Behind every city is a team of dedicated professionals who work to keep everyone safe. These people work in public safety administration.
Communities are constantly being affected by emergencies, whether they are manmade or natural disasters. Ever since the horrible tragedy that occurred on September 11, 2001, our country has seen a major shift in priority in disaster prevention, relief, and issues of security. Although we have come a long way in the past years thanks to brave leaders and new technology, the field of public safety will always need new professionals who are able to constantly improve our systems.
A career in Public Safety Administration involves positions that help coordinate security efforts within a community. These jobs can be at the local or national level, as most security initiatives are carried out by governments. Public safety jobs can also involve non-profit work. Those who wish to work in public safety can expect a well-rounded career; these leaders must have knowledge on politics, emergency prevention and relief, economics, and basic business principles.
Accredited Online College Programs
Explore our featured online programs and find the right match for you today.
What type of master’s in public safety administration degree should you get?
Although the most common degree is a typical master of arts or master of science in public safety administration or management, there are other similar degrees that students can choose from. One may be emergency management or a master of business administration with concentrations in related public health fields like homeland security. While all of these degrees will teach the foundations of the public safety field, non-public safety administration degrees may concentrate on other sub-fields such as fire science or terrorism.
An online degree is ideal for working professionals who wish to continue their education without giving up their normal working hours. Most online programs can be finished in as little as two years with very flexible hours. Classes will either be held at a given time (usually in evenings), or students will be able to work as they please on their own time with given deadlines. Online degrees may also be more affordable, too.
Considering another degree? Check out our ranking of the Best Online Colleges.
How much money do people make with an online master’s in public safety administration?
According to PayScale, the average salary of those who hold an MS in Public Safety is $64,606. However, an MA in public safety only makes an average salary of $49,328. On the other hand, those who hold only a BA or a BS in public safety make an average of $55,439 or $62,023, showing that a master’s degree can improve salary potential. It is important to note that students who got their degree online versus a traditional on-campus program will have no different earnings.
In 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that emergency management directors made a median salary of $64,360. The bureau also projects that this career will experience a six percent increase from 2014 to 2024. Other average salaries for various positions include $80,000 for human resources directors or $60,000 for program administrators. In general, those who work in the public versus the private sector will have similar earning potential.
What can you do with an online master’s in public safety administration?
This degree prepares students to take on mid-level roles within the public safety sphere. Depending on if your degree allowed you to concentrate on a specific area, graduates may pursue more general jobs such as a non-profit director or an educator rather than positions that may require further training. Although the public safety field is not specifically labeled into categories, the three most common areas are: the Department of Homeland Security, environmental protection, and emergency management.
With further training and job experience, those who specialized in Homeland Security could be a customs officer or a policy analyst. Within the environmental field, common positions include being an EPA inspector or a pollution control technician. Lastly, typical emergency management jobs are a police officer, emergency medical technician, or a firefighter.
What are the requirements for an online master’s in public safety administration?
Applicants who are interested in applying for these master’s programs must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. While a bachelor’s in public safety administration or a related degree is not required, it will help build upon one’s understanding of the master-level coursework. The majority of schools also have minimum GPA requirements, generally preferring applicants with a 2.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale. Students with Graduate Record Examination or Graduate Management Admission Test scores can also submit their highest score, although many online programs do not require this.
What are the most affordable online master's in public safety administration?
Our data is pulled from trusted sources including:
- U.S. News and World Report
- Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Princeton Review
- Official college/university websites
The 35 schools listed here offer flexible, quality education at the most affordable rates. These degrees are organized by the average price it will cost you to earn the whole degree, fees and financial aid included. Whatever your goals in the literacy field, these programs can help you achieve them without breaking the bank.
See our rankings methodology page.
Arizona State University-Skysong
Looking for a school with a major online presence? Arizona State University may be for you. ASU is one of the nation’s most prominent public research institutions, being most known for its ranking as “the most innovative” university for the past several years. Through its many online programs, ASU offers excellent education to students around the world. Its online Master’s program in Public Safety Administration is offered at SkySong, a new institution in Scottsdale that focuses on innovation and technology.
The goal of ASU’s online MA in Public Safety Leadership & Administration degree is to create the next generation of public safety leaders throughout various industries.
- Concentrations: Emergency Medical Services – Mobile Integrated Healthcare, Executive Fire Administration, Executive Police Administration
- Access to 20 different research facilities
- 7.5-week courses
ASU students have access to various scholarships and awards. Although the majority of financial aid is reserved for undergraduates, eligible graduate students may apply for special grants.
West Lafayette, IN
Purdue University Global is a 100 percent online institution that is dedicated to providing higher education to adults around the world. Purdue Global is part of the Purdue University system which was founded in 1869. Its affordability and excellence are what makes its programs a leader in online education. In addition, Purdue Global is a leader in online criminal justice programs, which offers its Master’s in Public Safety Administration degree.
Through Purdue Global’s online Master of Public Administration degree, students will learn a variety of things such as leadership to human resource management in order to succeed in the industry.
- 55 credit-hours
- $420 per credit-hour
- Multiple start dates: December, February, May, and July
International students are able to get 25 percent off their tuition. Active service members are able to receive 55 percent off, while veterans receive 38 percent off.
