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Degree Overview: Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Degree in Private Security

Majors Overview March 6, 2015

Get information about a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree program in Private Security and its coursework, career choices, continuing education choices, and job and wage outlook.

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Degree Programs in Private Security

Few schools, if any, offer bachelor’s degree programs in private security. Instead, some schools offer this program as a component of a degree program in safety, security, and emergency services management.

Students enrolled in Private Security Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree programs can expect to become adept at identifying potential security risks, assessing threat levels, implementing security policies, and leading people out of danger. Students may also learn about security technology, background checks, and legal issues pertinent to the security industry.

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma. Passage of college entrance exam scores may also be mandatory.


Coursework in most schools includes an array of subject areas relevant to policing strategies, emergency services, crisis prevention, government security, and public safety. Core coursework may include topic areas such as the following:

•Security operations theory
•Public safety management
•Security management
•Emergency disaster preparedness
•Organizational behavior
•Safety and security law
•Risk management
•Security ethics and leadership
•Emergency management planning
•Homeland security

Career Choices

Those who complete the program may seek entry-level careers in the private security industry for numerous employers, such as individuals or private corporations, in addition to government agencies. They may seek job titles such as:

•Hotel detective
•Private detective
•Legal investigator

Continuing Education Choices

While a bachelor’s degree will suffice for careers as private security workers, such as private detectives and investigators, no standard degree requirements have been set for these professions (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). However, candidates may be expected to have undergone postsecondary training related to criminal justice or law enforcement.

In certain industries, professionals seeking to work for private security may be expected to have completed a bachelor’s degree or other training. For instance, a professional seeking employment with an investment firm may need not only a bachelor’s degree in private security, but also a degree related to finance or business administration.

Some private security career professionals may need to obtain licensure; these include some types of investigators, such as private detectives. Licensure norms vary from state to state; however, students require passage of licensing exams and criminal background checks, in addition to meeting of educational requirements. Professionals employed in private security that carry firearms in the pursuance of their work would need to satisfy additional licensing and other requirements.

It is not mandatory for these professionals to maintain certification, although they can become more competitive in the job market if they hold certified credentials. Many business organizations offer certification programs. ASIS International offers the professional certified investigator (PCI), the physical security professional (PSP), and certified protection professional (CPP) designations. Passage of written or practical exams is a requirement for certification; candidates would need to attend trade seminars or complete approved coursework every few years to ensure re-certification.

Job and Wage Outlook

A job growth rate of 11% has been predicted for detectives and investigators over the 2012 – 2022 decade (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In 2012, private detectives and investigators brought home an annual average wage of $45,740.

During this same period, individuals employed in aerospace products manufacturing, computer systems design, navigational instruments manufacturing, electric power companies, and technical consulting services earned higher wages.

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