How Much Do Security Guards Earn?

General Overview

The amount of pay that security guards earn widely varies, as there are many different types of security guard positions. In addition, things such as whether the guard is an armed security officer or not also factors into it.


How Much Do Security Guards Earn?


While it can be harder to determine what a security guard makes if he or she is compensated based on an hourly wage as opposed to a salary, the following overview will provide a sense of the range in pay.

Entry-Level Security Guard Positions

For someone just starting off as a private security guard in an entry-level position, in which he or she has no prior experience, pay can be a bit low. An entry-level security guard can expect to make, at minimum, $12 to $15 an hour or around $25,000 per year. Of course, this doesn’t factor in overtime pay, which can increase their annual wages by a significant amount. While the pay is low for private security guards who are just starting out, it’ll rise as they gain more experience and tenure.

Wages Vary By Industry

Security guard pay differs based upon the industry that the security guard is employed in. A security guard at a retail store can expect to earn an amount similar to what a general entry-level security guard position will pay, but an armed security guard with military experience will likely start off much higher.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a unit of the US Department of Labor, the top 5 paying industries for security guards, based on their Annual Mean Wage, are the following:

  • Natural Gas Distribution – $62,570
  • Rail Transportation – $51,980
  • Aerospace Product and Parts Manufacturing – $51,430
  • Architectural, Engineering, and Related Services – $50,780
  • Electric Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution – $50,560


Wages Vary By State

The wages of a security guard are also affected by the state that they’re employed in. The top 5 paying states for security guards, based on their Annual Mean Wage, are:

  • Alaska – $46,610
  • The District of Columbia – $43,370
  • Washington – $35,200
  • Idaho – $34,320
  • Maryland – $33,930


Alaska’s high annual mean wage is due to the natural gas security positions available in the state.

The Place of Employment and Qualifications Both Matter

Even within an industry, there are certain factors which can affect the amount that a security guard is paid. For example, those with a military background are often paid more, even if they do not have any actual experience as a security guard. Other factors that can lead to a higher wage are:

  • Being an armed security guard;
  • Providing security for an establishment with high-value products or a large amount of cash being exchanged;
  • Positions which require a security guard to have an additional skills, such as those involving cyber or IT security;
  • Positions that bring with them a high degree of potential danger.

To put it simply, the more extensive the position is and the harder that it is to qualify for it, the higher the pay will be.

First Security Services has been hiring security guards for decades and provides competitive wages. Contact us today if you’re interested!