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How Much Should Security Make in 2023

LAST EDIT May 5, 2023

Question: How much should a security guard make per hour?

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With the help of the just-released US Department of Labor Report, we now know how much post-COVID-era inflation has increased the pay of security officers. We also have a bit of a hint of an answer to the concern, "Are robots replacing security officers?" And we even have an answer to the question, "How much more does a security guard make than a burger flipper?"

Are you getting paid the going rate for security? Is it time to start looking for a better-paying security job? Or, does it even matter? Is the latest security robot from ADT Commercial or Knightscope going to take your job from you? Would it be better to just put in an application at McDonald's?

So, before we start, a quick disclaimer. This is government data. Specifically, it's the United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is the United States government, so in years past, this should mean that this is the gold standard, a sure or near-sure thing; but in recent years, especially in the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there has been controversy surrounding the integrity of economic data reporting. This decline in confidence wasn't helped when the Bureau delayed the release of the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistic Update. It was originally due in March but ended up being delayed for a month.

That said, it's still a vital data set for letting you know how much to expect when you go into security work. Or, perhaps you need to know if you are being underpaid and it's time to update your Security Officer Network transcript and get to looking for a new higher-paying assignment. Or, maybe you want to start a security agency and need to know how much to pay your officers.

Now, do keep in mind that government data lags by about one year, so this new number, though just reported, was actually measured back in May of 2022.

The last time we did one of these videos, it was 2020, and at that time, the most recent BLS report—from May of 2018—stated that the average security officer in the United States was making a median value of $13.70.

Now, five years later, according to the just-released numbers, that amount has risen to $16.71.

Ok, so while at first glance this 20% increase in cash sounds great, is it keeping up with skyrocketing inflation?

The answer is, yes, just barely. $13.70 in May of 2018 represents the same value as $16.44 in 2022. So if your security job matched the median, then you outpaced inflation by 27 cents per hour. Congratulations, you have outsmarted the Keynesian monetary fiends over at the Federal Reserve.

Also, remember that this is a nationwide average, so an officer in Louisiana shouldn't expect to be paid the same as one who works in New York City.

And, of course, pay is based on experience and capabilities, so an armed officer who has worked for 10 years should expect to be paid more than the median of $16.71, while an unarmed trainee who has yet to achieve state certification will likely earn a bit less than this amount.

One more comparison of note: How does working security compare to fast food? Fast food workers are paid a median salary of $13.43. So, by working security, you are working at a 24% premium to fast food—a much more stressful job.

Are robots replacing security?

The BLS data suggests that you don't have to worry too much about the robots—just yet. In our previous video, there were 1,114,380 security jobs reported; now, there are 1,124,890.

So, while the industry is undergoing automation, it's still growing in raw numbers, and that partially explains why so many security companies are anxious to hire. It's still an employee's market, and you shouldn't have any trouble picking and choosing the company and even the post that best fits your needs. If you need more pay, there's room to shop around; if you need an easy post, that's something you can negotiate for as well.

If you have found this information helpful and are serious about a career as a security professional, then here are three action items:

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Join us at It's here where you will build your professional portfolio, take and document your Security Officer Network training programs, and maintain your Network membership; the professional security officer's status symbol of choice.

Are you ready to start thinking about starting your own security company? Check out this 140 page ebook from The Security Officer Network entitled "How to Start A Security Guard Company". Get your PDF copy while it is still free! Or, order the paperback from Amazon.

Other Answers From the Security Officer Compendium

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How Much Can a New Security Agency Charge? - The new security agency's pricing strategy. Click to Read

What are the Components of the Security Guard Company Business Plan - The necessary elements of the Security Guard Company's business plan. Click to Read

How to Lower the Cost of the Securty Guard Company's Insurance Premiums - Methods for cutting the cost of insurance and undercutting the price model of the big security companies. Click to Read

How Much Should a Company Charge for Security Patrol? - Methods for charging for patrol route services. Click to Read

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