If you are interested in protecting the public, specifically from man-made or natural disasters, then you might consider earning an online public safety administration degree.
Public safety professionals work in many different fields and industries. They can act as first responders, or they can plan, coordinate, and prepare behind the scenes.
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Public safety administration is a wide field with many career possibilities.
Online Public Safety Administration Degrees
A degree in public safety administration can help prepare you to take on leadership roles in public safety and emergency management.
You don’t necessarily need a bachelor’s degree to work in emergency services, but earning one may open the doors to management and leadership roles. Even if your goal is to be a police officer or a firefighter, a degree in public safety administration can give you a competitive edge.
Most public safety administration professionals create the programs that help frontline workers do their job. Public safety administrators can help plan for disasters, both natural and man-made.
They can also decide how to respond to a disaster and how to recover from it. This is most often accomplished by creating programs and procedures in preparation of an emergency.
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Public safety administrators may also enforce safety regulations, manage corporate responses to threatening emergencies, and even manage public safety budgets. In an online public safety administration program, whether it’s an online bachelors or an online masters in public safety administration, you can expect to learn crisis management skills and strategies to prepare you for this kind of work.
You might also take classes that teach:
- Analytical skills
- Managerial skills
- Leadership skills
- Auditing skills
In a public safety administration program, students learn crisis mitigation strategies and the procedures to identify, prepare for, and respond to emergencies. You will typically take public finance courses as well. Public safety administrators may examine funding strategies for public safety initiatives and make strategic financial decisions.
Common Public Safety Administration Bachelor’s Specializations
With a bachelors in public safety administration, you there are a number of concentrations you can specialize in. Here are a few common public safety administration specializations:
- Law enforcement. If you are interested in becoming a police office, state trooper, or patrol officer, you may consider specializing in law enforcement. Students in this concentration study crime analysis, the fundamentals of investigation, and the basics of law enforcement.
- Fire science. A specialty in fire science is suitable for those who want to work the frontlines as a firefighter or in fire service administration or inspection. You’ll often study the political and legal foundations of fire protection, community fire and risk reduction, and analytical approaches to public fire protection.
- Emergency management. If you specialize in emergency management, you’ll typically take courses that teach you how to prepare for and manage emergencies and natural disasters. Emergency management professionals coordinate the work of the first responders.
- Homeland security. Students specializing in homeland security study a lot of the same subjects as those in emergency management. Homeland security also focuses on terrorism, man-made disasters, law, civil liberties, and intelligence.
- Corrections. If you are more interested in helping offenders reenter society, then you may want to specialize in corrections. In this concentration, you can learn about social services, restorative justice, and community-based and juvenile corrections.
Choosing a concentration can help you develop more specialized knowledge and skills. This may also help you gain an edge on the competition.
Public Safety Administration Careers & Salaries
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, if you are interested in a career in public safety, there is a wide variety of jobs and industries to choose from.
|Careers||Annual Median Salaries|
|Medical and Health Services Managers||$104,280|
|General and Operations Managers||$103,650|
|Emergency Management Directors, Hospitals||$87,920|
|Occupational Health and Safety Specialists||$76,340|
|Emergency Management Directors, Local Government||$70,130|
|Social and Community Services Managers||$69,600|
|Police and Detectives||$67,290|
|First-Line Supervisors of Correctional Officers||$60,910|
Most police officers are hired by local governments, though some are also hired by state and federal governments.
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The majority of emergency management professionals work for local governments as well, but they can also work in state governments, hospitals, universities, and scientific service industries (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Public Safety Administration Curriculum & Courses
A bachelor’s degree in public safety administration involves a wide variety of courses. Depending on your program, you may take some of the following classes:
- Community Relations Theory and Practice: You’ll explore theory and best practices in community relations.
- Emergency Services and Operations Analysis and Planning: You’ll learn how to evaluate an organization’s ability to respond to a crisis.
- Foundations of Emergency Medical Services: You’ll study the operational structure of emergency medical services in the US.
- Foundations of Public Safety Administration: This course is an overview of the field.
