What Factors Affect a Security Officer's Salary?

K. Kinsella

Security officers are responsible for protecting property and people. These individuals are employed by both government agencies and private firms. A security officer's salary can be impacted by a number of different factors that include the nature of the work, the work location and the individual's level of experience. Additionally, many private firms and government agencies employ several levels of security officers in which case the highest-ranking officers tend to be the best paid.

The type of the job that security officer does, armed or unarmed, often affects his or her salary.
The type of the job that security officer does, armed or unarmed, often affects his or her salary.

Municipal, regional and national governments employ police officers and among other things, individuals employed in these positions are often tasked with acting as security guards. Generally, governments fund police forces and security divisions with taxpayer funds. Consequently, officers employed in affluent areas or regions with high tax rates typically earn more than their counterparts in economically deprived regions. A government employed security officer's salary can also be impacted by the particular tasks the officers are asked to perform. In many instances, officers guarding high-risk locations such as nuclear power plants or embassies are paid more than those guarding facilities such as schools or sports stadiums.

Experienced officers are usually promoted into supervisory roles and are paid more than their junior counterparts.
Experienced officers are usually promoted into supervisory roles and are paid more than their junior counterparts.

Aside from government agencies, many private firms employ security officers and as with government employees, the nature of the work can affect the security officer's salary. People employed as bodyguards often have to work long shifts and travel to many different locations. Consequently, these officers tend to earn more than people who work limited hours and guard specific locations. Some major security firms provide security for multi-national companies that have operations in foreign locations; in these instances, the security officer's salary levels may be adjusted to reflect the cost of living. Many firms pay a premium to guards who agree to work in locations where wars or civil strife expose the officers to high levels of risk.

Many security officers are unarmed in which case these officers do not normally have to undergo any special training. Some employers require security officers to carry firearms in which case officers must successfully complete firearms training courses. In many instances, firms employ former soldiers as armed security officers and companies usually pay a premium to attract job applicants who have undergone military training.

Junior security officers normally work under the direction of a seasoned officer or supervisors. These supervisors are responsible for assigning specific duties to each officer and for managing the day-to-day security operations at a particular plant or location. Experienced officers are usually promoted into supervisory roles and these individuals are typically paid more than their junior counterparts.

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