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Security Officer/​Guard

Āpiha Whakamarumaru/​Tūtei Whakamarumaru

Alternative titles for this job

Security officers/guards protect people, property and assets by investigating, monitoring, controlling and reporting threats.


Security officers/guards usually earn

$21-$30 per hour

Experienced security officers/guards usually earn

$30-$70 per hour

Source: NZ Security Association, 2020

Job opportunities

Chances of getting a job as a security officer/guard are good due to a shortage of workers.


Pay for security officers/guards varies depending on experience and the type of work they do.

  • New security officers/guards usually earn between minimum wage and $25 an hour
  • Security officers/guards with experience usually earn between $25 and $30 an hour. 
  • Highly experienced security officers/guards who specialise as private investigators or security consultants can earn up to $70 an hour.

Source: NZ Security Association, 2020.

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)

What you will do

Security officers/guards may do some or all of the following:

  • patrol sites to check for threats like hazards and intruders
  • enforce rules or laws on sites and call for assistance from emergency services
  • control access to sites for staff, customers and contractors
  • monitor and control crowds at events 
  • monitor electronic security systems including cameras and alarms
  • write reports about what they observed on shift.

Skills and knowledge

Security officers/guards need to have knowledge of:

  • conflict management techniques
  • security and surveillance methods and equipment
  • legal procedures for arrest
  • laws on trespass, assault and personal property.

Private investigators and personal protection officers also need to have knowledge of:

  • court procedures
  • how to use electronic security systems
  • protection procedures and New Zealand laws defining the limits of their legal powers
  • self-defence.

Working conditions

Security officers/guards:

  • usually do shift work, which may include evenings and weekends
  • work inside or outside in all weather conditions.

Entry requirements

There are no specific requirements to become a security officer/guard.

However, you need a Certificate of Approval issued by the Ministry of Justice to work.

To get a certificate, you need to:

  • complete mandatory training
  • pass a police background check and a public notification which lets members of the public make comments
  • apply for the certificate
  • pay a fee.

For many roles, it can be helpful to gain the New Zealand Certificate in Security (Level 3 or 4).

A first aid certificate may also be useful.

Secondary education

A minimum of three years of secondary education is recommended. Useful subjects include physical education and digital technologies.

Additional requirements for specialist roles:

Loss protection officer

To become a loss prevention officer it is useful to gain a New Zealand Certificate in Security (Level 3 or 4).

Personal protection officer

To become a personal protection officer with the New Zealand Police you need to:

  • become a police officer
  • complete a further intensive two-week course.

To become a private personal protection officer you need to:

  • have proven experience and a good reputation in the security industry
  • apply for a private security licence from the Private Security Personnel Licensing Authority.

Private investigator

To become a private investigator you need to have:

  • a private security licence from the Ministry of Justice

Personal requirements

Security officers/guards need to be:

  • able to remain calm and make decisions under pressure
  • able to stay focused for long periods of time
  • excellent communicators
  • honest and able to keep information confidential.

Useful experience

Useful experience for security officers/guards includes:

  • work in hospitality, retail or tourism
  • customs officer work
  • police officer work
  • work as a member of the armed forces.

Physical requirements

Security officers/guards need to have excellent fitness and must be strong.


Security officers/guards need to have a current Certificate of Approval issued by the Ministry of Justice to work.


Find out more about training

NZ Security Association
(09) 486 0441 - -
Ignite Colleges
0800 200 345 -
Check out related courses

What are the chances of getting a job?

Chances of getting a job as a security officer/guard are good because:

  • not enough people are being trained to meet the demand for workers
  • private security companies are getting more work from the police and government agencies
  • turnover is high so positions are often available
  • the size of the industry is expected to continue to grow over the next decade.

According to the Census, 9,378 security officer/guards worked in New Zealand in 2018.

Opportunities for specialists varied

Opportunities for private investigators are low but growing due to an increase in commercial fraud investigations.

Opportunities for security consultants are low because of the small size of the occupation.

Types of employers varied

Security officers/guards may work for:

  • private security companies
  • private businesses that serve crowds like bars and stadiums
  • government agencies 
  • the police.


  • Dynon, N, ‘Gary Morrison on COVID-19 and Lockdown Uncertainty’, New Zealand Security Magazine, April/May 2020, (
  • Mathers, J, ‘Common Threads in Guardian Pay and Charge Rates’, New Zealand Security Magazine, August/September 2020, (
  • McQuilter, R, ‘Professional Investigators: Commercial Fraud Keeping the Sector Busy’, New Zealand Security Magazine, August/September 2020, (
  • Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, ‘Occupation Outlook for Security Workers’, accessed December 2020, (
  • NZ Security Career Pathways website, accessed December 2020, (
  • Stats NZ, '2018 Census Data', 2019.

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)

Progression and specialisations

Security officers/guards may progress to set up their own security firm, or move into security planning, consultancy or management roles.

Security officers/guards may specialise in an area of security such as:

Personal Protection Officer
Personal protection officers provide for the personal safety of a client, either as part of the diplomatic protection squad or in the private sector.
Private Investigator
Private investigators conduct investigations for clients, such as obtaining personal information or investigating fraud. They may also prepare evidence for court proceedings.
A security guard watches the crowd during a basketball game

Security officers/guards monitor and control crowds during large events

Last updated 20 October 2022