- GIS and GPS for Public Safety: You’ll learn how to analyze spatial data, use cartography techniques, and collaborate with peers in GIS.
- Managing Conflict in Public Organizations: This course combines philosophy and ethics with real-world conflict management skills in order to teach you how to manage internal and external conflict.
- Mitigation Planning: For those interested in reducing hazard risks in their communities, this course provides an introduction to mitigation planning.
- Program Evaluation for Emergency Management and Homeland Security: You’ll learn how to evaluate the effectiveness of public safety programs and policy.
- Public Budget and Finance: You’ll learn about operating budgets, tools for financial decision-making, capital budgeting, and financing.
- Public Safety Systems: This course examines the principles and practices of public safety.
Programs will have different course offerings, and your classes may vary depending on your chosen electives or specialization as well.
How to Choose an Online Public Safety Administration Bachelor’s Program
Not all programs are created equal. Here are some factors you can consider to help you determine which is the best online public safety administration program for your unique needs:
- Cost. Programs can vary greatly in their overall tuition costs and additional fees. Some schools may also offer varying degrees of financial aid services.
- Location. Some online programs still charge out-of-state tuition if you do not live in the same state as the school. Other programs, though, charge just a flat fee, regardless of where you live.
- Accreditation. A degree from an accredited school is more highly regarded by prospective employers than a degree from a nonaccredited school.
- Program length. If you need to complete your program more quickly, you can look for an accelerated public safety administration program. Alternatively, you can also look for programs that offer part-time studies to complement your lifestyle and responsibilities.
- Specialization. If you want to specialize, you can check to see if a prospective program offers your chosen concentration. Not all programs offer the same concentrations.
You can also check schools’ websites or talk to admissions counselors before deciding on enrollment.
Once you have chosen a program, it’s time to apply for admissions. Not all schools require the same admissions package, so it’s beneficial to check with your school before applying.
You can find specific admissions guidelines on a school’s website or by talking with an admissions counselor. Most schools ask for:
- High school diploma or GED
- Letters of recommendation
- Personal essay
- Standardized test scores, such as the ACT or SAT (if required)
It’s strategic to pay special attention to application deadlines. You may not be accepted if anything in your admissions package is submitted late.
It is very important to attend an accredited institution, especially when attending online. Regional accreditation verifies that a school meets certain educational standards and can offer you a quality education.
Employers tend to only recognize a degree if it is earned from an accredited university. Plus, attending an accredited school can be a precondition for types of financial aid. In addition, if you decide to transfer schools before completing your program, transferring is often easier among accredited universities.
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Accreditation can also impact your credits’ eligibility to transfer. To discover your school’s accreditation status, you can check the school database created by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
Public Safety Administration Certifications
Pursuing a certificate often requires the completion of extra classes in addition to your required classes. Earning a certification for a bachelor’s in public safety administration is optional, but it’s beneficial if you want to specialize in a certain area.
It can also set you apart from other job candidates because you have additional, specialized knowledge and expertise.
Potential certifications include:
- Law Enforcement Licensure
- Certified Emergency Manager
- Certified Business Continuity Professional
A licensing or certifying exam is often required after completing your classes. You often have to renew your license or certification periodically as well.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
Many bachelor’s students qualify for federal and state financial aid. To see if you’re eligible, you can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Financial aid is most often awarded in grants and student loans. You won’t need to pay back any grants you receive, but student loans do need to be repaid. In comparison to traditional loans, student loans can be easier to qualify for and often have lower interest rates.
You can also apply for scholarships and awards. Some places that may offer these opportunities include:
- Community organizations and clubs
- The college you plan on attending
- The program you are applying to
- Your employer
- Local government offices
Most high school guidance counselors also have a list of scholarships that you can apply to as well.
Public Safety Administration Professional Organizations
Joining a professional organization as a student can expose you to networking and educational opportunities.
Common organizations include:
- International Public Safety Association (IPSA)
- National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM)
- National Emergency Management Association (NEMA)
If you are not sure where you want to work as a public safety administrator, belonging to a professional organization may help. There you can meet and talk with other professionals. Learning more about others’ work may help you decide what industry you’d like to work in.
