Directors of Security


Education and Training Requirements

High School

In high school, take classes in psychology, social studies, foreign languages, mathematics, English, writing, speech, and computer science (especially computer security).

Postsecondary Training

Most employers require or prefer applicants to have at least a bachelor’s degree. Good majors include criminal justice, law enforcement, security, business administration, or a related field. Candidates with master's degrees may have an advantage over those with only a bachelor's degree. At some employers, experience can substitute for educational requirements.

Other Education and Training

Individuals aspiring to careers as directors of security, as well as current directors, should take continuing education courses, seminars, or workshops in fraud detection and prevention, security, computer science, regulatory compliance, and other relevant fields. These educational opportunities are provided by security associations and colleges and universities. 

Some states also require all members of the security department, including the director, to complete a specified training program as well as an annual in-service course to stay abreast of changes in the security field.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Voluntary certification is available from ASIS International, which offers the certified protection professional (CPP) credential to senior security professionals with seven to nine years of relevant work experience and who pass an examination. The CPP credential focuses on key security issues, including computer security and company/organizational policies and procedures. 

Individuals in the hospitality and lodging industry might consider earning the certified lodging security director credential. Offered by the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute, this credential demonstrates that the recipient has advanced knowledge, leadership, and managerial abilities in hospitality industry security. Visit to learn more.

Other Requirements

Employers generally conduct extensive background and credit checks for prospective directors of security. Most require candidates to pass a drug test and have no criminal record. In some cases, candidates may be required to possess a firearms permit. 

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Most employers require directors of security to have at least seven to 10 years of experience. A military or law enforcement background can often provide the right experience or at least help one get a foot in the door.

Security directors must have a comprehensive understanding of physical and digital security issues, investigative methodologies, and management of investigative services. Experience pertaining to security risk assessment and audits is helpful. The ability to work under pressure is essential. Security directors also need administrative and communication skills, such as budgeting, preparing and delivering presentations, and interacting with personnel at all levels of employment.

Directors of security should be organized, detail oriented, and capable of juggling many different tasks and priorities. They should have strong analytical and problem-solving skills. High ethical standards are a must.