2021 Best Online Masters in Public Safety Administration Programs

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An online masters in public safety administration can help you develop knowledge and leadership skills for the management of public safety agencies.

Online Masters in Public Safety Administration Programs

Public safety is a growing field that provides essential services to communities. This type of degree could be useful for someone wishing to pursue a career in law enforcement, public safety management, or emergency management.

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If you already have a career in one of these fields, earning your degree may provide opportunities for advancement.

Online Masters in Public Safety Administration Programs

Masters in Public Safety Administration Programs

A masters in public safety administration could help prepare you to pursue a wide variety of career paths. Here are some examples of careers that are related to the field of public safety administration:

  • Emergency management director
  • Social and community service manager
  • Public safety administrator
  • Medical and health services manager
  • Fire inspector
  • Chief security officer

In a public safety administration degree program, you’ll study the best practices for keeping the public safe. In an academic context, this usually means studying available research on public safety policy and practices.

Public safety administration programs at the graduate level can be Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MS), or Master of Public Administration (MPA) degrees. Many of these degree programs are available in online and hybrid formats.

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The curriculum for a masters in public safety administration generally includes the study of a variety of subjects, including public budgeting and finance, public policy, homeland security, and emergency management.

Some master’s in public safety administration programs allow you to choose a specialization in a field like emergency management, law enforcement, or homeland security. Before enrolling in a program, you may want to consider your career goals and what type of specialization would be most useful to you.

Public Safety Administration Careers & Salaries

Public Safety Administration Careers & Salaries

Professionals with degrees in public safety administration often work in management, protective service, or community and social service. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are some occupations related to public safety administration:

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Chief Executives $185,950
Medical and Health Services Managers $104,280
General and Operations Managers $103,650
Emergency Management Directors, Hospitals $87,920
Emergency Management Directors, Local Government $70,130
Social and Community Services Managers $69,600
Police and Detectives $67,290
Emergency Management Directors, State Government $66,730
Fire Inspectors $62,120
First-Line Supervisors of Correctional Officers $60,910

The types of careers and salaries you can pursue in the field of public safety will often depend on your work experience as well as your education. A master’s degree in public safety administration is especially applicable to the role of emergency management directors or medical and health services managers.

Hospitals and local and state governments have the highest employment rates for emergency management directors. Hospitals are also the biggest employer of medical and health services managers (Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Public Safety Administration Master’s Curriculum

Public Safety Administration Master's Curriculum

Here are examples of courses that you might take while earning a master’s degree in public safety administration:

  • Program Evaluation for Emergency Management and Homeland Security: In this course, you’ll learn how to analyze the effectiveness of the policies and plans of action that agencies use to respond to natural and man-made hazards.
  • Geographic Information Systems and Analysis: In this course, you’ll study data models, geographic coordinate systems, and map projections, learning how to apply them in the field of public safety.
  • Public Budgeting and Finance: In this course, you’ll study how government agencies plan to cover all of their expenses.
  • Public Human Resource Management: In this course, you’ll study topics such as collective behavior, productivity, and conflict management as they apply within government agencies.
  • Organization Behavior: In this course, you’ll learn about leadership and public service in government agencies.
  • Leadership for Innovation in Public Fire Services: In this course, you’ll study possible strategies to improve firefighting services.
  • Foundations of Emergency Medical Services: In this course, you’ll study the financing, organization, and delivery of EMS, and you’ll study how to ensure that these operations run as efficiently as possible.
  • Emergency Services Operations Analysis and Planning: In this course, you’ll learn to use data analysis techniques to perform risk assessments and evaluate the effectiveness of a public safety organization.
  • Seminar in Criminal Justice Organization and Management: In this course, you’ll study a variety of topics related to effectively running a criminal justice agency, including strategic hiring, interagency collaboration, and leadership.
  • Seminar on Ethnicity, Crime, and Justice: In this course, you’ll study factors that lead to systemic racism in the criminal justice system as well as strategies for ending systemic racism.

Exact course requirements will vary at different universities.

