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What Can I Do with a Public Safety Degree?


 Public safety administration is the management or leadership part of the Department of Public Safety. Professionals in this field requires a public safety degree. They will develop strategies, secure the resources, and assemble the teams to meet the needs of the community. They attempt to anticipate and respond to events that threaten the health and welfare of the general public.  Without public safety administrators, managing  and coordinating the emergency response teams, EMTs, Firemen, and Police officers would not know where to respond. These professionals may also work behind-the-scenes to enable fire, police and other crisis response workers to provide effective, life-saving support to their communities when the need arises.  

How to become a Public Safety Professional

As mentioned above, to become one of these revered individuals, it requires a public safety degree. Earning a public safety degree opens many doors, career opportunities, and often advancements within the field. For example, the Bachelor of Public Safety Administration is an undergraduate degree program for professionals and pre-professionals. This includes those interested in the management side of the police, fire, and EMT services. Graduates will learn disaster and emergency management practices and administration leadership. Graduating students will easily find employment in the police, homeland security, or disaster management fields.  There is often no prerequisites for the public safety program. However, being well-versed in foundational aspects of public safety principles would be useful. Depending on which college or university the student chooses, the public safety degree program may be available at all levels of education.

In fact, some four-year institutions may also provide a graduate-level option or certificate in public safety. Some colleges and universities offering this degree may also offer a specialization to go along with the online degree. Meaning, some BS in Public Safety programs provide the option of concentration courses in areas related to the public safety.

 For example, schools offer criminal justice or law enforcement courses within the degree itself. Along with your main coursework, many schools require a Capstone in Public Safety Administration. This course will provide the student with advanced knowledge, including deep discussions, projects, or internships with public safety. Sometimes the capstone course is called a portfolio class, requiring students to create information from what was learned throughout their education to real-world situations. The Capstone course is available to the student during their senior year. It is also the last class in the degree program. 

Career Outlook of Graduates of Public Safety Degrees

Once graduated, students will find that the public safety field is very broad and offers a variety of career options. graduates have the option to focus their career path in career positions in law enforcement, emergency management or as fire safety professionals. Here is a list of all the possibilities available for a graduate of public safety:

  • Firefighter
  • Fire Commissioner
  • Fire Chief/Captain/Lieutenant
  • Disaster/Emergency Services Manager
  • Emergency Medical Technician (Paramedic)
  • Environmental Health & Safety Manager
  • Federal Air Marshal
  • FEMA Team Leader/Director
  • Medical and Health Services Manager
  • Natural Disaster Response Administrator
  • US Coast Guard Officer
  • Border Patrol Agent
  • Customs Officer
  • Emergency Management Director
  • Police Commissioner/Police Chief

Each one of these career opportunities will require some form of public safety education. It could be at the associate-level, where many entry-level position are. Or, for some who are looking for more upper management, then students should go for a four-year program. Both the bachelors- or masters-level degrees would be a great way to start a rewarding career in management or leadership positions in public safety. Public safety administration jobs can also be very lucrative.

Salary Outlook in Public safety

According to the BLS, those in administrative positions of the public safety field can make a salary close to $80,000 per year. In fact, the average median salary for emergency management directors was $76,250 in May 2020. The Job outlook of this field expects to rise up to 4% over the next several years. In fact, those with at least five years experience are more than likely to move up the ladder and improve their chances of higher pay and promotional opportunities. Advanced learners in both education and training will find employment faster than those who are just starting their public safety career.

However, there are more jobs available at the entry-level in public safety than for those seeking administrative positions. For instance, as of 2020, the BLS claims there is about 500 positions open for administrative or managerial candidates. However, there are over 6,000 positions available for entry-level positions, and many with no experience needed. Of course, students should keep in mind the website is only updated annually. 

Related Rankings:

Top 10 Online Public Safety Associate’s

Top 10 Online Public Safety Bachelor’s

Top 10 Online Public Safety Administration Master’s


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Securitydegreehub.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.