Should I Get a Degree in Public Safety Administration?
Whether you should get a degree in public safety depends on your interests and what you want to do with your career. Most entry-level jobs, such as law enforcement, do not require a degree.
Advancement might be possible without a degree as well since some jobs will let you work your way up. Most leadership positions, though, require a bachelor’s degree. A degree in public safety administration can help you develop professional and leadership skill sets for this field.
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Jobs for emergency management directors are growing at a rate of 4% over the next ten years, while fire inspectors are seeing 8% job growth (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Is Public Safety Administration the Same as Public Administration?
No, public safety administration and public administration are not the same thing. A degree in public administration can help prepare students for careers in policymaking. Graduates work in a variety of leadership roles in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.
On the other hand, a degree in public safety administration helps prepare students to create the policies and programs needed to keep the public safe. They can work with and lead emergency management teams rather than working with political groups.
What Can I Do with a Degree in Public Safety Administration?
You may qualify for a variety of positions and industries with a degree in public safety administration. While a bachelor’s degree is not always required to work in the fire or police service, some public safety admin graduates do go on to work in these fields. Earning a degree in public safety can help give you an edge on the competition.
There are also professionals in the field who work in public safety management. For example, emergency response directors help coordinate the efforts of many first responders. Others may work as battalion leaders or deputy leaders in the fire service.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Degree in Public Safety Administration Online?
A bachelor’s degree in public safety administration generally requires around 120 credits. A bachelors typically takes 4 years to complete if you attend a traditional, 16 week program on a full-time basis. If you attend part-time, it may take longer.
There are some programs, though, that follow 8 week terms. If you follow this type of course schedule full-time, year-round, you may finish the program in less time. Some programs even offer a fast track, letting students test out of introductory courses or advance through the curriculum as soon as they demonstrate understanding.
Is a Bachelors Degree in Public Safety Administration Worth It?
Yes, a bachelors degree in public safety administration is worth it for many students. A bachelor’s degree can open the door for advancement or leadership opportunities in this rewarding field.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 3% job growth for protective service occupations over the next ten years. Emergency management directors are expected to experience 4% job growth.
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A degree program in public safety administration may also offer the chance for you to specialize and become certified. Specialized knowledge and skills can help you gain a competitive edge in the field.
Universities Offering Online Bachelors 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.
American Public University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Security Management. Each of the online classes is either 8 or 16 weeks long. To graduate, students must complete 120 credit hours and a final project. Applicants must have a high school diploma or an equivalent degree.
APUS is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Charter Oak State College offers a Bachelor’s in Public Safety Administration. To graduate, students must complete 120 credit hours with a minimum GPA of 2.0. All courses related to the major must be finished with a grade of C or higher. Applicants may apply online with official transcripts and test scores.
Charter Oak State College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
Cleveland State University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Public Safety Management. Students may choose to add a concentration in Fire and Emergency Services Administration or Management to their degree. Those interested in the program should have a high school GPA of 2.3 or higher. An application can be submitted through the school’s website.
Cleveland State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University offers a Bachelor of Science in Safety Management. The program is designed to allow students to complete a minor of their choice along with their major. To graduate, students must obtain 121 credit hours. Applicants must submit ACT or SAT scores with their high school transcripts when applying.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Florida Atlantic University offers a Bachelor of Public Safety Administration. The online program allows students to choose between a concentration in Law Enforcement and Corrections or Disaster Management. To be eligible for the program, applicants must submit ACT or SAT scores and official transcripts to the school.
FAU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Florida State College at Jacksonville offers a Bachelor of Applied Science in Public Safety Management. To graduate, students must complete 120 credit hours and a final capstone project. Those interested in the program may apply online through the school’s website with official high school transcripts.
Florida State College at Jacksonville is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Franklin University offers a Bachelor of Science in Public Safety Management and Leadership. Students must complete 120 credit hours to graduate. Classes are all offered online and either 6 or 12 weeks long. To be eligible for the program, applicants must submit copies of their official high school transcripts or GED certificates.
