Physical Security Specialist: Everything You Need to Know

By Bernhard Mehl
June 02, 2020

A physical security specialist might sound appealing to those of you interested in the security field. In this article, we’re going to take an in-depth look at what this profession requires of you, how much you might earn, and how you can go about becoming one. 

What Is A Physical Security Specialist?

A physical security specialist performs an important job. Essentially, their responsibility is to keep facilities and people secure and safe. They provide technical support for a range of systems - such as surveillance cameras, electronic access, and IT. These security-related tasks are important to places that need a high level of security support. Both in the private and public sphere. 

Organizations that hire physical security specialists will have done so for safety and security needs. As many different places require the support of these professionals, travel is not an uncommon part of the job. 

These professionals monitor incidents and respond to them if necessary, screen visitors and guests, ensure that exits and entrances are covered, and mitigate risks after assessing them. 

What Does A Physical Security Specialist Do?

While the above section dealt with a general overview of what a physical security specialist is, this one will look further into particular tasks. These professionals are considered experts in the field and are trusted with a lot of responsibility. 

The provision of physical and technical support for high-security areas comes hand-in-hand with a couple of notable roles. These include installing and maintaining security equipment for surveillance, interacting with guests and employees for the purpose of security, and documenting visitors. 

Specific duties will vary depending on the field and employer. Other tasks include conducting risk vulnerability inspections and reviewing facility design for the location of sensitive materials. 

Security procedures may not be up to scratch and will need to be evaluated. Once evaluated, these procedures might need replacing with more appropriate, up-to-date measures. 

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Proper sign-in systems for guests are important for risk reduction. Another very important job for these professionals is the evaluation of clearance for management staff. This involves assessing the information or property they have access to with regards to the clients.

A physical security specialist will also need to develop policies around the security of the client. Then, they need to ensure that the employees adhere to these policies. So, overseeing the implementation of these policies is also a part of the job. 

How Much Does A Physical Security Specialist Make?

A common thing to ask if you’re interested in this path is, “what does a physical security specialist salary look like”? This is naturally a big deciding factor for a lot of people. In general, physical security specialists earn an average of about $63,994 per year. This figure is the national average for the United States, as of May 2020.

This figure will vary depending on the geographical region, employer, and specific task set of each professional. If you’re based in another country, this figure might be quite different. Education and experience also have a part to play, as well as whether you’re in the public or private sector.

Across the US, the range is between $40 000 and $84 000. As you can see - these other factors can contribute a lot. We recommend doing extra research into particular sectors and clients you hope to work for.

How Do You Become A Physical Security Specialist?

What might you find on a physical security specialist resume you ask? A Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice seems to be the starting point for many. This course includes ethics, law, criminology, and homeland security aspects. Education and training requirements vary, but many will prefer this degree as a foundation. 

More advanced positions would most likely require additional work and training courses. So, a good idea would perhaps be to engage in a physical training course, or look into some of the courses offered by Kisi. Employers will run a background security check as well, so stay out of trouble!

Other important skills include problem-solving, attention to detail, respect and understanding for cultural differences, good communication, and strategic thinking.

Final thoughts

A physical security specialist is an excellent career path to follow if you want to ensure the safety of people and facilities. These professionals are essential in the support that they provide. All in all, this is a great opportunity in the security field. There are multiple skills that are necessary, and the range in salary can vary.

If you are interested in following this profession, you might want to conduct more research into particular companies to work for. Each employer and client will be looking for different services and training backgrounds. 

Bernhard Mehl

Bernhard is the co-founder and CEO of Kisi. His philosophy, "security is awesome," is contagious among tech-enabled companies.