Fur­ther education

How much money does one earn as an employee in the secu­ri­ty ser­vice with a cer­ti­fi­ca­te of competence?

How much money does one earn as an employee in the security service with a certificate of competence?

Tal­king around it is use­l­ess. One thing is clear: The tra­di­tio­nal secu­ri­ty indus­try is a low-wage sec­tor!
Nevert­hel­ess: the secu­ri­ty indus­try offers varie­ty, respon­si­ble, exci­ting and also quiet jobs. And if you’­re smart, you can make ends meet. But — what do you earn as a secu­ri­ty guard with a cer­ti­fi­ca­te of competence?

What mat­ters when it comes to ear­nings in the secu­ri­ty industry…

If you deci­de to work in the pri­va­te secu­ri­ty sec­tor or are loo­king for a new employ­er, the finan­cial aspects cer­tain­ly play a major role. The­re are seve­ral fac­tors that con­tri­bu­te to a good hour­ly wage. The most important aspects for a more attrac­ti­ve sala­ry are lis­ted below.

Level of edu­ca­ti­on and training

Obvious­ly, the bet­ter trai­ned you are, the hig­her your ear­ning poten­ti­al. As an unskil­led secu­ri­ty guard only with trai­ning accor­ding to § 34a GewO, you will very often not be paid much more than the mini­mum wage. With the expert know­ledge exami­na­ti­on, you can achie­ve a good bit more basic hour­ly wage with mana­geable effort.. You can go even fur­ther with fur­ther trai­ning to beco­me a cer­ti­fied pro­tec­tion and secu­ri­ty worker or with trai­ning to beco­me a spe­cia­list for pro­tec­tion and secu­ri­ty. Inci­den­tal­ly, the mini­mum wage nati­on­wi­de has been 12.43 euros per hour sin­ce 1 Janu­ary 2023. The increase to 13 euros per hour from 1 April 2023 has alre­a­dy been decided.

Addi­tio­nal qualifications

Addi­tio­nal qua­li­fi­ca­ti­ons, for exam­p­le in first aid or fire pro­tec­tion (e.g. as a fire pro­tec­tion assistant), are very hel­pful and increase the mar­ket value of secu­ri­ty staff. The­se do not always have a direct effect on the hour­ly wage, but they are always a plus point in job appli­ca­ti­ons. Addi­tio­nal qua­li­fi­ca­ti­ons include the following:

Inter­cul­tu­ral skills and know­ledge of for­eign lan­guages, espe­ci­al­ly at least basic Eng­lish, should also not be underestimated.


The secu­ri­ty indus­try has many facets and the­r­e­fo­re the acti­vi­ties that secu­ri­ty workers per­form are also very diver­se. Accor­din­gly, the­re are some­ti­mes serious wage dif­fe­ren­ces. Secu­ri­ty acti­vi­ties such as sepa­ra­te guards and simp­le guar­ding acti­vi­ties are often rather poor­ly paid. Jobs that requi­re spe­cial skills often pay well. For exam­p­le in the Avia­ti­on secu­ri­ty, in the ran­ge Cash and valu­ables trans­port, during the acti­vi­ty in nuclear faci­li­ties, in which Under­ground and sub­ur­ban rail­way guar­ding or as an NSL spe­cia­list in Emer­gen­cy call and ser­vice con­trol cen­tres the ear­nings are often signi­fi­cant­ly hig­her than the indus­try avera­ge. The exact amount of the wage for the job can be found in the Coll­ec­ti­ve agree­ments take from them. If they have been declared gene­ral­ly bin­ding, which is usual­ly the case, they app­ly to all employees. (It is best to add the fede­ral sta­te to the Goog­le search to nar­row down the results).

