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Earn More as a Security Officer

Earn More As A Security Officer


EARN MORE as a Security Officer!

I’ve been working in the security industry since 1984 when I joined the Marine Corps. I often get asked “How can I make more?" while working in security.  Here are my TOP TEN tips.  These are BY FAR the FASTEST & EASIEST ways to earn more as a security officer.  Follow these tips and you'll earn more!

1. Education and Training

     Get Training

In California security officers are required to undergo 40 hours of mandatory training.  The first 8 hours are called the “Guard Card” class must be completed before you can work as a security officer.  Once you’ve completed this class and have your Guard Card you can work as a security officer in California.

But getting your guard card is just the start.  You’ll need to get an additional 16 hours of training within the first 30 days of working as a security officer and another 16 hours within the first 6 months of employment.  This training is your responsibility and all together adds up to 40 hours of training all California security officers are required to attend.

If you come to your new job with this training ALREADY COMPLETED you are ABOVE OTHER APPLICANTS and stand out as "ready to work".  Getting all your training is fast and easy.  You can do it online here:

2. Be available

Security Officers that get the most hours, best pay, most overtime and quickest promotions are officers that are AVAILABLE!  If you can work anywhere at any time then let your boss (or whoever does the schedule) know that so you can get a bigger paycheck right away!

3. Be Professional

As a hiring manager it’s disappointing when people attend an interview or dress or act in an unprofessional manner.  Make sure that you ALWAYS look & speak as a professional!  If you want to be treated professionally & make the money that a professional makes then you need to BE professional.


Lady Justice

Law Addresses Misclassification of Security Officers as Independent Contractors


The issue of employers classifying security officer and protective agents as “independent contractors” continues to be on ongoing problem in California and is, generally speaking, illegal.

To see an article about California State Licensing Requirements click here:

California Security Officer Licensing Requirements

Despite this many employers do this to avoid overtime, payroll taxes and workers compensations premiums and many security & protective personnel, desperate for income or just trying to “break into” the field, accept these positions despite the risks. Some of these employers are based in California but many are based outside California and operate intermittently within the State. Since California offers no “grace period”, any security work done must be conducted by employees of a State licensed company and not by independent contractors.

This law will hopefully encourage some unscrupulous employers to change their illegal practices in the hiring of security & protective personnel and help level the playing field for businesses following the letter of the law.


On October 9, 2011, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill 459, the “Worker Classification Bill,” regarding independent contractors. The law significantly increases the risks and penalties for misclassifying workers as independent contractors by imposing substantial penalties on employers found to have engaged in misclassification, as well as on advisors (other than attorneys) who advise an employer to engage in such treatment. The new law also includes what many have characterized as a “Scarlet Letter” provision that will require the offending employer to make a public confession of its unlawful behavior.

The new law, which was authored by Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett, a Democrat from Alameda County, applies to “willful misclassification” of a worker as an independent contractor. The law states:

“Willful misclassification" means avoiding employee status for an individual by voluntarily and knowingly misclassifying that individual as an independent contractor.

The law provides no standards for what is “voluntary and knowing.” Since an employer is presumably aware when it engages an individual as an independent contractor rather than as an employee, the above definition provides little defensive assistance to an employer. Even in the unlikely event that an employer does not have actual knowledge of the treatment, the “knowing” standard would likely be interpreted to include constructive knowledge, which, in turn, includes what the employer “should have known.”

Violators are subject to civil penalties between $5,000 to $15,000 per violation, in addition to any other penalties or fines permitted by law. Violators who are found to have engaged in a “pattern or practice” of violations are subject to a larger civil penalty of $10,000 to $25,000 for each violation. The law also provides no definition of “pattern or practice,” leading to the possibility that the higher penalties might be assessed where an employer has misclassified more than a single individual.

Employers found to have engaged in any violation must post a prominently displayed notice on the employer’s Internet website advising employees and the general public of its violation. This is the so-called “Scarlet Letter,” a reference to the badge of shame worn by the principal character in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s famed novel. Employers without a website must have the notice “displayed prominently in an area that is accessible to all employees and the general public at each location where a violation occurred.” The notice, which must (i) remain for one year and (ii) be signed by a corporate officer, must state, in essence, the following:

The employer “has committed a serious violation of the law by engaging in the willful misclassification of employees.”

The employer has “changed its business practices to avoid committing further violations” of the law.

“Any employee who believes that he or she is being misclassified as an independent contractor may contact the Labor and Workforce Development Agency” [and the notice must list the agency’s mailing address, email address and telephone number].

This “notice is being posted pursuant to a state order.”

Although the California Labor Commissioner is charged with enforcement of this new law, individuals may file their own complaints judicially. As a practical matter, by creating a private right of action with significant penalties, class action litigation potentially presents a greater threat than government enforcement.

Ironically, Governor Brown’s signature came just days after the Internal Revenue Service announced its new Voluntary Classification Settlement Program (VCSP). The VCSP provides forgiveness of most of the amounts that would otherwise be due at the federal level for those employers that reclassify independent contractors as employees. Acceptance of the VCSP may be seen as a trap because it could make defense of non-IRS actions almost impossible. However, if the classification of workers as independent contractors is not well-founded, the new California law provides still another reason to make changes.

The law is codified as Sections 226.8 and 2753 of the California Labor Code.

Officer Down

Security Officer On the Job Fatalities

Private Officer International today released their year-end report of security officer deaths for 2010.

According to Rick McCann, Founder/Executive Director, the association identified and confirmed 76 on duty deaths of security officers but estimates that the number is actually closer to 90. The discrepancy always comes from the way that security officer positions are classified by numerous federal and state agencies.

While the job title may be doorman or watchman or pool guard, they all perform security related duties but are not categorized as security officers on federal statistical records, the press release stated. A practice that McCann hopes will change soon so that those who die while in the performance of their security duties are properly recognized, he said.

The 2010 death total is up by 17 % from the previous two years and McCann attributes that to the increased duties and responsibilities of security officers, the increase in proactive response rather than the old "Observe and Report" method previously used which means that more security officers are being put into direct contact with active criminal activity, violent offenses and increased dangers.

The Top 8 states for security officer deaths were:

  • California - 8
  • New York - 8
  • Florida - 6
  • Georgia - 6
  • Tennessee, Washington, Ohio & Maryland - 5 Each

Injuries of private security officers substantially rose during this same period with a major jump in the life threatening area such as gunshots, stab wounds and trauma and McCann said that this increase is due in part to the more visible and active security duties of the private officer who often find themselves apprehending criminals, facing armed suspects and involved in confrontations as they protect their employers property, staff and customers.

Many more security officers are involved in apprehensions and arrests of shoplifters, trespassers, robbery suspects and others who are committing crimes on properties under guard and security officers are playing a much bigger part in going after these people and being proactive in their duties. There is also a much wider use of private security in retail, residential, special events and other areas where there is more contact with the public, including criminals which makes the security officer more vulnerable to attack, assault and death.

As security officer duties and scope of authority continues to increase and the profession takes on a more proactive rather than reactive response, injuries and unfortunately deaths of security officers will also steadily increase McCann said.

That is why we, as an international association with members across the U.S. and in 16 countries are pushing for increased security officer training standards and qualifications so that these private officers will be better prepared and equipped to handle the added responsibilities and better safeguard themselves during the performance of them, McCann added.

McCann also stated that they are also drafting legislation in more than two dozen states to make assaulting a security officer in the performance of their duties a felony and so far similar laws have passed in Texas, Illinois, Vermont, Florida and Missouri.