Secure a Profession as a Security Guard

18 04 2010

By Jenna Reisch

Are you a protective, hard-working, reliable person? Do you like to keep things in order? Keep reading and discover insider information about a career as a security agent.

ISA Security Agent checking IDs at Joe’s bar

Travis Siebert, who works for a security company called Investigative Services Agency (ISA), has been a security agent for over two years.  He works at several different locations around Chicago such as Joe’s (a bar on Weed Street), Hardrock Café, and Hardrock Hotel.  Siebert likes his job because of the variety, and takes pride in protecting and helping, which are traits involved with security work.

“We [ISA] are a hospitality based company, meaning we try to go the extra mile to ensure a fun and safe time for the customers, staff, and artists,” says Siebert. “I got started with ISA a little over two years ago. I met the vice-president at a church event and struck up a conversation about what he does and the rest is history.”

ISA, according to the company’s website,, was started in 1998 by James Miller, a licensed detective.  Not only does the company offer security services, like executive protection, special event security, and bodyguards, but also corporate consulting and private investigations, which are divided accordingly:

Corporate consulting:

  • crisis management,
  • security staff training,
  • workplace violence

Private Investigations:

  • missing persons,
  • domestic violence,
  • surveillance,
  • criminal investigations

ISA has worked on close to 100 cases from professional services firms, small business owners, major communications and financial firms, abductions, federal agencies, and insurers.

As a security agent, Siebert handles various situations.  He works with different performing artists and does crowd control.  “Fights fall into those categories,” says Siebert.  In order to stop fights, the parties are separated and then, once things are settled down, security agents begin to ask questions in order to evaluate the next steps that they will need to follow.  In some cases, the police are involved, medics are called, charges are brought up, and paperwork and waivers are signed.

“I would definitely consider my job unconventional,” says Siebert who usually starts work between 6 and 9pm and ends between 1 and 3am. “It is usually a part-time job, so I feel that puts it into a different category as well,” says Siebert, who works between 15 to 25 hours a week.

While being a bouncer is enjoyable, there are some things that require adjusting to: “Irregular sleep patterns and long nights are hard to get used to, but I really enjoy my job for the most part,” says Siebert.

The best tools to have with you, in the security trade (according to Siebert) are a flashlight and helpful co-workers. “A flashlight is the best thing to help communicate problems and get the attention of the customers and your fellow co-workers,” he says. “Radios, hand cuffs, batons, and firearms are other things we are able to carry, but all of that depends on the venue and job at hand.”

While there is not a specific degree that is required in the security industry, most companies ask that their employees take the Permanent Employment Record Card (PERC) class.  “It is a basic 40 hour security class in which all registered security agents have to have,” says Siebert.  “There are several classes that are recommended after becoming a security agent that will help in preparing for all the duties that go along with the job: classes like Control and Escort, Baton Training, Cuffing, etc.”  These classes may be available through ISA. explains that the average bouncer makes around $14,000 annually, but compensation varies. “The type of job, the hours, the experience one has, and the venue all dictate the amount an individual gets paid per job or per hour,” says Siebert.  As a security agent for ISA, Siebert says salaries range from $30,000 to over $100,000, depending on who you are working for, what you are doing and where you are working.

For those interested in becoming a Security Agent, Siebert recommends that you research local agencies for applicant requirements and then set up an interview.  “The process is not easy and [it] takes a little time for background checks,” says Siebert, “but if you are interested, set up a time to go in and ask questions with a local agency that can fill you in on the requirements and necessary steps to take to start your new career.”