For military veterans who have separated from the service, a job as a security contractor can be an extremely lucrative way to manage the transition and move into a new career. Private security contractors provide services to firms doing business in countries that are allies of the United States. Sometimes also called private military contractors, these jobs are usually in global "hot spots," which may be experiencing sectarian violence or civil war.
Most companies separate security contractors into two tiers. Tier 1 contractors are usually combat veterans with backgrounds in special ops, like Navy SEALs or Army Rangers. Tier 2 security contractors are usually infantry members with combat arms experience but no Special Forces experience. Some companies are opening Tier 2 positions to law enforcement officers, as well.
Some tasks of security contractors may include:
Guarding convoys carrying equipment and supplies
Providing personal security to employees of the firm
Patrolling and defending the physical buildings of the company or agency
Developing security plans for the safe movement of people and materials
Purchasing and maintaining weapons and equipment necessary for protection
Most private security contractor jobs require overseas travel and long periods away from home. The work environment can be dangerous and the hours grueling. A typical schedule is six 12-hour shifts per week with one day off.
Security Contractor Job Education Requirements
Security contractors with special forces backgrounds usually have a bachelor's degree, while enlisted service members and non-officers are required to have only a high school diploma or GED. The most important educational requirement for security contractors is a background in military tactics and combat. This usually requires that security contractors have completed boot camp and/or officer candidate school, as well as specialized military education and training related to infantry and combat skills.
Security Contractor Job Market
With the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq drawing to a close, the opportunities for security contractors will naturally decrease over time. However, many global companies have operations in unstable areas and there are many elite private security firms offering services to foreign governments, individuals, and businesses. Experienced special operators rarely have trouble obtaining security contractor jobs.
Security Contractor Job Salary Information
Due to the dangerous nature of the job and the extreme working conditions, security contractors command six-figure salaries, which are tax free if earned overseas. Some security contractors earn $750 per day, while others are paid an annual salary in the $125,000 to $200,000 range.