Security Officer/Guard Āpiha Whakamarumaru/Tūtei Whakamarumaru

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

video_library Watch Video

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


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.

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

Physical Requirements

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

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.

Personal Qualities

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.


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.


Security officers/guards:

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

Security Officer/Guards can earn around $23-$30 per hour.

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.

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.

Years Of Training

<1 year of training required.

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.

Security Officer/Guard