Franklin University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Grand Canyon University offers a Bachelor of Emergency Management and Homeland Security. To graduate, students must complete 120 credit hours. Each class is offered online and 7 weeks long. Applicants may submit online applications with copies of their official high school transcripts to apply.
Grand Canyon University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Hampton University offers an online program for a Bachelor of Science in Public Safety Administration. The curriculum is designed to help students develop the skills needed to succeed in entry-level public safety roles. Students can select concentrations in Criminal Justice, Emergency and Disaster Management, Emergency Medical Systems, or Fire Administration. On average, students can complete the degree in 4 years.
Hampton University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Miami Dade College offers a Bachelor of Applied Science in Public Safety Management. The program requires students to complete 120 credit hours and can typically be completed in 4 years.
Students may choose to add a concentration in either Crime Scene Investigation or Emergency Management. Applicants must have an associate degree in a related field with a GPA of 2.0 or higher.
Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Neumann University offers a Bachelor of Science in Public Safety Administration. The program is offered online and can typically be completed in 20 months. Those interested in the program may apply online through the school’s website. Official high school transcripts must be submitted when applying.
Neumann University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Oklahoma State University offers an online Bachelor’s in Public Safety Management program. Students must complete 120 credit hours and a practicum with a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher to graduate. When applying, applicants must submit official high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores from tests taken within the last 3 years.
Oklahoma State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Polk State College offers a Bachelor of Applied Science in Supervision Management with a concentration in Public Safety Management. To graduate, students must complete 120 credit hours with a minimum GPA of 2.0. Applicants may apply online through the school’s website with official high school transcripts.
Polk State College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Santa Fe College offers a Bachelor of Applied Science in Public Safety Management. The program requires students to complete 60 credit hours to graduate and can typically be completed in 2 years. Those interested in the program must have an associate degree in any field with a GPA of 2.5 or higher.
Santa Fe College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Southern Illinois University offers a Bachelor of Science in Public Safety Management. The program is designed to allow students to complete a specialization in Fire Service, Emergency Medical Service, or Emergency Management Administration. Applicants must have a high school GPA of 2.75 or higher and need to submit official transcripts.
SIU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
St. Petersburg College offers a Bachelor of Applied Science in Public Safety Administration. To graduate, students must complete 120 credit hours, with 60 qualifying credits transferred into the program from a related discipline. Applicants must have either an associate’s degree or 60 transferable credit hours to be eligible for the program.
SPC is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of Alaska—Fairbanks offers a Bachelor’s in Homeland Security and Emergency Management. The online program offers 6 different concentrations for students to choose from. Applicants must have a high school diploma with a GPA of 2.5 or higher and ACT or SAT test scores.
The University of Alaska Fairbanks is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
The University of Maryland Global Campus offers an online Bachelor’s in Public Safety Administration program. Students must have a total of 120 credit hours to graduate. Those interested in the program may apply online. Applicants should have a high school diploma or an equivalent degree.
UMGC is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
The University of West Alabama offers both a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Arts in Public Safety. For both programs, students must complete 120 semester hours with a minimum GPA of 2.0 to graduate. Applicants may apply online with official high school transcripts and ACT or SAT test scores.
The University of West Alabama is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Vincennes University offers a Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security and Public Safety. The program usually takes 4 years to complete. Those interested in the program may apply online through the school’s website. Applicants may be required to complete a placement exam that is offered by the university.
Vincennes University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.
Getting Your Bachelors in Public Safety Administration Degree Online
If you’re interested in pursuing a career in public safety, you might want to consider earning a bachelors degree in public safety administration.
A public safety administration degree can help you develop the necessary skills to not only respond to emergencies but also prepare for and overcome them. A number of accredited universities offer both in-person and online programs in this field. Online learning options tend to be known for their convenience and scheduling flexibility.
If you would like to earn your degree in public safety administration, you can start exploring online programs today to find the one that best suits your goals and aspirations.