Eastern Kentucky University
Eastern Kentucky University is a public university that is located in the city of Richmond. It has four main campuses as well as an accredited online school. In recent years the school has gone under several renovation projects to make its facilities better for students. Through its Safety Management degree, students gain leadership skills as well as specialize in public safety administration. In 2017, EKU was among the top-ranked public schools in the south according to the U.S. News & World Report.
EKU’s Master in Safety Management with a concentration in Emergency Management and Disaster Resilience focuses on how to handle international and domestic security threats.
- Ranked as the #7 Top Online College in 2017 for Occupational Safety degrees
- Internship opportunities
- Sample Courses: Infrastructure Protection and Risk Analysis, Achieving Long-Term Disaster Resilience, Evolution of Emergency Management
This program is meant for graduates to get in and out, with the possibility of finishing the degree in as few as two years.
Southern Illinois University-Carbondale
Southern Illinois University was established in 1869 originally as a school for teachers, with Carbondale being established as its main campus. Commitment to community service and diversity are some of the main points that SIU focuses on. People in the community probably know SIU for its mascot, the Saluki dog. The Saluki is a symbol of the school’s passion and pride on and off-campus. SIU is currently ranked among the top five percent for research in the nation.
Those who wish to enter into public safety or the fire services should check out SIU’s online Master of Public Safety & Homeland Security Management degree.
- Completion Time: as little as 16 months
- Mock accident training
- Tracks: In-Service (graduates from the National Fire Academy Executive Fire Office program) versus Pre-Service
Both experienced and non-experienced students can enroll in this program. Those who do not have previous fire experience will be required to take an extra nine credits.
Since its founding in 1932, Lewis University has undergone a lot of changes to make it the nationally-recognized private institution that it is today. Named after a Chicago philanthropist named Frank J. Lewis, the university is proud of its Catholic and Lasallian heritage that still remains prominent on campus today. Students are encouraged to get a well-rounded education through its liberal arts programs as well as develop their spirituality. Through Lewis’s online Master’s programs, students will get the same quality education through their own computers at home.
Future safety professionals who wish to gain an in-depth understanding of public safety can enroll in Lewis’s online MS in Public Safety Administration degree.
- 36 credit-hours
- Notable public safety alumni
- Sample Courses: Public Safety Training – Management and Development, Labor Relations in the Public Sector, Multicultural Diversity
U.S. News & World Report has ranked Lewis among the top 25 best Regional Universities in the Midwest.
Grand Canyon University is a private Christian university that is located in Prescott, Arizona. It has its roots beginning in 1949 when it was established with the help of the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention. Today, the university has grown to over 19,000 students with 47 percent of the student population being enrolled at the graduate level. Through its online Leadership degree, students will not only develop the necessary skills needed in their field but also grow spiritually in their faith.
The MS in Leadership with an Emphasis in Homeland Security and Emergency Management degree offered online at GCU follows issues such as crisis management and ethical leadership skills.
- Estimated Completion Time: 17 months
- Ability to transfer up to 1/3 credits of the program
- Sample Courses: Law and Legal Issues, Leadership Styles and Development, Economics and Human Issues
GCU offers several scholarships for qualifying students. In addition, there are specific state grants that may help finance one’s education.
At Herzing University, students will have access to career-centered programs throughout its 10 campuses and online. The university was founded in 1965 by Henry and Suzanne Herzing and started as a small computer training institution. Over the years it has added different programs and eventually achieved university status in 2009. Herzing’s extensive online program boasts one-on-one mentorship, career development, and flexibility. Students are able to earn their degree without sacrificing their current career.
Students enrolled in Herzing’s MBA in Public Safety Leadership degree will learn business leadership practices within the public safety institutional setting.
- 39 credit-hours
- Capstone project or internship
- Sample Courses: Technology and Innovation, Managerial Foundations, Human Resource Management
Certain coursework can be waived for eligible students who may have completed equivalent coursework in the past.
Anna Maria College is a Catholic liberal arts school with more than 150 years of history. It was founded by the Sisters of Saint Anne with the goal of creating higher education that was accessible to women. Today Anna Maria is a co-educational school that offers both undergraduate and graduate studies on-campus and online. It is known for its affordable, small-school education. It has been ranked as a Best Value College in the state as well as a 2017-2018 College of Distinction.
Anna Maria’s online Master’s degree in Public Administration with a concentration in Emergency Management is the perfect program for the growing demand in emergency management careers.
- No GRE required
- Ability to transfer up to six credit-hours
- Capstone project or research
The MPA program offers a mid-career track for those with at least four years of related work experience. These students can complete their degree in as little as ten courses rather than 12.
Located in the bustling state of New York, Pace University is where opportunities are found. Students enrolled at Pace have the benefits of a liberal arts education while surrounded in a metropolitan area. Although online, students have access to all the resources they need to thrive in their studies and future career.
Those interested in a career in security should look into Pace’s MA in Management for Public Safety and Homeland Security Professionals.
- Partnership with the Center for Homeland Defense and Security
- No GRE required
- Completion time of two years
Faculty who teach this program are experienced professionals who have worked for notable institutions such as Federal Bureau of Investigation and local state governments.