It’s an important question to ask. After all, it is a job that tends to be high stress. It requires you to put yourself in harm’s way to ensure that others are protected.
It requires a lot of training and specialized skills. It can be a thankless job when things go well and a firestorm when there is a breach in the protection. And if nothing dangerous is afoot, it can get somewhat boring. It’s physically taxing and mentally grueling. So why do it?
Once you get past your misconceptions about the industry and learn what you are really getting into, you’ll find that it is a great career full of incentives.
People who are wired to protect others are a special breed. They are obviously quite brave. But there is so much more to their character. They are attentive, alert, smart, and adventurous. They abhor the idea of the good guy getting hurt and the bad guy getting away. Therefore, they are willing to take significant risks to ensure justice is served.
Executive protection specialists do get the opportunity to meet exciting, interesting, and famous people. They are often in close proximity to celebrities from around the world.
IT’S A WAY TO TRAVEL
If your lifestyle permits it, you may consider securing a passport because your client may need to travel outside of the United States and will need his or her protection detail to come along. VIPs get to visit some of the most exotic places the world has to offer. Keep in mind, though, while it may be a vacation for them, it will be work for you. So, you will get to see it, but you might not have time off to go explore it. And it will take some time before you are a trusted enough member of the VIPs team to be invited. You will have to pay your dues by working long and hard with a successful track record before perks like these open-up to you.
More and more people are employing protection specialists. It’s not just a luxury for the super-rich, celebrities, or military figures. Bankers, CEOs, high-profile speakers, religious leaders, and many others have discovered the need for personal protection partially because they fear for their safety and partially because they just need to be able to move from place to place without being stopped by people who want to talk to them.
For this reason, executive protection agents are finding that their employment opportunities are expanding. The average income for a bodyguard today is $55,000, while some earn multiple six-figure incomes.
Polls of executive protection specialists return interesting results in the United States. Most display a wide range of earning potential and the sliding scales vary to include:
- Payscale puts Executive Protection Specialist pay between $40,000 – $150,000 per year.
- ZipRecruiter lists the earning potential at $8.40 – $68.25/hour ($17,500 – $142,000/year).
- com states the range is more likely $51,000 – $79,000 per year.
- JobMonkey puts the average bodyguard salary at $55,000 per year, but notes that many people make upwards of $180,000 per year.
As you can see the earnings are all over the map. There is no question that a seasoned, experienced close protection specialist can easily demand a multiple six-figure salary. Much of the variation depends on the definition of the team “executive protection specialist.” If the survey includes security guards in the determination, the numbers will be skewed lower.
Some people have a small protection detail for their day-to-day activities, but hire on extra personnel for major events or high-risk situations. When that kind of need arises, you may have the opportunity to take a temporary or part-time assignment for significant compensation. When the job is over, you can return to your normal routine and keep the flexibility to accept jobs as you desire.
THE TRAINING IS USEFUL IN MANY OTHER AREAS
Of course, as an executive protection specialist, you will learn the ins and outs of caring for your client moving him or her from place to place safely or protecting their surroundings to ensure their safety. But you will learn many other useful skills like great communication, first aid, emergency management, and fire safety.
IT MAKES YOU A SHARP OBSERVER
One of the primary responsibilities of an executive protection specialist is to stay alert and aware. Protection agents must prepare for and identify threats when they are at the earliest stages. The best protection specialists can scan the crowd and detect who might be a potential threat. That level of threat assessment heightens your observation skills
THE INDUSTRY IS GROWING
More and more people are hiring protection specialists. That means that the industry is expanding. With the advent of crimes taking place in areas where crimes never happened before like churches and department stores, protection specialists are becoming more and more valuable. Celebrities and political leaders aren’t the only ones looking for security. Clients include diplomats, business leaders, and other high net-worth individuals.
Why Consider A Career in Executive Protection?
By Harlan Austin
Harlan Austin is a long-time executive protection specialist, having worked with some of the most recognizable names in the entertainment world. He is also the founder of BodyguardCareers.com a site developed to educate, as well as connect protection specialist with job opportunities.