Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
CHOOSING A CAREER / DEC. 18, 2014
version 3, draft 3

How to Become a Physical Security Architect or Engineer in the US

Organizations face a range of internal and external physical security threats, from break-ins to employee fraud. To minimalize their vulnerability to these threats, organizations must embrace the work of physical security architects or engineers. These are the professionals who provide organizations with the tools they can use to secure their assets.

What Do Physical Security Architects Do?

Their primary duties include:

  • Designing electronic security systems such as closed-circuit televisions (CCTV) and alarms
  • Examining existing security systems (vulnerability testing) and recommending improvements
  • Conducting audits to identify the physical security threats an organization faces and provide suitable solutions
  • Troubleshooting complex system malfunctions
  • Responding to security emergencies, especially where security systems are hacked.

Work Environment

Physical security architects have regular 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, work schedules. During emergencies, however, they may be required to address them regardless of time of day.

These professionals spend most of their time in engineering labs where they design electronic security systems. The job may involve some travelling as the architects may need to supervise system installations at client sites.

Salary

How much do architects make in a year? Find out below:

Occupation

Annual Wage

Physical security architect

$102,000

Source: Indeed

Entry Requirements

The best way to become a physical security architect is to pursue a bachelor’s degree in electronics engineering technology. The degree will equip you with the knowledge and skills needed to begin designing electronic security devices right after graduating. Some of the universities offering this program include:

If you already have a degree in computer science or security technology, you can earn a graduate certification in electronics engineering technology to land this job.

Important Qualities

Beyond the knowledge, you must possess the following skills to be a competent architect:

  • Excellent problem-solving skills
  • Strong drawing skills
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Strong computer skills
  • Thoroughness and attention to detail
  • Strong practical and technical skills
  • Good teamwork skills
  • Good communication and interpersonal skills
  • The ability to quickly learn new skills
  • An organized approach to work.

Career Development

What next after being hired as a physical security architect? Well, you can gradually move into project management positions as you gain more work experience. To fast-track your movement, you can:

  • Pursue a master’s degree in security engineering. Some architects also hold graduate degrees in security management, IT project management and business administration.
  • Obtain a professional certification, such as the Physical Security Professional, which is offered by ASIS International

You can also become a member of ASIS International to join its networking groups, as well as receive invitations to industry seminars.

Job Opportunities

Although some large corporations with internal security departments hire resident security architects, many employment opportunities are found in:

  • Security agencies
  • Electronic manufacturing companies
  • IT firms
  • Security consulting firms

Architects who obtain a master’s degree can progress to become senior architects, project managers or security managers. With a doctorate in security engineering, you can be hired as a higher education lecturer in colleges and universities.

Although the BLS doesn’t provide employment projections for security engineers, it reports an average job growth of 9 percent for all types of engineers. This means aspiring security engineers can expect to face competition for job openings.

If you are to get a job and excel in this profession, you must have the ability to develop innovative security solutions. However, if you are a skilled engineer and are passionate about security then this could be the career for you.

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