How to Choose an Online Master’s in Public Safety Administration Program

Master's in Public Safety Administration Program

Here are some factors you may want to consider when you’re deciding which program to attend:

  • Eligibility. Some master’s in public safety administration programs expect applicants to already have work experience in the field of public safety or a bachelor’s degree in a related field.
  • Cost. Tuition rates can vary widely, and some schools offer scholarships or other forms of financial aid.
  • Synchronous or asynchronous scheduling. In some online degree programs, you attend a virtual class or lecture at a scheduled time. In other programs, you may complete all the coursework according to your own schedule.
  • Reputation. You may prefer to attend a program that has a good reputation or is recommended from others who have already earned their degrees.
  • Outcomes. Some programs provide information about job placement rates for students after graduation. You might prefer one with a high placement rate.
  • Accelerated options. Some programs allow you to complete coursework on a faster schedule or even waive some course requirements for students who already have professional experience in public safety.

Before you begin applying to programs, you may want to think carefully about which of these factors is most important to you.

Admissions Requirements

Masters in Public Safety Administration Programs admissions

When applying to a graduate degree program, you may be asked to meet both university-wide requirements and program-specific requirements.

Here are some common admissions requirements for online master’s degree programs in public safety administration:

  • Official transcripts
  • Minimum undergraduate GPA, typically of 3.0
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Work experience in public safety, emergency services, or law enforcement

Exact admissions requirements can vary. Some programs may also ask for GRE or GMAT scores, though a growing number of schools no longer require them. International students may be asked to provide proof of English proficiency.

Accreditation

Masters in Public Safety Administration Programs accreditation

Universities that are regionally accredited are regularly evaluated by outside agencies on the quality of their academic programs. By receiving regional accreditation, a university is affirming its commitment to providing a quality education to its students.

If you choose to transfer schools before finishing your degree program, your credits are more likely to be accepted by your new school if your original school was regionally accredited. Your prospective school’s accreditation status can also be a precondition for most types of financial aid.

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For more information about regional accreditation, you can visit the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Masters in Public Safety Administration Programs financial aid

If you are planning to attend graduate school, you may be wondering about how you will afford tuition and other fees.

There are many types of financial aid available to graduate students who qualify. You may be able to qualify for federal or state aid, and your school may even offer grants and scholarships.

If your degree is relevant to your current job, your employer may be willing to contribute to tuition costs as well. Some universities may offer reduced tuition rates for those already employed in public safety or law enforcement.

To see if you qualify for federal financial aid, you can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

What Is Public Safety Administration?

What Is Public Safety Administration

Public safety administration is the field of managing public safety agencies, including emergency medical services, law enforcement, and fire protection.

Public safety administrators can work behind the scenes to ensure that funds are used properly and that public safety workers have the equipment they need to do their jobs and work efficiently.

The ultimate goal of a public safety administrator is to save lives and to protect the health and well-being of the community.

Should I Get a Masters Degree in Public Safety Administration?

Masters Degree in Public Safety Administration

There is no right or wrong answer to this question. It depends on what you are hoping to learn or achieve with your career.

A master’s degree program in public safety administration can teach you to identify the most effective policies and practices for running a public safety organization. A graduate degree in this field can often open the door to more job and leadership opportunities.

A public safety administration graduate program can also provide you with opportunities to network with other professionals in the field or to access internship opportunities.

What Can You Do with a Masters in Public Safety Administration?

Masters in Public Safety Administration careers

There are many career paths you may qualify for with a masters in public safety administration.

Professionals in this field can work in the management or administrative aspect of a police department, fire department, or emergency medical service team. Others pursue jobs in community and social service or in the criminal justice system.

Federal agencies such as FEMA and the EPA also employ various types of public safety administrators. So, there is no shortage of what you can do with a public safety management degree.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Masters Degree in Public Safety Administration Online?

Masters Degree in Public Safety Admin

Most online master’s degree programs can be completed in 1 to 2 years. If a program is 36 credit hours long with no thesis requirement, you may be able to finish in 1 year with full-time attendance, including during the summer.

It may take you longer to graduate if you wish to attend school part-time so that you can balance your studies with your current job or other commitments. Some programs may require that you complete a thesis or a capstone project to demonstrate what you have learned, which may also take additional time.

What’s the Difference Between Public Safety Administration vs. Public Administration?

Here are some differences between public safety administration and public administration:

Public Safety Administration Public Administration
  • More specialized than public administration
  • Applicable to agencies that provide emergency services or protection of the public health
  • Requires workers who know how to respond efficiently during emergencies
  • Applicable to any sort of government organization or agency
  • Requires workers with knowledge of broad social issues

Professionals in both fields think about how to change policies for the better.