Working hours

Anyo­ne who is alre­a­dy acti­ve in the indus­try and works in shifts knows it: Often, bio­rhyth­ms and pri­va­te life suf­fer from the chan­ging working hours. Howe­ver, working night shifts, Sun­days and public holi­days often offers decisi­ve finan­cial advan­ta­ges. Depen­ding on the fede­ral state/collective agree­ment, the fol­lo­wing bene­fits can be ear­ned Night, Sun­day and public holi­day surchar­ges that are well worth see­ing. What’s more, the­se tax-free! On public holi­days in many places 100% Surchar­ge pos­si­blei.e. in addi­ti­on to the actu­al dai­ly wage, you recei­ve the same amount again — but tax-free! View­ed over the month, depen­ding of cour­se on the amount of night, Sun­day and public holi­day hours, the fol­lo­wing can be achie­ved Seve­ral hundred euros on top earn. Espe­ci­al­ly around the turn of the year or at Eas­ter, this can be a lucra­ti­ve affair.


Over­ti­me is, of cour­se, a par­ti­al aspect of working hours. Nevert­hel­ess, I would like to devo­te a sepa­ra­te point to this aspect here. Why? Becau­se expe­ri­ence shows that a lot of over­ti­me is work­ed in the secu­ri­ty sec­tor, often much more than is legal­ly per­mis­si­ble and with too few breaks bet­ween assign­ments. Think careful­ly about whe­ther you want to go along with this and should actual­ly work 200, 220, 240 or even more hours per month. My tip at this point would be to invest in fur­ther edu­ca­ti­on and not to trade so much time for money: Memen­to Mori — your life­time is also limi­t­ed. Set prio­ri­ties and make a good decis­i­on for you, also for your future.


As in other indus­tries, the­re is a West-East divi­de in the pri­va­te secu­ri­ty sec­tor. In the past, the­se wage dif­fe­ren­ces were real­ly gla­ring. Secu­ri­ty workers in Ber­lin ear­ned in some are­as not even half of tho­se who work­ed in Bava­ria.  As a rule, the best-paid fede­ral sta­tes include Bava­ria, Baden-Würt­tem­berg and North Rhi­ne-West­pha­lia. Among the lowest paid are still the new fede­ral sta­tes, for exam­p­le Bran­den­burg or Meck­len­burg-Wes­tern Pome­ra­nia. Just a few years ago, one could bare­ly keep one’s head abo­ve water with a job as a secu­ri­ty guard in the East Ger­man sta­tes. Howe­ver, the mini­mum wage and the gra­du­al con­ver­gence of coll­ec­ti­ve agree­ments are incre­asing­ly put­ting the dif­fe­ren­ces into per­spec­ti­ve. In addi­ti­on, one should not for­get that whe­re peo­p­le earn more, they usual­ly earn less. Cost of living (espe­ci­al­ly rents) are hig­her. So think careful­ly — if you are toy­ing with the idea — whe­ther a move is real­ly worth it for you.


Many peo­p­le think of secu­ri­ty ser­vice jobs in the clas­sic way, as the secu­ri­ty com­pa­ny that as a ser­vice pro­vi­der exter­nal cus­to­mers. Whe­re­as in the past, vete­ran employees in fac­to­ries came to the plant secu­ri­ty ser­vice towards the end of their working lives to spend the last years of their care­ers doing less stre­nuous work, the situa­ti­on has chan­ged con­sider­a­b­ly nowa­days. Pro­fes­sio­nal, exter­nal secu­ri­ty ser­vice pro­vi­ders look after a lar­ge num­ber of com­pa­nies from busi­ness and indus­try or the public sec­tor as cli­ents. But they still exist, despi­te the deca­des-long trend towards out­sour­cing. The Inter­nal plant secu­ri­ty. Espe­ci­al­ly in indus­try, pro­per­ty and plant pro­tec­tion acti­vi­ties are when you are direct­ly employ­ed by the manu­fac­tu­ring com­pa­ny, very well paid. The reason for this is that you are paid accor­ding to the indus­try pay sca­le to which the bulk of the work­force belongs. Take a look at the Rate tables for the metal and elec­tri­cal indus­try! The­se month­ly sala­ries are in a dif­fe­rent league.


