Requirements needed to become a security officer generally include a high school diploma or GED, and some employers look for applicants with postsecondary education, such as an associate degree or bachelor's degree in criminal justice. Registered security officers must be at least 18, undergo training and pass background checks.
Security officers who carry weapons require weapons training and must follow appropriate registration procedures to carry the weapons. Those guards may also be tested on their use of firearms. Some security officers must also have driver's licenses.
Officers must possess patience and good skills in decision making and observation, and they must be in good enough shape to deal with offenders and react to emergencies. Patience is necessary because of the extensive periods in which guards must pass time without having distractions, but if danger arises, they must be capable of making sound and quick decisions.
On-the-job training at the beginning of employment generally takes a few weeks and covers procedures for emergencies and communication as well as how to deal with suspected offenders. Many states urge security officers to get at least eight hours of training prior to starting their assignments, eight to 16 hours on the job and eight hours annually. Training can include report writing and first aid.