How to Become a Security Guard

The primary duties of a security guard are to protect property, assets and people by proactively assessing suspicious behaviour, mitigating risks as they appear and contacting the relevant authorities when an incident does occur. Security guards work across virtually every sector, including finance, retail, healthcare, hospitality, manufacturing, distribution, education, energy, government, corporate and industrial. Security guards may also be hired to protect individuals such as business owners or celebrities. There are many specialisms, such as static security guards, dog units, night watchmen, concierge officers, patrol officers and key holders.

In the UK, there is no legal requirement to hold formal qualifications in order to work as a security guard. That said, most employers requests applicants have at least a Level 1 Award in Securing Your Own Safety (QCF), which can be obtained through certain training providers such as City & Guilds and IFSEC International. The course covers topics like identifying hazards at work, health surveillance, fire safety awareness, first aid, chemical hazards in the workplace and practical tips on how best to prepare yourself against theft. Many Security Guards working within manned guarding also choose to undertake a Level 2 Award in Security Awareness, which is also provided by IFSEC International and other training providers. This course builds upon the topics covered within the Level 1 Award and covers more advanced manned guarding security issues such as public order, communication skills and developing partnerships with local communities.

A high proportion of Security Guards will undertake a formal manned guarding qualification to give them a competitive advantage when applying for jobs or promotion prospects. There are many different qualifications available on the market, including vocational courses (NVQ/SVQ), BTEC Nationals and ‘gold standard’ manned guarding qualifications from university-level awarding bodies (such as Edexcel and OCR).


What is the SIA Security Guard Licence?

It’s a compulsory security guard license that any individual or security-related business requires before they can begin undertaking designated activities within the private security industry. To be eligible, you must be 18 years of age, have the right to work in the UK and have passed the Security Guard Training Course. The licence is issued by the Security Industry Authority (SIA) and is valid for three years. It’s also worth understanding that any previous experience of working in the police or armed forces could also be useful to your long-term carer ambitions in the security sector.


What to expect when working as a security guard

Of course, before you even consider qualifications and courses that you may need to undertake, it’s important to gain insight into the security sector and take some time to understand the area of protection that most interests you. You can then begin to think carefully about that the role involved and whether it’s going to be the right fit for you. You could be a great doorman if you have an intense sense of duty, like assisting and defending others. You might be stationed at the forefront of a structure. This implies you’ll be required to screen and greet visitors. You must ensure that everyone who enters the premises is authorised to do so. Such a role will require a keen eye, the ability to detect suspicious behaviour and the confidence to take action swiftly before a situation can get out of control.

If we’re looking at the broader role of a security officer in the UK, you’re going to require the following skills:


The Key Skills You Will Need

Excellent communication

It will be your responsibility to follow client instructions and communicate orders. When working within a large organisation, events, or with the general public, it’s crucial you convey information to people clearly and simply.


Quick Thinking

In certain situations, the need for security guards to ‘think on their feet’ is imperative. It’s always going to be beneficial if you’re a fast thinker and capable of preventing an issue before a situation worsens or gets completely out of control.



Being a guard is about so much more than patrolling a site. You will need to remain agile, adapting to a variety of requirements to successfully perform your job. Think about how coronavirus changed the way we live and work, especially within the world of security. Security guards have taken on more responsibility, ensuring the number of people within a store is as safe as possible whilst helping to enforce social distancing and hand sanitisation.


Keep on learning

With technology evolving at a rapid pace, there is a real need for security guards to be highly trained with new tech, including a high level of familiarity with various devices and systems. Being comfortable with various security systems will keep you at the top of your game and help you on your way to becoming one of the best security officers!

We’ve touched on some of the initial qualifications you may want to consider, as well as the areas of security and skills involved; however, every officer’s journey is unique. It’s always well worth opening a dialogue with a security company you’d like to work for one day because you can instantly gain insight into the types of individuals they hire, as well as the experience and qualifications required to ‘get your foot in the door’.

At Intraguard, we’ve has quickly grown to become a leader in the security industry, building strong and proactive partnerships with organisations in London and across the UK. We offer flexible schedules, diverse work assignments spanning multiple industries, and training and career advancement opportunities. If you’d like to learn more about us and any current vacancies, please get in touch with our friendly team today on 0207 183 5016.