Armed guard salary & career outlook
Armed guards work in a variety of settings to provide protection and surveillance services. They may be employed by individuals, businesses or public entities. In addition to monitoring the premises of a building, armed guards may complete case reports, detain potential criminal violators or testify in court. Individuals who work as armed guards must often pass a rigorous screening process and must be physically healthy and mentally stable.
Armed guard salary information
For statistical purposes, salaries for armed guards are often included in the broad category of security guards, who may or may not be armed. In 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found the mean annual wage for security guards to be $26,870, or $12.92 an hour, with the top percentile earning $41,240 annually. The BLS notes that armed guards generally have higher earnings and better benefits than their unarmed counterparts.
At Salary.com, the median salary for security guards is reported as $29,169. While Salary.com uses employer-reported data in its calculations, Glassdoor.com relies on user submitted wages to provide average income information. According to the website, security guards report average hourly wages ranging from $9.89 to $12.13.
Several states offer average incomes that are significantly higher than the national figure. For example, in 2010, the BLS determined the following were the highest paying states for security guards:
Although the District of Columbia offers the highest annual mean wage, job seekers should keep in mind that it has one of the highest costs of living in the nation, second only to Hawaii. Similarly, Alaska also has a high cost of living according to data published by the Missouri Economic Research Information Center. Idaho, on the other hand, can boast both high incomes and a low cost of living - the 12th lowest nationwide. Other metropolitan areas worth considering for above average wages and low costs of living:
- Burlington, N.C.: $39,850 in a state ranked 22nd in the nation for cost-of-living affordability
- Amarillo, Texas: $39,790 in a state ranked 5th in the nation for cost-of-living affordability
- Ann Arbor, Mich.: $34,990 in a state ranked 18th in the nation for cost-of-living affordability
Finding armed guard schools
For many armed guard positions, a high school diploma may be all that is necessary. However, the BLS indicates that individuals who have postsecondary education, such as a degree in criminal justice or police science, may be preferred by employers. Job applicants must undergo background checks as well as meet state firearm licensing requirements before being allowed to carry a weapon. Once hired, some states require ongoing training for individuals to retain licensure. You may be able to find this armed guard training online.
The future for armed guard careers
According to BLS data, job opportunities for security guards should grow by 14 percent from 2008 to 2018. Despite this being a growing occupation, the career's flexible hours and scheduling make armed guard positions popular, and competition will exist for higher-paying jobs. Those with degrees from armed guard schools may have the best chance at filling these openings.