Allo­wan­ces regu­la­ted by coll­ec­ti­ve agree­ment are usual­ly paid for guard/shift lea­ders, for dog hand­lers or in cer­tain faci­li­ties such as mili­ta­ry pro­per­ties. Like­wi­se, the­re are often allo­wan­ces for on-call duties, e.g. for (addi­tio­nal) work in the plant fire bri­ga­de. The­se ran­ge from a few cents per hour up to over 10% more pay. In Bava­ria, the­re is also slight­ly more money if you work in the grea­ter Munich area.
Secu­ri­ty com­pa­nies or their cli­ents also some­ti­mes pay Vol­un­t­a­ry (revo­ca­ble) allo­wan­ces. Some­ti­mes the­re are also one-off bonu­ses for par­ti­cu­lar­ly suc­cessful assign­ments or for out­stan­ding work per­for­mance. Unfort­u­na­te­ly, the­se kinds of bonu­ses tend to be the excep­ti­on. Incre­asing­ly com­mon, howe­ver, is a Switch pre­mi­um or, if you like, a kind of “wel­co­me money”. Howe­ver, this alo­ne should not neces­s­a­ri­ly be the sole reason for chan­ging employers.

Con­cre­te numbers

You would like to know con­cre­te figures?
If you have read the artic­le up to this point, you will rea­li­se that this is dif­fi­cult, as it can depend on a num­ber of fac­tors such as the fede­ral sta­te, the job, the working hours and their (addi­tio­nal) qua­li­fi­ca­ti­ons. Nevert­hel­ess, a con­cre­te example:

This results in approx. 2520 euros of taxa­ble inco­me (gross) and just under 420 euros of tax-free supplements.With inco­me tax class 1 and no child­ren, a sin­gle per­son thus recei­ves approx. 2170 Euro net trans­fer­red. Howe­ver, this cal­cu­la­ti­on is for illus­tra­ti­ve pur­po­ses only. Your actu­al sala­ry paid out may depend on num­e­rous factors!

Hint: This artic­le was last updated in Febru­ary 2023. As the­re are regu­lar adjus­t­ments to both the mini­mum wage and coll­ec­ti­ve agree­ment regu­la­ti­ons, the frame­work con­di­ti­ons may have chan­ged in the mean­ti­me! (All infor­ma­ti­on wit­hout guarantee.)

Who does not need to pass an examination?

Who does not need to pass an examination?

Only secu­ri­ty staff requi­re a com­pe­tence exami­na­ti­on, which is spe­cial guar­ding acti­vi­ties accor­ding to § 34a GewO or wish to set up their own secu­ri­ty com­pa­ny. The acti­vi­ties that may only be car­ri­ed out with the 34a licence include, in par­ti­cu­lar, guar­ding in public are­as, at admis­si­on are­as or in various secu­ri­ty acti­vi­ties in a mana­ge­ri­al posi­ti­on: More here.
Howe­ver, even if you want to car­ry out an acti­vi­ty for which the suc­cessful pas­sing of a cer­ti­fi­ca­te of com­pe­tence exami­na­ti­on is actual­ly man­da­to­ry, the­re are cer­tain excep­ti­ons. Not all per­sons need the cer­ti­fi­ca­te of com­pe­tence, even if they car­ry out regu­la­ted guar­ding acti­vi­ties or are self-employ­ed as a secu­ri­ty con­trac­tor with their own secu­ri­ty company.

Who is exempt from the 34a examination…

Basi­cal­ly appli­es: Anyo­ne who has com­ple­ted a hig­her-level trai­ning or fur­ther trai­ning with a reco­g­nis­ed (IHK) qua­li­fi­ca­ti­on in the secu­ri­ty indus­try does not need an addi­tio­nal cer­ti­fi­ca­te of competence!

But be careful! The­re are a few more pit­falls. Here are the details on the exemp­ti­on from the expert know­ledge examination:

A per­son is exempt from the expert know­ledge exami­na­ti­on if he…

…has suc­cessful­ly pas­sed the cor­re­spon­ding final exami­na­ti­on. Pro­of of this can be pro­vi­ded by pre­sen­ting the respec­ti­ve exami­na­ti­on certificate.

