Most retail loss prevention specialists work for large retail corporations. They are often employed by companies such as Amazon, Kohl's, Lowe's, Macy's, Target, and Wal-Mart, among many others. They may also work for smaller retail businesses as well as outlet centers, malls, and large warehouses. There are 141,790 protective service workers, including retail loss prevention specialists, employed in the United States, according to the Department of Labor.
Retail loss prevention specialists typically start out as trainees or associates. Employers provide on-the-job training, which may last from several days to several weeks. During this time they shadow an experienced loss prevention specialist. Others have prior experience through an internship or part-time job in a security firm or loss prevention department of a retail corporation. Ask your school's career services office for help finding internship and job openings. Another way to find jobs is through employment Web sites such as LP Jobs, https://www2.lpjobs.com, as well as through Indeed, LinkedIn, and SimplyHired, to name only a few.
Retail loss prevention specialists start as trainees and associates, training while on the job. Those with two or more years of experience may advance to become supervisors, responsible for hiring and overseeing the work of junior-level loss prevention specialists. In large retail stores they may become managers or directors of loss prevention departments. Those that work for small retailers advance by taking positions in larger organizations. They also advance by getting certification and increasing their participation in professional associations. They may teach industry-related workshops and lecture at conferences.
Get a part-time or summer job in a loss prevention department at a retail store. Search the career section of store Web sites for job openings and ask your school's career services office for help with finding opportunities.
Read industry-related journals and publications to keep up with news and developments in the loss prevention field. For example, The National Retail Federation offers articles on loss prevention on its Web site, https://nrf.com/tag/loss-prevention.
Make professional connections and learn about potential job opportunities by attending industry events and conferences, such as NRF PROTECT, the National Retail Federation's annual networking event for people who work in asset protection, loss prevention, and related areas: https://nrfprotect.nrf.com.
Conduct an informational interview with a retail loss prevention specialist to learn how they got started in this field, their educational background, and any advice they may have for students. Ask your school's career services office for help with setting up the interview.