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10 Things to Know About Mall Security Before You Apply to the Role
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AnnaMarie Houlis
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Journalist & travel blogger
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Considering a career as a mall security guard? Here's everything you need to know about mall security, how to get a job as a mall security guard and what you can expect while working as a mall security guard.

1. What is mall security?

What do mall security do, after all? Mall security officers are responsible for protecting retail property, staff who work at the mall and shoppers who visit the mall. They're highly trained professionals who have to be prepared to respond to any situation that can occur within and around the mall's premises. 

These types of situations span everything from petty crime to terrorist threats to making sure that shoppers abide by traffic and parking laws.

2. Where do mall security guards work?

Mall security guards generally work at malls — though the word "mall" can be used broadly to cover a range of retail spaces.

3. How do you get hired as a mall security guard? 

Getting hired as a mall security guard differs by the employer. Generally, however, you will need a high school diploma or a GED, good health, a passing background check, a negative drug test, training and a license.

Most states require security guards to hold a license that you can earn through extensive, in-the-classroom and on-the-job training. Your employer may provide the training upon employment with the mall or via an independent security provider. While some states require that a potential licensee already have a job offer before they can enroll in a licensing program, others allow job seekers to complete state-approved training on their own before seeking out employment and kicking off their job hunt.

Some employers may require that you receive a certification, as well.

"While it's not always required by employers, some mall security guards seek the Certified Protection Professional (CPP) designation from ASIS International, formerly known as the American Society for Industrial Security," according to Study.com. "Earned by passing a comprehensive written examination after at least seven years of work experience (nine years if the applicant does not have a bachelor's degree), the CPP credential can provide security professionals more credibility with employers and may increase their earning potential."

Fortunately for you, the job outlook for security guards is positive, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"Overall employment of security guards and gaming surveillance officers is projected to grow 4% from 2018 to 2028, about as fast as the average for all occupations," the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests. "Overall job opportunities should be excellent, especially for security guards."

In 2018, after all, there were 1,154,300 security jobs.

4. Do you need a degree to be a mall security guard?

You may not need a degree to secure an entry-level position as a mall security job, though you will need a high school diploma or a GED. If you want to advance in your job as a mall security guard to a position in management, however, you might need a postsecondary degree — though that will be up to your employer's discretion.

You might also need more education and a few years of experience if you plan to use your job as a mall security guard as a stepping stone to a career in law enforcement.

5. What experience do you need to be a mall security guard?

You may not need any experience to land an entry-level mall security guard job, though you might need more experience to earn a higher-up position in management, for example. Some malls may also have bigger security needs, which means that they may look for candidates who have experience in other security-like roles before. This could mean experience bouncing at a bar or club, experience as a police officer, experience in the military or some other kind of position that would require you to handle crime (big and small) and emergency situations.

6. How much do mall security guards get paid?

The median average salary for all security jobs in 2018 was $28,530 per year or $13.72 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

7. Does mall security carry guns?

Some mall security officers do carry guns, while others do not. Whether or not they carry guns depends on their specific role, as there are several different roles that mall security officers can fulfill.

8. Can mall security give out tickets?

Yes, some mall security officers can give out tickets — but not the same legally binding tickets that police officers can give you. For example, mall security in charge of parking and traffic can give parking citations. 

9. What are typical mall security hours?

Mall security officers don't have any "typical" hours. They don't work nine to five, for example. Rather, they work whatever hours the mall is open, and some even work after opening hours to keep guard of the premises and make sure that nothing disturbs the peace during the night or on closing holidays.

10. What benefits do mall security guards get?

Your benefits as a mall security guard will depend on your employer. Some employers will offer both part- and full-time security guards benefits like paid time off, paid sick leave and paid parental leave, for example. Others may only offer these benefits to full-time employees. And others may not offer paid time off at all. It's important to ask questions about what benefits would be available to you if you were to take a job as a mall security guard.

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AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.

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