I have suc­cessful­ly com­ple­ted the so-cal­led “plant secu­ri­ty cour­ses”. Is this the same as the exami­na­ti­on for expert knowledge?

No! The fac­to­ry secu­ri­ty cour­ses (fac­to­ry secu­ri­ty cour­se 1–2 or 1–4) are — wit­hout suc­cessful­ly pas­sing the exami­na­ti­on to beco­me a fac­to­ry secu­ri­ty spe­cia­list — not equi­va­lent! You need the expert exami­na­ti­on. In addi­ti­on, the IHK works pro­tec­tion spe­cia­list exami­na­ti­on is no lon­ger offered. 

I was in the armed forces. Do I still have to take the examination?

Basi­cal­ly alre­a­dy. Cau­ti­on is advi­sed here: As a per­son doing basic mili­ta­ry ser­vice, a tem­po­ra­ry sol­dier or a pro­fes­sio­nal sol­dier, you have to take the expert know­ledge exami­na­ti­on — regard­less of whe­ther you are curr­ent­ly obli­ged to be a sol­dier or not — if you (addi­tio­nal­ly) want to work in the pri­va­te secu­ri­ty sec­tor and per­form the cor­re­spon­ding guar­ding tasks. The only excep­ti­on is for mili­ta­ry poli­ce, i.e. the mili­ta­ry poli­ce of the Ger­man Armed Forces. Mili­ta­ry poli­ce offi­cers are exempt from the expert know­ledge exami­na­ti­on, as mili­ta­ry poli­ce offi­cers have acqui­red a lar­ge part of the know­ledge requi­red in the expert know­ledge exami­na­ti­on during their trai­ning cour­ses. Mili­ta­ry poli­ce offi­cers or ser­geants, for exam­p­le, do not need to take a Cham­ber of Indus­try and Com­mer­ce (IHK) exami­na­ti­on; the pro­of is pro­vi­ded by the Bundeswehr’s trai­ning or ser­vice record. All other sol­diers must acqui­re the 34a certificate.

Do I need a cer­ti­fi­ca­te of com­pe­tence as a poli­ce officer?

The­re are excep­ti­ons both for poli­ce offi­cers at sta­te level (Land poli­ce) and at fede­ral level (Bun­des­po­li­zei). By the way, the same appli­es to employees in the cor­rec­tion­al ser­vice and to the wea­pons-car­ry­ing area of the cus­toms ser­vice. It is important to note that the obli­ga­ti­on to take the exami­na­ti­on is only wai­ved if you work in law enforce­ment and have suc­cessful­ly com­ple­ted the cor­re­spon­ding care­er exami­na­ti­on — at least for the inter­me­dia­te ser­vice. Poli­ce offi­cers who work as civil ser­vants in the poli­ce enforce­ment ser­vice the­r­e­fo­re do not need a cer­ti­fi­ca­te of com­pe­tence. Many poli­ce offi­cers earn extra money pri­va­te­ly, e.g. as door­men. Espe­ci­al­ly in conur­ba­ti­ons whe­re life is expen­si­ve, such as Munich, Stutt­gart, Frank­furt, Ham­burg, Ber­lin or Düs­sel­dorf, a part-time job in a secu­ri­ty com­pa­ny is a good way to earn extra money. Tip on the side: Make sure that you inform your (main) employ­er about your side job and ide­al­ly have it appro­ved in writing.

I stu­di­ed law, have an LL.B. or a sta­te law degree. Do I real­ly still need to take the expert know­ledge examination?

