There are several avenues people can pursue to become a hospital security officer. One option is to start working at a hospital that provides its own training and does not require prior experience. It is also possible to attend a security officer program that may end with a certification. Another option is to transition from law enforcement, or to work part time as a hospital security officer while employed by a law enforcement agency. The best choice can depend on the applicant and the qualifications the hospital requires from employees.
In some cases, it may be possible to become a hospital security officer with a high school diploma and a quick training course given by the hospital. The course covers hospital policies, legal issues, and safety. Graduates can start working immediately, usually under supervision. Once they have enough experience, they work on their own. They usually cannot carry weapons without completing a weapons safety course.
Other hospitals prefer candidates with more qualifications, either because of legal requirements or internal standards. A security officer training course can familiarize people with basic topics and provide simulated experience as well as classroom training. Such programs may also prepare people to use weapons safely and appropriately. They can provide information on how to restrain and control people, which can be useful in some hospital environments.
The third route to become a hospital security officer is to apply with law enforcement experience. Many facilities accept ex-law enforcement officers or have part time positions available for people who want to continue working in law enforcement careers. The advanced training provided to law enforcement officers may satisfy any legal requirements. It can also increase the chances of a promotion into a senior position, where a hospital security officer may supervise others, set schedules, and have access to the best shifts.
A hospital security officer typically providers a mix of services. These include giving directions to patients, clearing rooms, and assisting hospital personnel in unsafe situations. Sometimes agitated patients pose a risk to themselves or others, or crowds who come in with patients are dangerous. This can include groups of people who are intoxicated or worried, as might be the case in a wake of a major accident, where friends and family crowd a hospital seeking information. Someone who wants to become a hospital security officer needs to be prepared to work with people from a variety of backgrounds under circumstances that may be stressful.