What Can I Do with a Security Degree?

Students who obtain a degree in security services often pursue jobs in security or criminal justice. Some schools offer a diploma to prepare students for entry-level criminal justice positions such as corrections officers and bailiffs. Jobs in security include diverse fields such as parole, juvenile justice, probation and law enforcement. Some of these jobs do not include specific requirements for education. However, those with some kind of diploma or degree have a better chance of getting the position.

Many careers in criminal security services also require academic training, physical fitness tests and background checks. These requirements vary by state and even from city to city. By researching specific positions, students can tailor their education to launch a career in security services.

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Outcomes of Security Degrees and Diplomas

Students who obtain an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or security services, pick up the following skill sets:

  • Ability to recognize security concerns that includes threat awareness and how to secure suspects
  • Proper preparation of notes and incident reports
  • Familiarity with the criminal justice system at the local, state and federal levels
  • Knowledge and skills required by new hires for jobs in security

A career in security services allows candidates to protect and serve others.

Is Security a Good Career?

Careers in security services may grow by 3% through 2029, according to the US Bureau of Labor statistics. This means that more than 95,000 new jobs will open up in security fields. Salaries for jobs in security average around $44,000, somewhat higher than the average wage for all jobs in the United States at $42,000.

Correctional officers and bailiffs make an average of $48,000 a year. Correctional officers watch over those awaiting trial or sentenced to jail time period Bailiffs maintain safety inside courtrooms. Candidates for these positions must have their high school diploma or GED.

Fire inspectors examine buildings for fire hazards and compliance with local, state and federal fire codes. The average salary for fire examiners and inspectors is $62,000. Firefighters put out fires and respond to life-threatening emergencies. The average salary for firefighters is $53,000.

Jobs in security also include becoming a police officer or detective. Criminal investigators and detectives gather facts at crime scenes. And police officers protect the public and individuals. These jobs pay an average of $67,000.

Careers in security services include becoming a private investigator. These professionals look for information that sheds light on personal or legal problems. Most employers require a high school diploma or GED. However, many private investigators have their baccalaureate degrees, and the average salary for this line of work is $53,000.

Those who want to have a career in security may choose to become gaming surveillance officers or security guards. Security guards work in a variety of environments. Candidates for these jobs need to have a school diploma and the average salary is $31,000 per year.

The education typically required to enter the occupation ranges from a high school diploma to a college degree. Police officers and detectives have their own training academies and firefighters typically go through an extended training program approved by area departments. 

Education for a Career in Security Services

Most organizations that hire security guards have their own training programs. Although they require a high school diploma or equivalency, they may not require a formal degree. Other programs may have more stringent education or certification requirements.

Working as a police officer or firefighter can provide job candidates with a sense of satisfaction and boost self-esteem. Security jobs often involve taking responsibility for the safety of others and maintaining safety on campus, commercial property or municipality.

Many community colleges offer two-year and four-year programs or certificate programs. Law enforcement programs may also require students to learn a foreign language which can come in handy in certain areas of the country.

Alternative jobs in security include federal wildlife officers as well as game wardens who work for the state. Fish and game wardens protect wildlife, and these positions require a bachelor’s degree in biology or a related field. Some of these positions do not require degrees. However, having a bachelor’s degree can greatly increase a candidate’s chances of getting these unique jobs.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and other agencies prefer investigators to have a criminal justice degree.

Jobs in security give candidates with minimal or no formal education an opportunity to get entry-level jobs in the field. For example, becoming a security guard or first responder can give candidates the flexibility to work nights or weekends so that they can continue their education in criminal justice or other fields.


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