It’s hard to belie­ve: but of cour­se, a (part-time) job in the secu­ri­ty indus­try can also be inte­res­t­ing for pro­s­pec­ti­ve lawy­ers, be it to finan­ce their stu­dies or to gain impres­si­ons of the indus­try. Of cour­se: In the field of law (public safe­ty and order, trade law, data pro­tec­tion law, cri­mi­nal law and cri­mi­nal pro­ce­du­re law, civil code, code of cri­mi­nal pro­ce­du­re, etc.) law gra­dua­tes are alre­a­dy fit. That’s why you only need to catch up on the topics of acci­dent pre­ven­ti­on in the secu­ri­ty indus­try (UVV, DGUV regu­la­ti­on 23), deal­ing with peo­p­le and the basics of secu­ri­ty tech­no­lo­gy. A cer­ti­fi­ca­te of par­ti­ci­pa­ti­on in the IHK ins­truc­tion pro­ce­du­re ser­ves as pro­of of this. Tog­e­ther with a cer­ti­fi­ca­te of suc­cessful com­ple­ti­on of a law degree at a uni­ver­si­ty or aca­de­my that awards a degree equi­va­lent to a uni­ver­si­ty degree, no addi­tio­nal com­ple­ti­on of the expert know­ledge exami­na­ti­on pur­su­ant to §34a GewO is required.

I have been working as a secu­ri­ty guard for many years. Is work expe­ri­ence not enough recognition?

No, not nor­mal­ly! Howe­ver, the­re are cer­tain tran­si­tio­nal arran­ge­ments for “vete­ran” secu­ri­ty workers. Employees in the pri­va­te secu­ri­ty sec­tor who have par­ti­ci­pa­ted in the requi­red trai­ning sin­ce 1 April 1996 or who were alre­a­dy working in the secu­ri­ty sec­tor befo­re 31 March 1996 and were pre­vious­ly exempt from trai­ning due to this cut-off date regu­la­ti­on are, so to speak, “grand­fa­the­red”. Atten­ti­on: This exemp­ti­on may only be invo­ked if it can be shown that the guar­ding acti­vi­ty was unin­ter­rupt­ed for at least three years befo­re the cut-off date of 1 Janu­ary 2003. For all others who have only been acti­ve in the secu­ri­ty indus­try sin­ce 2003, such exemp­ti­ons do not app­ly.
So it is com­pli­ca­ted! My tip: It is bet­ter to invest in taking the qua­li­fi­ca­ti­on exami­na­ti­on and bene­fit from a “know­ledge update” even as an expe­ri­en­ced secu­ri­ty employee!

Atten­ti­on: Spe­cial cases!

The­re are some other spe­cial cases, such as the pos­si­ble reco­gni­ti­on of for­eign cer­ti­fi­ca­tes of com­pe­tence. It is also not always clear whe­ther the type of acti­vi­ty to be per­for­med requi­res a qua­li­fi­ca­ti­on exami­na­ti­on at all. If it is a mat­ter of simp­le ste­war­ding acti­vi­ties (e.g. car park ushers) or sim­ply che­cking and tearing off admis­si­on tickets, the­re is usual­ly no need for an expert know­ledge exami­na­ti­on, and in some cases not even the ins­truc­tion accor­ding to § 34a GewO. Howe­ver, bor­der­line cases such as super­vi­si­on or secu­ri­ty ser­vices in muse­ums or cer­tain con­stel­la­ti­ons of acti­vi­ties in event pro­tec­tion are some­ti­mes con­tro­ver­si­al. (Such bor­der­line cases are dis­cus­sed again in sepa­ra­te artic­les here on the Info­por­tal).
An important note: To be on the safe side, ask the Cham­ber of Indus­try and Com­mer­ce (IHK) and the com­pe­tent aut­ho­ri­ty whe­ther your qua­li­fi­ca­ti­on is suf­fi­ci­ent or whe­ther you also have to take the IHK exami­na­ti­on accor­ding to § 34a GewO. You will then recei­ve legal­ly secu­re, per­so­nal infor­ma­ti­on. If you are new to pri­va­te secu­ri­ty, you are then allo­wed to car­ry out the cor­re­spon­ding acti­vi­ties after your relia­bi­li­ty has been che­cked and you have been assi­gned the guard ID!

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