|The industry has to advance in terms of attracting experienced people and paying for that experience|
Time was, security officers patrolled with walkie-talkies, responding to dispatchers monitoring cameras in the control centre. The post of security officer was a minimum wage job requiring little more than a high school diploma, if that.
Educated and experienced security officers a prerequisite
No more. “Today, when we read our requests for proposal (RFPs), we’re seeing more complex job duties and responsibilities,” says Richard K. Avery, CPP, president, Northeast Region, of the Parsippany, N.J.-based Securitas Security Services USA. “So we have to bring in people at a pay level that accounts for higher levels of experience and education.”
“If a piece of technology malfunctions, it will likely require an operator certified by the manufacturer to get it working again,” Avery says. “Security officers will be working with more people. As security work continues to grow more sophisticated and technological, security officers are going to need altogether different skill-sets, education and training.”
Sometimes, an RFP demands highly sophisticated officers but promises only entry-level pay. “We won’t typically bid on these kinds of contracts,” he says. “As more jobs require people certified to operate a system, the industry has to advance in terms of attracting experienced people and paying for that experience.”
Securitas training model
Avery says that Securitas has a training model, a summary of what a security officer must know. It includes everything from shutoffs, alarm panels, firefighting chemicals and much more that a security officer must learn about a particular site, such as a manufacturing plant, a high-rise building or other kind of facility.
As security has become more and more sophisticated and technological, it has also become an undertaking with a career path for properly trained security officers and a profession for those that undertake continuing education and certifications
“It can take a long time and a lot of training for a security officer to learn a particular site, what needs to be protected and the security technology in use there,” says Avery. “Training is something given to everyone who starts a job or is promoting into a new job.”
“Certification is different. Certification means that someone has taken the time and effort to educate himself or herself. Importantly, not everyone that seeks to be certified completes the requirements.”
Above the rank of security officer, ASIS International is doing its part to upgrade the he skills of security directors and investigators with its board certifications. ASIS currently offers three board certifications: Certified Protection Professional (CPP), Physical Security Professional (PSP) and Professional Certified Investigator (PCI).
The CPP certificate requires knowledge and management skills in eight key security areas: security principles and practices, business principles and practices, investigations, personal security, physical security, information security, crisis management and legal issues.
The PSP credential provides knowledge and experience in threat assessment and risk analysis; integrated physical security systems; and the appropriate identification implementation and ongoing evaluation of security measures.
The PSI credential requires knowledge and experience in case management, evidence collection and preparation of reports and testimony to substantiate findings.
Each of these ASIS certifications carries prerequisites. Candidates must have completed a certain level of education and offer a number of years of specific experience.
The ASIS system also requires individuals holding certifications to continue their studies. “Every three years, a certificate holder must recertify,” Avery says.
Recertification requires CPPs, PSPs and PCIs to collect 60 continuing education credits over three years. Credits may be earned for membership in a non-profit professional security or security-related organisation or association. Credits may also be earned for membership in a non-profit business management –related organisation or association.
Credits are available for taking classroom courses, for instructing courses relevant to the practice of security management and for authoring books and articles.
As security has become more and more sophisticated and technological, it has also become an undertaking with a career path for properly trained security officers and a profession for those that undertake continuing education and certifications.