Security Officer

Security officers are employed by corporations and specialised security companies to protect life and property. The Security Officers' Board regulates the industry and provides a grading system for security officers. Different gradings qualify security officers for different levels of responsibility.

There is always an element of danger in security work so it is essential that the security officer is highly trained in some of the following areas of specialisation, such as:

  • the use of weapons
  • armed response
  • cash-in-transit
  • retail security
  • private / domestic security
  • crime investigation
  • dog handling; security electronics
  • bodyguarding
  • crowd control.
  • security needs are highest at night, security officers often work night shifts.

General tasks are to monitor and authorise entrance and departure of employees, visitors and other persons to guard against theft and maintain the security of the premises, to patrol industrial or commercial premises to prevent and detect signs of intrusion and ensure security of doors, windows and gates, and to operate detecting devices to screen individuals and prevent passage of prohibited articles into restricted areas. 

They may need to circulate among visitors, patrons or employees to preserve order and protect property, warn persons of rule infractions or violations, and apprehend or evict violators from the premises, using force if necessary.  They answer alarms and investigate disturbances.  In cases of emergency, such as fire or the presence of unauthorized persons, they call the police or fire department.  Some may have to answer telephone calls to take messages, answer questions and provide information during noon-business hours or when the switchboard is closed. They monitor and adjust the controls that regulate the building systems, such as air conditioning, furnace or boiler.  Some may have to escort or drive a motor vehicle to transport individuals to specified locations or to provide personal protection.

Personal Requirements

  • high level of physical fitness
  • alert, attentive and observant
  • determination
  • responsible
  • even temperament
  • able to make quick and sensible decisions in emergencies
  • some employers require a shooting licence

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

Grade 10 Certificate.

What to Study

Security officers must undergo training at an accredited training establishment. The Security Officers’ Board regulates such training and security officers must be trained for the job / discipline they are to perform, before they are posted to a workstation. Students that pass the various courses are issued with a certificate that is acceptable on a national basis.


  • specialised security companies
  • large companies with security divisions
  • self-employment, with enough experience and capital, can start own security company

Further Information

The Security Association of South Africa (SASA)
P O Box 414
Kloof, 3640
Tel: (031) 764-6765

Institute for Security Studies
P O Box 1787
Brooklyn Square, 0075
Tel: (012) 346-9500/2

Security Industry Regulatory Body

Getting Started

  • try to obtain vacation or part-time work in a security company
  • do a first aid course
  • arrange to speak to security officers and ask questions about their careers and ask permission to observe them at work

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations

A PACE Career Centre Product. © All rights reserved | Developed by Netgen (Pty) Ltd. Disclaimer: Please see disclaimer