A specialist working as a close personal protection officer (or bodyguard) is likely to have undergone several tiers of training to be working at the highest levels of their profession. The top earning bodyguards can earn as much as $600,00 dollars per year, but this would not be a typical wage in the industry. The determining factors that would go into the calculating the salary would be very much based on the skills and experience of the bodyguard combined with the profile and wealth of the VIP they were hired to protect. Generally, the higher the profile, the higher the risk and hence the demand for the best in the industry increases.
Almost everyone working at any level has started their career in the armed forces, law enforcement or has been trained by security companies that focus on weapons training and combat. Since the primary job of an officer working in close personal protection is to protect the VIP, they must be able to give themselves the best opportunity of shutting down a threat which means being in top physical shape and combat ready. Most professionals will train regularly in some form of martial art to stay sharp and fit. Many will have much more brutal hand to hand combat skills that do not get taught in martial arts schools and will practice these as part of their routine also.
These physical skills are important and are obviously mandatory to work at any level, but the most sought after bodyguards have other craftier skillsets than your typical veterans who have only ever focused on the physical aspects of training. The best operators are the guys that can plan for situations or events in ways that will minimise risk and prevent problems and confrontational situations long before they arise. This could mean anything from mapping different travel routes to assessing individual profiles of people that will be in close contact and identifying warnings long before they become actual threats. The best advice anyone can give to a personal protection officer is that you can never be over-prepared.
Despite all of this, sometimes situations that would seriously scare even the most seasoned veterans will occur. They might be seemingly natural circumstances that quickly get out of control due to crowd numbers or aggression triggers. Very occasionally, there will be a direct targeted attack designed specifically to disorient the protection officer. The number one skill any bodyguard needs is to be able to think on their feet and react in a dynamic and fluid situation that most protects their VIP from any threat. Being able to adapt in unplanned for and dangerous territory is what separates the top operators with the elite.
Judgement is the true essence of the top performer in security field and it comes with dedicated training, persistence and experience. Judgement, not only in threat related situations, but also in communicating with people, maintaining confidentiality and best use of available resources for any operation. When asked what the single most important factor was in determining the quality of the professional, the overwhelming response was being able to accurately assess any situation and exercise appropriate judgement.