If you follow celebrities, politicians, and other famous people, than you have probably noticed that many of them are flanked by bodyguards. The simple fact is that there are people out there who want to hurt famous people for one reason or another. For this reason, many high profile people choose to hire security teams to protect their lives and property.
Often referred to by their industry title, “close protection officers,” many bodyguards had careers in law enforcement or the military before turning to private security work. Many of them are highly skilled with weapons and hand-to-hand combat. Still, their biggest asset is arguably their brains. Bodyguards have to think quick on their feet and they must assess threats and resolve issues before they become real problems.
According to Payscale, the salary range for a bodyguard can be tremendous, ranging from about $38,000 to over $120,000. The median pay for a bodyguard is about $65,000, so all-in-all most bodyguards make a pretty good living. Of course, in exchange for that salary you will be expected to put your life on the line and to protect your clients at all costs. Some body guards can reportedly make a half million dollars or more per year, but such a high pay is rare.
A bodyguard’s salary is going to vary according to the risk involved. The higher risk the operation, the higher your pay will be. If you are guarding a B-list movie star or singer, the pay will probably be pretty low compared to a guy protecting a rich Middle Eastern business man. Guarding A-list celebrities can also rack up a lot of money. With movie and music stars, generally speaking the bigger the name, the bigger the pay. The simple fact is that as one becomes more and more famous, they become more likely targets.
If you want to become a highly paid body guard, building up a reputation is essential. Perform well for your clients and they may tell their friends about you and your services. Get good “street cred” and one of the best private security firms might add you to their roster. Many bodyguards start out at the bottom, earning only $35,000 or less, but are able to work their way up to the top. Some successful bodyguards with good business skills have even gone on to even starting their own company.
Wonder how one can become a bodyguard? Most guards have military, police, or security trained professionals. The most coveted private-sector bodyguards are generally those guards who have served in the Secret Service or a similar protection unit. Secret service members protect the President of the United States and other important government officials and receive extensive amounts of training. It should come as no surprise then, that their services are highly sought after. After all, if you can protect the President, you can protect just about anyone.
So what makes a good bodyguard? Obviously being tough and having an ability to remain calm under pressure is essential, but being a guard also requires a lot of “soft skills.” Generally speaking, you’re going to need to have a good feel for people. You will most likely spend a lot of time working with crowds and fans, so you’ll have to be polite and intimidating all at once. You’ll also have to have a calm demeanor because the last thing a movie star needs is to get put in the headlines because their bodyguard attacked someone.
Bodyguards also have to maintain high levels of confidentiality. As a guard, you will get to see the personal side of many client’s lives, and they often want to keep that side of them completely secret. You may have access to company secrets or other private information that if released could damage your client and their reputation. Being trustworthy and having an ability not to gossip or judge people can be a very valuable trait for bodyguards.
Bodyguards often work long or odd hours, and this is part of the reason why they are so well-paid. You might be asked to guard a client for 24 hours straight as they go from event to event. You might be asked to travel overseas or across the country. Working weekends and nights is also very common. Of course, all of these experiences can be very rewarding. You might get to see new countries and cultures, and have access to high profile events and gigs.
Despite what some might think, not all bodyguards are male. In fact, women bodyguards are becoming very popular because they can be more discrete than their male counterparts. A female guard must be trained with weapons, hand-to-hand combat, and other essential security skills. Preventing a problem from arising and identifying issues before they pose a threat, however, is often more important than providing physical protection.
Besides protecting people, bodyguards must also protect property. While being a home security guard may sound less glamorous than walking the red carpet, the simple fact is that many celebrities are in just as much danger at home as they are out in the public. It’s not all too uncommon for a stalker to pay their favorite star a visit, and on numerous cases people have broken into the homes of stars to steal mementos. Close protection officers have to use security camera systems and foot patrols, among other methods, to make sure their client’s property is safe.
If you are considering a career in the field as a close protection officer, you’ll have to be quick on your feet and calm under pressure. You will need to be willing to put your life on the line for clients. Being able to distinguish when a person is an actual threat or merely a nuisance will also be essential. While the challenges are great, the rewards can be even better. Besides earning a good salary, you will also receive many perks. You will get to travel to exotic locations and attend high profile events. You will also get to literally rub elbows with many of the world’s most famous people. Further, some close protection officers have gone on to land careers acting, or have become successful entrepreneurs, so there are always options for advancing your career.
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