to have a friendly attitude, yet you should be prepared to confront shoplifters, even after a long day on your feet. Though there is no particular education — beyond a high school diploma — required of the average security guard, a college degree in a related subject could improve your resume. You also usually will need to pass a background check and drug test, with additional training in the use of weapons if you plan to be an armed guard.
You should first consider whether your current skills match those required by most security jobs. For example, you usually can expect to be standing or walking around a store for several hours a day, so you are advised to be OK with being on your feet a lot. You also will come into contact with a lot of new people each day, and you may be required to answer questions or help employees occasionally, so a friendly, helpful attitude usually is desired if you wish to become a retail security guard. One of the most important duties of this job is to discourage theft and dangerous situations, which means you should not be intimidated by confrontation with would-be thieves and those intending to commit criminal acts.
If you think you have the personality to become a retail security guard, then you may want to consider whether you have the right education. In most cases, as long as you have a high school diploma, you can become a retail security guard, because higher education is typically not necessary. If you wish to stand out from other applicants, though, you are advised to find a vocational school that offers a degree in criminal justice, law enforcement or security management, because these subjects can prepare you for a career as a security officer. You also usually can get a bachelor's degree in such subjects, which is especially recommended if you eventually plan to seek a higher-paying law enforcement job.
Once you are comfortable with the level of education you have, you need to fulfill other requirements to become a retail security guard. For example, you usually need to pass a background check and a drug test, keeping in mind that few employers will hire an applicant with a criminal record. In addition, you should consider whether you want to become a retail security guard who is armed, which usually requires extra training so it is clear you can handle weapons. You also may need a license to carry weapons, depending on where you live. Despite the additional training that usually is required of armed security guards, this route could be beneficial, because you may be paid more for such a job.
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