On September 11, 2001, our country experienced the worst outside terrorist attack in its history. The tragedy that still affects many of us today was on the cover of almost every major news outlet around the world. Ever since that horrible day, our country has drastically changed the way we view public safety. A degree in Public Safety Administration prepares students for roles in emergency management, criminal justice, or health services management.
An undergraduate degree in Public Safety Administration will give students a firsthand look into what the field is all about. What systems are in place to prevent such atrocities? How should we respond to tragic events? As undergraduates, students will be exposed to a variety of fields within the vast realm of public safety, and even get the opportunity to specialize or do internships in a particular area of interest.
What type of degree in Public Safety Administration should you get?
The most common degree for this major is a Bachelor of Science. In some programs, you will either get the chance to or be required to declare a specialization, such as Criminal Justice. A degree with a specialization will allow you to take general major courses and electives in that specific area. Choosing a program with a specialization may be ideal for those who already know which field they want to go in to after graduation, or for people who are planning on getting their Master’s later.
An online degree may be preferable for already working professionals or for students who are heavily dedicated to an outside activity. Online courses offer flexible schedules where students either can complete coursework and tests on their own time by a certain deadline, and/or only meet a few times a week in the evening. In addition, online degrees may be more affordable too, with plenty of scholarships and financial aid opportunities available.
Interested in online education? Click here to see College Choice’s ranking of the Best Online Colleges and Universities.
How much money do people make with an online Public Safety Administration degree?
According to PayScale, the average salary for someone who holds a BS in Public Safety is $59,053. Master of Science degree holders earn a bit more, averaging at $64,606. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for emergency management directors is expected to increase six percent between the years 2014 to 2024.
Common median salaries for this field include, but are not limited to: $64,000 for emergency management directors, $93,000 for all medical and health services managers, and $101,000 for police chiefs. It should be noted that experience and performance is probably the most important factor determining salary, among other things such as location. Although some of these advanced positions mentioned earlier may prefer someone with a Master’s or other advanced degree, work experience is a high impactor.
What can you do with an online Public Safety Administration degree?
This degree prepares graduates for careers at the local, state, or national level that deal with ensuring the safety of the public. These jobs work with education and prevention, direct response, and the aftermath effects of disaster. Popular sectors include homeland security, police or fire department, health services, or private security.
Because many of these jobs require additional licensure or certifications, an online degree in Public Safety Administration will usually lead students in the right path for completing those requirements either during or right after graduation. Students should not worry that an online degree will hold them back from potential jobs rather than obtaining an on-campus degree; in fact, “online” will never be present on the diploma.
What are the requirements for an online Public Safety Administration degree?
Students should submit their transcripts, SAT or ACT scores, letters of recommendations, and any supplemental documents or essays if required. Although most programs do not outline a specific GPA they are looking for, many schools do have a minimum GPA of 2.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale. Students may also want to pursue related electives or advanced courses during high school, such as government or biology.
What are the best online Public Safety Administration degrees?
College Choice has ranked the 10 Best Online Degrees in Public Safety Administration. These schools were ranked based on overall excellence and student success. Our data comes from the National Center for Education Statistics’ IPEDS database, PayScale, the U.S. News & World Report, and individual college websites. We looked at factors such as tuition costs, financial aid given, reputation, graduation rate, and average student indebtedness.
See our rankings methodology page.
Florida Atlantic University
College Choice Score: 100
Average Net Price: $10,100
Florida Atlantic University was established in 1961, with its beautiful campus located halfway between Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale. The campus was opened by Lyndon B. Johnson, the nation’s 36th president. The university was founded with the goal of being part of the “new revolution in education,” where all people could get an education. Since then, FAU is a diverse institution that is known for its excellent teaching, including in its many online programs. FAU Online offers fully-supported student learning at an affordable price.
FAU’s online Bachelor’s of Public Safety Administration degree is for those who want to truly make an impact on others’ lives in their careers.
- Specialization in Law Enforcement/Corrections available
- Military-friendly program
- Sample Courses: Administrative Process and Ethics, Crime Analysis, White Collar Crime
Some sample careers upon graduation include a corrections officer, probation and parole officer, or a public safety director.
St. Petersburg College
College Choice Score: 92.41
Average Net Price: $7,077
St. Petersburg College is a state institution that is located in Florida. Over 65,000 students are enrolled annually in its many on-campus and online degrees. SPC was originally founded as a private junior college in 1927, but expanded to offer four-year degrees. Today the college has 11 different campuses across the state. All of SPC’s online programs are designed to fit the needs of the working individual, especially those who have just come from a community college.
SPC’s online Bachelor’s degree in Public Safety Administration is ideal for those who already possess an Associate’s degree or certificate.
- Eight-week courses
- Previous academic credit available for related work experience
- Specializations: Criminal Justice, Emergency Management and Homeland Security, Fire Science, and Cross Discipline
This program has a board of advisors that routinely change the degree coursework in order to meet industry standards and needs.
College Choice Score: 92.30
Average Net Price: $26,730
Keiser University was founded in 1977 by Dr. Arthur and Evelyn Keiser who wanted to create a career-centered university for adult learners. It is currently the third largest, not-for-profit university in the nation. Keiser is also has a huge impact on the state, making an economic impact of over $3 billion annually and providing over 30,000 jobs. In 2014, the U.S. News & World Report ranked Keiser as the #13 best regional college in the South.
Keiser’s online BS in Public Safety Administration degree combines public policy and management courses on a wide variety of issues.
- 60 upper-division credit-hours
- Develop strong writing skills
- Sample Courses: Business Ethics, Intergovernmental Relations, Hazard Mitigation
Graduates will be prepared for careers in places such as police departments, emergency medical service agencies, and fire departments.
