Home Security Consultant

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Home Security Consultant

Education and Training: High school plus training

Salary: Varies—see profile

Employment Outlook: Fair

Definition and Nature of the Work

Home security consultants provide hardware and customer support services to help homeowners prevent crime and fires in their homes and on their property. The home security consultant assesses a customer's risk of property and personal loss due to fire or crime and recommends a security system to reduce that risk in accordance with the customer's budget. The hardware used in home security most often includes electronic burglar and fire alarm systems and exterior lighting. More complex systems may include closed-circuit television. Customer support services include monitoring the alarm systems, notifying local police or firefighters when the alarm systems indicate problems, and maintaining the alarm systems.

Most home security consultants work for companies that maintain home security systems over an extended area. In general, there are four basic types of positions in the home security industry: salespeople, technicians, support personnel, and managers and administrators.

Salespeople meet with potential customers, go over the customers' needs, and recommend home security systems that are within the customers' budgets. Technicians install and maintain the home security systems in the buildings to be monitored. These complex systems usually include electronic sensors on windows and doors, motion detectors, and one or more keypad control centers for activating and deactivating the system. The systems are usually patched directly into a phone line and linked to the company monitoring the home security system.

Support personnel work in a central office, monitoring the home security system. When an alarm goes off in one of the homes on the system, the support personnel alert the homeowner, as well as the appropriate law enforcement or firefighting department. Managers and administrators oversee the entire operation and are responsible for billing, payroll, insurance, and other basic office functions.

Education and Training Requirements

In general, people working for a home security firm need a high school diploma, along with specialized training in their area of expertise. Technicians need to understand fundamental electronics and must be able to read electronics schematics. They must also be skilled electricians and should know the basics of telephone wiring. Salespeople should understand cost/risk analysis and must know the basic capabilities of the various electronic alarm systems they offer. Managers and administrators should know the principles of accounting and basic business administration.

Getting the Job

Individuals interested in working in this industry should apply to local home security businesses. They can contact local firms to learn what entry-level jobs are available and what sort of experience is necessary to get them. If candidates have basic clerical skills and proven work habits, they could apply for an entry-level support position. If prospective workers have training in electronics, they may be qualified for an entry-level job as a technician-trainee.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Advances in electronics and telecommunications have made sophisticated home security systems readily available and more affordable, so the industry is expected to grow. However, due to greater reliability, demand for repair work is expected to decrease. Employees who do well as technicians or support personnel for a home security business may move up in the organization to more responsible and lucrative positions as managers or salespeople. Jobs will become available as people retire or move to other fields of work.

Employment depends to some extent on the state of the economy. The employment outlook is expected to grow more slowly than average through 2014 for home security consultants.

Working Conditions

Support personnel and administrators in the home security field work in modern, comfortable offices. Technicians and salespeople spend most of their time out of the office, visiting customers' houses. Technicians spend a lot of time going up and down ladders, in basements, and generally moving all over a building to set up sensors at every possible point of entry. They might spend time outdoors, possibly in bad weather, installing or maintaining a system. Because around-the-clock coverage is essential to a home security business, both technicians and support personnel may have to work "graveyard shifts" through the night—and on holidays—to monitor or repair systems under their watch.

Where to Go for More Information

International Association of Home Safety and Security Professionals
PO Box 2044
Erie, PA 16512-2044
(814) 454-6029

International Association of Professional Security Consultants
525 SW 5th St., Ste. A
Des Moines, IA 50309-4501
(515) 282-8192

National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association
2300 Valley View Ln., Ste. 230
Irving, TX 75062
(888) 447-1689

Earnings and Benefits

The earnings of home security consultants vary depending on the location of employment. Technicians can earn between $8 and $22 per hour. Managers and administrators earn much more. Employers generally provide benefits that include paid holidays and vacations, health insurance, and pension plans.