Protective service officer careers

What we do

Everything you need to know about becoming an AFP protective service officer

What you’ll do

Protective service officers (PSOs) provide highly visible security at key locations like Parliament House in Canberra and Defence sites. You will also provide protective security to the diplomatic community.

Duties and responsibilities

As a protective service officer you will:

  • Undertake national protective security and first-response operations
  • Deter, detect and respond to criminal activity
  • Report, input, collate and retrieve data for operational purposes.


New PSO Pathways

The AFP has recently introduced a new framework that takes a proactive approach in the development of Protective Service Officers from recruit level. It recognises that there are a variety of career paths and opportunities for PSOs, and aims to introduce a clear training plan from recruit to specialist roles. This new framework allows PSOs to enjoy a full, rewarding career as a Protective Service Officer. 

What Career Pathways are available to me? 

PSOs have the option of specialising in some exciting areas, like:

  • K9 handling
  • Short Barrelled Rifle
  • Rapid Appraisal
  • Maritime Officer
  • Drone operation
  • Tactical Response
  • Close Personal Protection
  • Discreet Operations

PSO careers around Australia

PSOs are stationed in every State and Territory except Tasmania. This gives you the opportunity to experience the variety of working in major cities or remote locations.

PSO test

PSO Opportunities 

Work Life Balance

As a PSO, you will have the opportunity to work shift patterns that allow for excellent work/life balance. Many of our PSOs tell us that the shift pattern is excellent for many different lifestyles, including families with young children. The role is also very hands-on, so there is no need to take work home which allows for great work/life balance!

Varied Deployment Locations 

PSOs deploy to many different locations including cities like Canberra and Melbourne, and regional locations like Pine Gap, South Australia or Western Australian regions like Geraldton and Exmouth, depending on the operational needs of the organisation. When the opportunity arises overseas deployments to locations such as Solomon Islands, East Timor.

Did you know? 

PSOs deployed to remote localities have an opportunity to earn up to $10,000 per year (taxable) in addition to their salary as part of the AFP’s remote localities allowance! PSOs in our remote localities describe benefits like less expensive cost of living and beautiful outdoor settings for exercise and recreation. Work in unique, exciting protection environments supporting the Department of Defence, where you’ll gain invaluable experience that may set you up for future career development!

PSO Entry-level roles

Entry-level roles

Entry-level protective services officer roles in the AFP are highly sought-after. After successfully completing the Federal Police Development Program you will be deployed in line with the AFP’s operational priorities and the needs of the organisation at that time.

PSO How we protect our people

How we protect our people

The safety of our people is paramount. The training and support provided by the AFP throughout an officer’s career encompasses a range of specialised areas to protect physical and mental health. 

The AFP has a number of measures and support services in place to protect the physical, mental and emotional health of our employees. These include:

  • The AFP Welfare Officer Network
  • High-performance health centres to be set up in each regional command
  • First-class on-the-job training
  • Ongoing mentoring
  • Operational safety training. 

Learn more about AFP support services


More information for applicants 

Keep in touch

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