5 Steps to Becoming a Security Professional

Training, finding a mentor and networking can further your campus safety career.

Security is a complex profession that is undergoing rapid change in all of its many permutations.  Becoming a campus security professional today is considerably more difficult than it has been in years past. Making the transition from security practitioner to security professional requires five things:

  1. Seek training:  Training is the key to growth. If you’re reading this and other blogs, you’re off to a good start. Training is available in many forms, including professional associations, magazines, webinars and formal classroom training.  Take advantage of every opportunity you can find. If you can’t find a program, create one and present to your co-workers. The Campus Safety Conference may be a good place to start.
  2. Find a mentor: Mentors are of enormous value in helping you master your discipline with fewer bumps and mishaps than trying to go it alone. Finding a good mentor will demonstrate your dedication and desire to grow. Becoming a mentor can help you learn while repaying that debt.
  3. Study security areas outside your discipline: Security is composed of numerous interlocking disciplines. Mastering one discipline will help you stay employed. Gaining a thorough understanding of related disciplines will help you excel. If you are a security or police supervisor, expand your knowledge into physical and environmental security. Each step will separate you from the herd.
  4. Develop a professional network: True professionals learn through the power of the Rolodex. Develop a network of security professionals. Make your network diverse in both discipline and industry. People who work in hospital, university or school security will see the world very differently from those who work in manufacturing. Diverse associations will help you think outside the box of your current discipline.
  5. Build a Library: Start small and continue to add to your collection of books. Developing a library is a conservative investment for those who want to grow professionally. 

If you are looking for a place to start building the five areas of the security professional, consider beginning with your professional associations. Hospital folks have IAHSS, colleges and universities have Security on Campus, Inc., K-12 practitioners have NASRO, and there are many others. One excellent place to begin would be ASIS International. They have local meetings, a diverse security membership, a variety of training opportunities, a good library and an excellent book store.

There are many paths that lead to excellence. It just requires you to take that first step. 

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About the Author


Jim Grayson is a senior security consultant. His career spans more than 35 years in law enforcement and security consulting. He worked for UCLA on a workplace violence study involving hospitals, schools and small retail environments and consulted with NIOSH on a retail violence prevention study.Grayson’s diverse project experience includes schools, universities, hospitals, municipal buildings, high-rise structures and downtown revitalization projects. He holds a degree in criminal justice and a CPP security management credential from ASIS. He is a nationally recognized speaker and trainer on a wide range of security topics.He can be reached at jimgrayson@mindspring.com. Note: The views expressed by guest bloggers and contributors are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, Campus Safety magazine.

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