Working in security with GCSEs (or similar)

You could work for an organisation that provides security for businesses or members of the public.

This could be in a shop or retail park, in a prison or at an indoor or outdoor event. You will work as part of a team or under supervision, particularly while you learn the job. You could enter the security industry through an apprenticeship.

Example jobs

Security system installer
Installing and maintaining security, fire and emergency systems.

Event security
Dealing with the public at large sports events.

Prison Service operational support
Patrolling prison grounds, checking prisoners in and out, escorting prisoners.

Case study

Working in security

The job has given me confidence. I am completely different from how I was when I first started...

Kian Evans, security guard at a security firm

Approximate pay levels

Figures supplied as a guide only

Entry level jobs are likely to be paid at the minimum wage.

Pay levels graph

Typical working conditions

  • Many jobs are outdoors, patrolling buildings or outdoor events. You may be on your feet a lot of the time and you may work shifts.
  • You may wear a uniform or a high-visibility (hi-vis) jacket.
  • You will have lots of contact with the public.

Qualifications needed

You do not usually need any formal, academic qualifications although there are some relevant level 2 qualifications in security guarding. For some jobs you need to be 18 and hold a Security Industry Authority (SIA) licence. You need to be able to deal with people calmly but firmly. For many jobs, your employer will carry out a DBS check.

Career path

With experience you could become a team leader. In the prison service, you could apply to become a prison officer.

Useful links

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Prison Service

Find out about careers in prisons

British Security Industry Association

BSIA – Guide to careers in the private security industry

Security Industry Association

SIA - Licensing for those working in the private security industry