Miami Dade College
College Choice Score: 89.23
Average Net Price: $7,062
Miami Dade College was founded in the 1960s during the period of desegregation. Miami Dade began as a community college, but rapidly expanded in enrollment size and in programs to become a four-year school. In 2013, MDC had the largest undergraduate enrollment out of any other institution in the nation. Its campus is diverse and inclusive, serving the Hispanic community more than any other college. MDC also has an impressive transfer and job placement rate
For those who want a workforce-driven degree, an online Bachelor of Applied Science in Public Safety Management at MDC is a good choice.
- 120-credit hours
- Good for those who have an Associate’s degree in a related field
- Sample Specialization Tracks: Criminal Justice, Emergency Management, Security/Loss Prevention
The Criminal Justice track is a good option for those who have the related Associate’s degree. If enrolled full-time, it can be completed in two years.
University of Maryland University College
College Choice Score: 88.76
Average Net Price: $15,256
Founded for adult learners worldwide over 70 years ago, the University of Maryland University College is a completely online state university that offers undergraduate and graduate degrees. An online learning experience at UMUC is very flexible, supportive, and affordable. Most courses meet weekly or biweekly and are taught from experienced professionals. Several of UMUC’s programs have been ranked nationally for its affordability and excellence in teaching.
A BS in Public Safety Administration from UMUC prepares graduates for a career defending citizens from threats and emergencies.
- Ability to join student clubs and organizations
- Interest-free monthly payment plan option
- Sample Courses: Public Safety Planning, Decision Making, Public Safety Leadership
This degree was created to prepare students for organizations such as fire services, homeland security, or corporate security.
Polk State College
College Choice Score: 88.71
Average Net Price: $8,402
Polk State College is located in Polk County, Florida, and was the first public institute of higher education in its area. Established in 1964, the college serves over 20,000 students across its different campuses. The school also operates three charter high schools. Small class sizes, one-on-one counseling, affordability, and online courses are just a few of Polk State’s selling points. Students can be confident that they are getting the education they need for their future careers.
Polk State’s online BAS in Supervision and Management with a concentration in Public Safety Management degree builds upon students theoretical and practical understanding of organizational management.
- Made for those who hold an Associate’s degree
- For-credit internship program
- Sample Courses: Operational Decision Making, Financial Management in the Public Sector, Public Sector Community Relations
Polk State offers the Bachelor Degree Scholarship which is awarded once a year in March. This scholarship usually covers six credits of tuition and fees for each semester.
Florida State College at Jacksonville
College Choice Score: 84.75
Average Net Price: $4,422
Florida State College at Jacksonville was established in 1965 and currently enrolls over 52,000 students. FSCJ offers several campuses located throughout the city, with its main campus located in downtown. The school also offers several online degrees for working professionals. FSCJ’s online Public Safety & Security undergraduate program is taught by experienced faculty that are dedicated to helping students get the experience they need for their future careers.
FSCJ’s online BAS in Public Safety Management prepares students to manage and lead public safety agencies.
- Accelerated Program: 18-24 months completion time
- Fall, spring, and summer terms
- Emphases: Public Safety Management, Criminal Justice, Constitutional Law, Fire Department Administration, and Emergency Planning and Response
Students may be able to earn credit towards their degree from prior learning experiences, industry certifications, and/or work experience.
Grand Canyon University
College Choice Score: 84.44
Average Net Price: $20,912
Grand Canyon University is a private Christian university that is located in Prescott, Arizona. Founded in 1949, the university has always placed a strong emphasis on Christ-centered principles. At GCU, students are encouraged to grow in their faith while pursuing an area of study that they are passionate about. GCU’s career-ready, faith-based education even applies to its many online degrees. Students are able to take online courses on a flexible schedule at a time that works for them.
Earn your BS in Public Safety and Emergency Management online at GCU through the Colangelo College of Business.
- Seven-week courses
- Theoretical and applied learning approach
- Several scholarships available
Forty-nine percent of students who go through this program have completed the program within 48 months.
College Choice Score: 83.57
Average Net Price: $24,779
Franklin University has been serving adult learners for more than 115 years. Although its main campus is located in downtown Columbus, Ohio, students can earn their degree from virtually anywhere with its amazing online programs. Franklin is a globally connected university, with partnerships around the world and within the community. Students will get the experience and attention they deserve. Currently Franklin is ranked the #1 online school in the nation.
Through Franklin’s online BS in Public Safety Management & Leadership, students will learn investigation, prevention, and enforcement principles regarding public safety issues.
- Customizable learning experience
- Ability to transfer up to 24 technical credit-hours
- Specializations: Fire & Emergency Medical Services, Law Enforcement, Individualized Specialization
Current service members receive a tuition discount. In general, Franklin’s undergraduate tuition is 53 percent less than the national average price.
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
College Choice Score: 81.40
Average Net Price: $9,744
Labeled as the “epitome of the modern university,” Indiana University is a prominent research institution with a history of about 200 years. Over 114,000 students are enrolled at IU; its massive size is due to its excellence in teaching and research. Its online Bachelor’s in Public Safety Administration is offered through its Purdue University Indianapolis campus. The U.S. News & World Report recognizes IUPUI for its amazing first-year experience.
Learn how to problem-solve in the public safety field through IU’s online BS in Criminal Justice degree program.
- Public Safety Management minor available
- Honors and accelerated master’s program for qualified students
- Scholarships for highly-talented students
Indianapolis Fire Department Training Academy graduates may be eligible to receive credit for this degree.