How To Become a Loss Prevention Officer

how to become a loss prevention officer

How To Become a Loss Prevention Officer

Do you fancy yourself a bit of sleuth? Are you highly observant and hyper aware of your surroundings? Then you might make a good loss prevention officer.

If you have ever gone into a large shopping centre, chances are you have seen a loss prevention officer. But the catch is you’d never know it, at least not if they are good at their job.

These slick security guards operate in plain clothes and blend into the crowd. They appear to be shopping, running errands or generally just minding their own business. You’d never even know they were working until they bust a shoplifter in the act.

So, what exactly is a loss prevention officer? How much do they make and how do you get a job like that? We are going to answer all these questions and more in our guide on how to become a loss prevention officer.

What is a loss presentation officer?

A loss prevention officer or a plain clothes security guard is often employed at shopping centres and large department stores. They are trained security professionals and are primarily employed to monitor for suspicious behavior and theft.

What do they do?

A loss prevention officer patrols shopping centre and large department stores keeping an eye out for suspicious behavior and working to prevent theft both from customers and staff.

They will appear to just be another person innocently going about their business. But in actuality they are scanning their environment to check for people acting sketchy, employees dipping into the till or people wearing too many clothes. They are watching for signs of theft or shoplifting and acting swiftly and deftly when their suspicions are confirmed.

Where does a loss prevention officer work?

Loss prevention officers work in large shopping centres, department stores and even grocery stores. They are mainly relegated to the retail industry as their role is focused on theft prevention. But within that industry there are multiple locations, and types of stores they might work in or around to prevent theft for a company.

How much do they make?

Loss prevention officers are paid under the MA000016 Security Services Industry Award . This award applies to all security personnel. And the rate depends on the level you are paid at but also whether you are paid as a full time, part time or causal employee. The security award begins at level 1 and goes up to level 5. You could be paid at a level 1 or level 5 depending on where you work and what experience you have.

A permanent part-time or full-time security officer paid at a level 1 of this award makes $22.84 per hour on a weekday and up to $45.68 per hour on a Sunday. If you’re employed under a causal contract under the security officer award level 1, your rate starts at $28.55 per hour on a weekday and goes up to $51.39 per hour on Sunday.

What skills do you need to be a loss prevention officer?

Loss prevention officers have a difficult role to play. Between monitoring the area for suspicious behavior and capturing shoplifters in the act while acting inconspicuously, it’s not an easy job to do. But here are some skills that will help you to excel in this role.

Attention to detail

A loss prevention officer will need excellent attention to detail to be able to do their job effectively.

In loss prevention you need to be hyper aware of your surroundings and environment and able to pick up subtle changes and clues that could indicate if someone is stealing.


A good loss prevention officer should blend into the background. You’ll need to be stealthy to work as a loss prevention officer; able to monitor the situation and keep a close eye on everyone without them even knowing they are being watched.

Good communication skills

You’ll need to have good communication skills to excel as a loss prevention officer. It’ll be important that you manage the situation when you are dealing with a potential shop lifter. You’ll also need to have an excellent understanding of non-verbal cues in order to pick up suspicious behavior from shoplifters, darting eyes, tensing the body, all these cues might help you to catch a thief in the act.

Excellent stress management

Being a loss prevention officer is not an easy job. It’s stressful and takes a lot of work to monitor an area so closely and pick up the clues but actually stopping a shoplifter is no easy feat either. Someone caught in the act of stealing is often distressed, angry or upset and it can be difficult to navigate the procedures that follow while keeping them calm. This is why it’s important that loss prevention officers have excellent stress management skills.

How do you become a loss prevention officer?

Loss prevention officers are security officers and as such they are required to complete the required security guard training course and first aid certificates and gain their unrestricted security guard licence.

What course do you need to study?

The course you’ll need to do in order to become a loss prevention officer is the Certificate II in Security Operations. This course is a requirement for gaining your unrestricted security guard licence.

In the course you will learn how to:

  • Apply effective communication skills to maintain security
  • Apply legal and procedural requirements to work effectively within a security team
  • Apply WHS, emergency response and evacuation procedures to maintain security
  • Apply risk assessment to select and carry out response to security risk situations
  • Provide quality services to a range of security clients
  • Protect self and others using basic defensive techniques
  • Patrol premises to monitor property and maintain security
  • Screen people, personal effects and items to maintain security
  • Monitor and control access and exit of persons and vehicles from premises
  • Apply security procedures to manage intoxicated persons
  • Apply security procedures to remove persons from premises
  • Escort and protect persons and valuables
  • Provide first aid

You can learn more about the course here.

How much does the security course cost?

The full fee for service price of the security course is $1500 but most people are able to access some kind of funding for the course.There are currently government funding options in both QLD and NSW. 

What are the next steps?

If you want to find out more about becoming aa loss prevention officer, book in to attend one of our free security career information sessions . These sessions run by our team will take you through everything you need to know about the training, working in the industry, the jobs available and how each of the different funding types work. Asset College also provides additional support for ASSET graduates on completion of their course through a unique employer connections program.

Get in touch with us to find out more today.

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