How to Become a Security Guard

The Complete Guide to Becoming a Security Guard

Despite two years of battling a pandemic, the security industry appears to be making a strong recovery. With 27% more licences issued in 2020-21 than the year before, it’s safe to say that private security is an industry on the rise.

With more SIA licensed security guards than police officers, private security plays a huge role in keeping businesses, organisations and the general public safe.

At Churchill Support Services, we’re always looking to promote our industry and attract new talent.   So if you’re looking to become a security guard, this is the blog for you. We’re answering some of the biggest questions you might have about becoming a security guard and working in the security industry.


What Do Security Guards Do?

The work that security guards carry out on a daily basis will depend on their particular role. The work a Door Supervisor does will be different from the responsibilities of a CCTV security operative. Let’s take a closer look at the different areas of security:

  • Manned Guarding– guarding premises, property and people against criminal activity and harm.
  • Cash and Valuables in Transit – securely transporting property or cash and protecting it from damage or theft throughout the journey.
  • Close Protection – protecting one or more individuals from assault, crime, and injury.
  • Airport Security – searching aircraft, passengers, and luggage, and guarding airport boundaries.
  • Door Supervision – ensuring the safety and security of customers and staff in a licensed premises or public event.
  • Key Holding– safeguarding a business’s keys and responding to call-outs if required.
  • Public Space Surveillance- reviewing CCTV footage to protect premises, property or peopleand liaising with clients or other security guards if incidents occur.
  • Vehicle Immobilisation- clamping illegally parked cars or cars that are being used illegally.


Generally speaking, security guards are responsible for protecting businesses, properties and people from crime or harm. Their mere presence can help to deter crime and help people feel safer. Whether they’re controlling access to a business, searching bags at big events or monitoring CCTV footage, security guards use their skills and training to make the world a safer place.

Why Should I Work in Security?  

There are many reasons why people choose to become a security guard or work in the security industry in general. It offers a chance to protect people from harm, work flexible shifts and develop valuable and transferrable skills. Looking at attitudes amongst current security workers, a study revealed an overall positive attitude towards their work:

  • 62% of respondents said they would recommend a career in security to others.
  • 74% intended to remain in security for their entire working career.
  • 57% indicated they now have a “more positive” or “much more positive” perception of security than they did before working in the sector.

What Skills Do I Need to Become a Security Guard?

Whilst the roles within the security industry can vary, there are some core transferable skills you’ll need to succeed in the security industry. Here are some examples of the capabilities that employers will be looking for, as well as the skills you’ll be using on a daily basis to protect yourself and carry out your duties:

Staying calm under pressure- As a security guard, you may be working in a high-pressure environment and may be required to diffuse aggressive or threatening situations. Being able to stay calm under pressure will help you tackle security incidents that may occur while you’re on the job.

Thinking on your feet- The work of a security guard can be varied; you never know what might happen during your shift. If challenges do arise, you need to be able to think on your feet to resolve them and continue to provide an excellent service to your clients.

Paying Attention to detail- Whether you’re monitoring CCTV footage for suspicious activity or searching bags at an event, you need to be able to pay close attention and have an eye for detail. This will help you identify and deal with security threats that may otherwise cause harm to the public.

Basic computer skills- Basic computer skills will make it easier for you to get to grips with security technology such as CCTV. Your employer will likely provide training if you do need to use technology, but basic knowledge will help make this easier.

Good Communications skills- You will need to be able to communicate effectively with clients, your employer, and other security workers. You’ll need to be able to follow and carry out instructions and may be required to write up reports.

Do you have any of these transferable skills? If so, you could be on track for a successful career in the security industry.


What Qualifications Do I Need to Become a Security Guard?

To be a professional security guard in the UK, you need to have an SIA licence. In fact, it’s an offence to carry out ‘licensable activities’ without one. This helps to ensure that private security guards have the right training and necessary background checks to keep themselves and their clients safe.

To qualify for an SIA licence, you must:

  • be aged 18 or over
  • pass an identity check
  • pass a criminal record check
  • have the appropriate, SIA recognised, licence-linked qualifications
  • have the right to work in the United Kingdom (UK)


There are 5 types of manned guarding licences that you can apply for:

  • Cash and valuables in transit licence
  • Close protection licence
  • Door supervision licence
  • Public space surveillance licence
  • Security guard licence

To apply for an SIA licence, you’ll need a relevant licence-linked qualification, which will be a level 2 or level three qualification.

What are Licence-linked Qualifications?

To qualify for a front-line SIA licence, you must first have what’s called a licence-linked qualification. This means you’ll have completed a training course in your chosen area of security and have the necessary skills and training to carry out your role safely.

Your qualification must be obtained from an SIA-approved training provider. You don’t need a licence-linked qualification to qualify for a non-front-line licence or a key holding licence (unless you’re carrying out ‘licensable activities at the same time).

What Career Opportunities Are There in the Security Industry?

The security industry offers a diverse range of positions and a chance to progress from a front-line security guard. With experience, security officers can advance to senior security officer positions, and then further into supervisory roles. With additional qualifications, you could progress into security management, training, or even set up your own security company.

If you go into security management, you could move from an on-site to an off-site position, for example in client services or sales. The private security sector is also remarkable for its flexibility. In a sense, it is what you make it. Whether you’re looking for a long, fulfilling career or part-time hours, want to be on the ground or in the office, there’s something for everyone in the security sector.

Are There Any Disadvantages to Becoming a Security Guard?

Just like every career, there may be elements of being a security guard that aren’t for you. Here are some potential disadvantages to becoming a security guard:

  • Shift patterns may require you to work nights and weekends
  • Being a security guard can involve personal risk
  • Some security positions will be on zero-hour contracts
  • Working environments can be challenging e.g outdoors or hazardous sites

What Is the Average Salary of a Security Guard?

Whilst your salary will depend largely on your experience, qualifications, and employer, the average annual salary for a security guard in the UK could be anything between £18,000-£32,000. As with any profession, you’ll likely start off on the lower end of the spectrum but can work your way up over time, through continuous professional development.

 Are You SIA Qualified? Looking to Work for a UK Leading Security Provider?

If so, check out our vacancies today! If you embody our virtues of Passion, People First and Humility and have a valid SIA licence, we want to hear from you. Churchill Support Services offers a company culture like no other. We pride ourselves on our warm and friendly working environment, with Churchill employees themselves commending the ‘family-feel’ of the company and within their teams.

We recognise that our people are the heart of our company. This is why we invest in our employees, developing natural talents, providing quality training, and encouraging our employees to reach their full potential. If you’re looking to build a fulfilling and lasting career in the security industry, Churchill Support Services should be your employer of choice.

Don’t have a SIA licence?

Check out these websites for more information about getting am SIA licence and working in the private security sector: National Career Service, SIA Industry Authority, and GOV.UK.



Churchill Support Services is a leading cross-industry security provider, supplying professional and comprehensive solutions to organisations seeking expert security services and electronic systems.

To find out more about how Churchill can support your business and its operations, get in touch with us today.

Andy Farley

Group Chief Operating Officer

Andy is an experienced operations and sales professional with over 20 years’ experience. As Group Chief Operations Director, Andy is responsible for service delivery to new and existing clients throughout the UK, managing the 24 hour control room, the supervisory team and Operations Managers, and for driving efficiencies and best practice standards within the organisation.