When looking to fill a security post in your office building, you will probably put out a job advertisement using the standard job description. It might, however, be challenging choosing between using security guard or security officer for the job title.

Some say there is no difference between a security guard and a security officer. Others believe there is a difference in the skills and qualities of the security.

This post aims to put the security guard vs. security officer debate to rest and determine, once and for all, if the two titles are different or similar.

Is There a Difference Between a Security Guard and Security Officer?

To an untrained eye or a casual observer, there is no distinction between a security officer and a security guard—they both appear to perform the same tasks.

Since the purpose of both roles is similar, it’s easy to confuse the two positions—in both roles, keeping someone or something safe is the priority.

This confusion exists even at the state level. Though most states require the two roles to be differentiated, the terminology isn’t uniform. On top of that, the roles do not have a universal definition.

Even most licensing agencies do not make a distinction between security guards and security officers. Most of them use these two terms interchangeably.

However, apart from the similarity in priority, there are many differences between a security guard and a security officer. These differences range from the training requirements to expectations and scope of responsibility.

To explain further, we will look at what each of these roles entails.

The Role of a Security Guard

You can view a security guard as the face of a building’s security operation. They are the person you will often see performing day-to-day security duties.

A security guard is posted at different checkpoints like gates, doors, or other areas that are considered to be vulnerable. They work under a security officer and will often stay at the location they have been assigned. Sometimes, however, the guard might patrol a specific area.

The guard follows a security management plan’s details and won’t be expected to exercise any independent judgment. Their responsibility is limited.

The hope is that a security guard’s presence will be more than enough to deter unwanted or criminal activity. If this fails, however, the guard is expected to report any suspicious activity they detect.

Due to the limited nature of the role, a security guard’s requirements are less stringent than those of a security officer. Though it helps, guards are not required to have high experience levels.

Instead, simple IQ tests or fitness requirements might be the only criteria some companies consider when hiring a security guard.

The Role of a Security Officer

While security guards have limited responsibilities, security officers operate in a more managerial role as they are in charge of the overall security operation. They are responsible for the smooth running of security at a location, often managing and training security guards.

To perform their duties, they assign security guards tasks that they must carry out. Also, instead of staying in one post, security officers are more mobile. They will rotate through different security checkpoints or stations to check-in and assess the status of the area.

Due to their increased responsibility, security officers need ample experience, tact, and judgment, and are often viewed as security professionals. Companies expect them to have extensive expertise and experience.

Their additional experience and expertise will come in handy because they can exercise a lot more independent judgment than security guards. Their knowledge and background will also be valuable when training security guards to fit seamlessly into the overall security operation.

Both Roles Still Require Adequate Training

Though a security officer needs more training because of the additional responsibility they deal with, a security guard also needs to be adequately trained. This training will enable them to execute the security plan professionally.

It does not matter how great your security management plan is; it will fail if you neglect to train guards or hire poorly trained guards.

You can request specific or additional training depending on the type of risk you want to be managed. Additional training for both security guards and security officers could include:

Security Guard vs. Security Officer: Who Should You Hire

To determine whether to hire a security guard or security officer, you need to consider the scope of the security job you would like done. If the tasks need additional experience and expertise, then hiring a security officer is your best bet.

Alternatively, if the role is not that extensive and the risks involved are minimal, opting for an adequately-trained unarmed security guard would be the better option.

When deciding which security personnel to go for, ensure that the potential candidate’s training matches your needs.

Turn To an Expert To Find the Right Security Personnel

Keeping people and precious items safe from the multiple threats that exist is a task you should not take lightly. When you work with a professional security solutions provider, you can significantly enhance the quality of the security personnel on which you rely.

It goes beyond hiring the right people. Working with an expert security solutions provider is one of the best and most comprehensive ways to ensure that every aspect of your security needs are taken care of.

When looking for the best possible security solutions for your office building, turn to Building Security Services & Systems.

At Building Security Services & Systems, we use our experience, expertise, and highly-trained staff to provide you with custom security solutions. We plan, source, and implement a plan to keep you, your employees, and your property protected.

We understand how valuable your assets are, and we dedicate ourselves to offering you top-notch services that will secure your office building.

Contact Building Security Services & Systems today to learn more about us!

Joseph Ferdinando is the visionary founder of Building Security Services, a leading security company renowned for its comprehensive security services. With an illustrious career spanning over 40 years in the security industry, Joseph has been instrumental in elevating the standards of security guard services for a broad spectrum of businesses and organizations. As an influential member of the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) in both New York and New Jersey chapters, Joseph has played a pivotal role in shaping industry standards and practices.