The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects large growth in public safety management jobs in the incoming years. Specifically, jobs such as city and county managers and management relation specialists are projected to increase by 10 and 7 percent respectively.
The programs listed below can help prepare you for a career in public safety management and leadership. While some institutions offer Masters of Science, others provide Masters of Public Administration.
We've been sure to specify below. One last thing to note is that the tuition rates listed below reflect the cost of the entire program, start to finish. In fact, we have an entire ranking dedicated to cost – Most Affordable Online Master's Programs. Our data comes from the university and colleges' websites as well as nationally recognized U.S. News and World Report and The National Center for Education Statistics.
See our rankings methodology page.
Pace University offers a Master in Arts in Management for Public Safety and Homeland Security that can be completed in two years. For those already working in the field or those wishing to making a career change, students at Pace learn about homeland security, public sector management, ethics, strategic planning and budgeting, and more. This program is primarily online, but requires that some time be spent on the Manhattan campus. Pace’s program partners with the Center for Homeland Defense and Security, and therefore the curriculum emphasizes prevention of and protection against terrorism, human and natural disasters, and managing large-scale safety plans.
Franklin University offers an online Masters of Public Administration degree that can be completed in as little as seventeen months. Though not strictly a public safety program, the curricular experience at Franklin prepares its students to become effective leaders in various roles of administration. Students can also choose from three tracks of focus: criminal justice administration, healthcare administration, and human resources management. Finally, Franklin’s program is affiliated with notable organizations, including the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration; Public Management Research Association; and the American Society of Public Administration.
For those interested in the business applications of public safety, Herzing University’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) includes a concentration in Public Safety Leadership. The objective of the program, as detailed by the university, is for its students to “evaluate alternative solutions to complex management challenges in the field of public safety.” Graduates from Herzing go on to become safety officers, operation managers, team leaders, administrative services managers, and more. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education, Herzing University is a non-profit, career-focused institution.
Owned by the Capella Education Company, Capella University is a for-profit institution located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, though most of its education is delivered online. Their Master’s in Criminal Justice program provides a concentration in Public Safety Leadership that prepares students to evaluate leadership theories, research public safety policies, implement social change and community improvements, include diverse and multicultural perspectives in decision making, and incorporate professional and social ethics to leadership and management. Graduates go on to find work in varying fields, including though not limited to the federal government, educational institutions, municipal systems, and youth services.
University of Maryland University College
The University of Maryland University College offers an array of degrees in public safety, including a Masters in Management with specialization in homeland security. Though specialized, the degree prepares its students to respond to varying threats at the federal, state, and local levels. The faculty is comprised of experts in their respective fields, each bringing experience from a range of organizations: the military, the justice system, the FBI, NSA, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), the Secret Service, as well as police and fire departments. The University of Maryland University College is one of the largest distance learning institutions in the world.
Tuition: $23,724 for non-residents / $16,488 for residents and military
Anna Maria College
Though not technically a degree in public safety, Anna Maria College has an online Master of Public Administration program with emergency management specialization. Anna Maria’s program stands apart from the others in that it has designed an optional curriculum for those professionals already working in a relevant field. The Mid-Career Track is for students with four or more years of experience. They are eligible to enroll in this track, allowing them to complete the program with just ten courses. Graduates go on to work in the local government, state government, hospitals, the American Red Cross, FEMA, community food and housing organizations, and more.
Southern New Hampshire University
Southern New Hampshire University is a private, non-profit university accredited by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Their Masters of Science in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Public Safety Administration program can be completed in little as fifteen months and requires no GMAT or GRE for admission. The curriculum, combining criminal justice and public safety theory, covers everything from courts and judicial process to strategic management in public service. Students learn how to assess political, social, economic, and administrative dynamics in public safety.
Tuition: $22,572 / military for $16,920
Eastern Kentucky University
Eastern Kentucky University’s College of Justice and Safety offers an online Masters in Safety, Security, and Emergency Management. Eastern Kentucky, located in Richmond, Kentucky, is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and has been top ranked by U.S. News and World Report, Forbes, GI Jobs, and more. There are five concentrations to choose from: occupational safety, emergency management, homeland security, fire and emergency services, and school safety.
Lewis University is a private Roman Catholic university located in Romeoville, Illinois with an established online learning platform. Their Master of Science in Public Safety Administration program is aligned with the standards put forth by the FBI National Academy Associations, of which Lewis is a Gold Academic Alliance Member. It takes two years to complete the degree, though each course is only eight-weeks long, making the curriculum both flexible and accelerated. Though many of the programs on this list prepare their students to work in government positions and organizations, Lewis stands apart in that graduates can also go on to work in environmental protection, if they so choose.
Arizona State University
The Master of Public Safety Leadership and Administration degree program through Arizona State University’s College of Public Service and Community Solutions is both affordable and acclaimed, as it is part of Arizona’s renowned flagship institution. This program stands out from the others in that it’s primarily for those wishing to be or already working as public safety professionals (police, border control, fire), though graduates can expect to find work in all areas of government including local, state, federal, and private sectors.