Back in 2006, when I was leaving the military, I found myself face to face with a Marine Corps Career Retention Specialist, in other words a recruiter for those that are already in the military.  More commonly known as a Career Planner, these motivated individuals in pristine uniforms are focused on one goal—getting you to re-enlist.  For those that choose not to stay, the term becomes EAS’ing, or Ending Active Service.  Once that decision is made known, the motivation seems to disappear.  In all fairness to the guy I sat down with, it’s a pretty thankless job, because you are selling something to guys and gals that know all too well what they would be getting into by signing up for another contract.  So, when I made my intentions clear, the very candid offer was given to me—Cop or Security Guard?   

Even though I wanted to explore a private vs. public security career, back then, the idea of private sector security did not evoke a great image, perhaps today, it still doesn’t.  I mean, look at the movies.  You Will Smith as a Miami cop driving some fast cars and shooting everything in sight in Bad Boys, or Dwayne Johnson going HAM on some fools as a Diplomatic Security Services Agent in Hobbes and Shaw, and even back then it was Samuel L. Jackson tearing it up as Hondo in S.W.A.T.  As for private security, think: Paul Blart, Mall Cop.  See where I’m going with this? The choice was pretty much made for me, so I took a chance on a new contract and was hired by the US Secret Service.  

Now, don’t get me wrong, I had an amazing time in my 10 years with them, and worked with some of the best people on the planet.  But since I transitioned into the private sector in 2015, it got me to thinking about just how inaccurate the private security stereotype is, and what the impact has been to an industry that is in dire need of serious professionals.  To be fair, a lot of this stereotype is warranted, just google “out of shape security guard” and get ready to laugh at some of the images.  However, there are some really awesome jobs in this field that are unfortunately overshadowed. 

Make no mistake about it, the current climate of safety and security in the world has demanded the best individuals and offers a very valid career path because of it, with salaries to match.  There are entry level positions that offer training to those that need a base level of skills, as well as transitionary employment to those that bring the value of training and experience from the public sector.  No matter what you bring to the table, a career path can be mapped out.

To highlight just a few opportunities:

  1. Close Protection: Whether a high value location, asset, or person, there are increasing opportunities for individuals with the proper training and experience to work on these highly sought after and compensated details. 
  2. Investigations: No longer reserved for the 25-year retired police detective, these jobs can range from pre-employment background investigations to multimillion-dollar fraud investigations. 
  3. Consulting: Risk and threat assessments, physical security plans, event security planning, and places of worship security are all career avenues in the consulting world. 
  4. Armed Security: Today, these assignments require an individual that is highly competent, responsible with firearms use, and ready to answer the call in a life or death situation.
  5. Security Surveillance: Whether monitoring cameras for a real time crime center, or actively surveilling a casino floor, these individuals often work hand in hand with law enforcement counterparts to get the job done. 
  6. Front-desk security: Individuals that can respond appropriately to building emergencies while maintaining a concierge and customer service focus for tenants come in high demand.

These positions often hire at an entry level with little or no training required, however, there are private sector trainings in these fields that can certify.  Courses can be found that are taught by companies likely to be run by former high-level military and law enforcement, that teach the same methodologies as used in the public sector. 

Allow me to be clear on one point, though. Public sector law enforcement is an absolute calling, or vocation, for some.  It is a career path that was extremely rewarding for me, and one that I will be forever grateful for pursuing.  If it is the career path for you, please pursue it with 100% commitment and motivation (you’ll need it).  However, if you are at all on the fence, consider private sector work, you won’t be sorry. 

So, in closing, get into some good training, and put to rest the Paul Blart stereotype.  The private sector has come a very long way since my EAS date, and there are many exciting and rewarding careers to be found.  If you are looking for where to start, visit our careers page to see what career opportunities we have available. 

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