Education and Training Requirements
Security consultants must have a college degree. Recommended high school classes include physical education, mathematics, government, psychology, and computer science. You should also take English courses to develop your reading and writing skills. You should be able to read manuals, memos, textbooks, and other instructional materials and write reports with correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation. You should also be able to speak to small groups with poise and confidence.
Most companies prefer to hire security consultants who have at least a college degree. An undergraduate or associate's degree in criminal justice, business administration, or related field is best. Course work should be broad and include business management, communications, computer courses, sociology, and statistics. As the security consulting field becomes more competitive, many consultants choose to get a master's in business administration (MBA), computer security, or other graduate degree.
Because many consulting firms have their own techniques and procedures, most require entry-level personnel to complete an on-the-job training program, during the course of which they learn company policies.
Other Education or Training
ASIS International offers continuing education classes, workshops, and webinars on enhanced violence assessment and management, asset protection, security procedures for high-rise buildings, safe school procedures, and other topics. Contact the organization for more information.
Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements
Certification or Licensing
Many security consultants earn the certified protection professional designation, which is awarded by ASIS International. To be eligible for certification, a consultant must pass a written test and have seven years' work or a combination of a bachelor's degree and work experience in the security profession. ASIS International also offers the professional certified investigator and physical security professional certification designations.
Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
For security consultant work, it is helpful if a person develops an expertise in a specific area. For example, if you want to work devising plans securing data processing equipment, it is helpful to have previous experience working with computers. Security consultants need several years' experience in police or investigative work.
Successful security consultants have strong analytical skills, which are required to inspect facilities, equipment, and environments to determine security risks and areas for improvement. They are organized, knowledgeable about security techniques and technologies. Strong communication skills are also needed in order to listen to clients' needs and make recommendations for security plans that are appropriate for clients. Security consultants also pay close attention to details, making sure security specifications are met at facilities.