Is a Public Safety Administration Masters Degree Worth It?

Yes, a public safety administration masters degree is worth it for many students. There is a consistent demand for qualified professionals to run and improve public safety programs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 5% job growth for management occupations over the next 10 years.

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Many professionals find public safety administration to be rewarding because it can be challenging and can provide meaningful benefits to their communities. If you already have a career in public safety administration, earning your masters could help you advance your expertise and qualifications in the field.

Universities Offering Online Masters in Public Administration Degree Programs

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Arizona State University

Arizona State University

Arizona State University offers an online program for a Master of Public Safety Leadership and Administration. The program consists of 11 courses that are 7.5 weeks long. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Official transcripts, a letter of intent, and 2 letters of recommendation must be submitted to the school when applying.

ASU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Charleston Southern University

Charleston Southern University campus

Charleston Southern University offers an online Public Safety Management program. Students may choose to complete a thesis for 3 extra credit hours. To be eligible for the program, applicants must submit official transcripts from all postsecondary schools they’ve attended, a resume, GRE or MAT scores, and 2 letters of recommendation.

Charleston Southern University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Corban University

Corban University

Corban University offers a Master of Public Safety Administration. Each class in the program is 8 weeks long, allowing students to potentially obtain their degree within 12 months of starting the program.

Those interested in the program must have a bachelor’s degree and either an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or a letter of recommendation from an employer.

Corban University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Drury University

Drury University

Drury University offers a Master in Public Service and Safety Leadership. To graduate, students must complete 30 credit hours and a final, capstone project. To be eligible for the program, applicants must have 2 references, a personal statement, and a GPA of 3.0 or higher from a bachelor’s degree program.

Drury University is accredited by Higher Learning Commission.

Saint Cloud State University

Saint Cloud State University

Saint Cloud State University offers a Master of Science in Public Safety Executive Leadership. To graduate, students must complete a final cumulative portfolio. Those interested in the program should have 3 or more years of professional experience and need to submit transcripts to the school when applying.

Cloud State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Southern Illinois University

Southern Illinois University

Southern Illinois University offers a Master of Science in Public Safety Management. The program is offered online and requires students to complete 30 semester hours, including a practicum. To be eligible for the program, applicants must have a GPA of 2.7 from the last 2 years of a bachelor’s degree program.

Southern Illinois University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University offers a Master’s in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Public Safety Administration. Students must complete 36 credit hours to graduate, with 12 hours dedicated to the concentration. Applicants must have an undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or higher to be eligible for the program.

Southern New Hampshire University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

University of San Diego

University of San Diego

The University of San Diego offers an online program for a Master of Science in Law Enforcement and Public Safety Leadership.

The program is designed to be 5 semesters long and requires students to complete 31 units, including a capstone project. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of 2.75 and professional experience in law enforcement.

The University of San Diego is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges-Senior College and University Commission.

University of Virginia

University of Virginia

The University of Virginia offers an online Master of Public Safety program. To graduate, students must complete 30 credit hours through 10 different courses. Those interested in the program may apply online through the school’s website and must submit copies of their official undergraduate transcripts.

The University of Virginia is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Western Illinois University

Western Illinois University

Western Illinois University offers a Master of Art in Public Safety Administration. Students can choose between completing a thesis or not.

Those interested in the program must have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher. Applicants must submit 3 letters of reference, a writing sample, and official transcripts from all previously attended post-secondary institutions.

Western Illinois University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Getting Your Master of Public Safety Administration Online

Master of Public Safety Administration Online

Public safety agencies need skilled managers and administrators in order to operate. If you would like to enact positive changes in regards to public safety, you might  consider earning a masters in public safety administration.

There are many credible online public safety administration degree programs that can enable you to earn your degree without relocating or commuting to campus. Online learning options can also provide flexible scheduling options for working adults.

You can take the next step in your educational journey today by exploring accredited universities.

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Amy Wilson
WRITTEN BY
Amy Wilson
Amy attended the University of Georgia, enrolling in both online and on-campus classes. Her research and writing focuses on how differing education methodologies can affect student outcomes, as well as making education accessible to more students.