Those who have worked in public safety for years know the benefits of having a career where you can make a direct impact in the lives of others.
Public safety administration is the study of disaster relief, response, preparedness, and recovery. The people you call in an emergency, such as police officers or firefighters, are often the first careers you may think of when you think of public safety. Public safety is not just made up of the men and women you see on the streets in uniform, but also consist of the behind-the-scenes careers that are working on prevention.
A career in Public safety administration may be an ideal career if you wish to develop new strategies for protecting your community.
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What kind of Public Safety Administration degree should you get?
The most common degree at the undergraduate level is the bachelor of science in public safety administration. Some programs will allow students to specialize in a particular type of public safety (for example, fire safety). However, most of the time the program will consist of a wide variety of classes.
A very similar degree related to public safety is criminal justice. Some schools combine the two degrees or have the option of taking additional courses in criminal justice for credit. Although both fields focus on public service, criminal justice is more related to the systems that work to analyze patterns and prevent crime.
Click here for a list of College Choice’s 35 best online criminal justice degrees.
How much money do people make with a degree in public safety administration?
According to PayScale, the median salary for someone with a BS in Public Safety Administration is $61,365. Within the field, medical and health services managers made the most money, with the median salary as of May 2015 being $94,500. Emergency management directors made $67,330, while law enforcement officers such as police or detectives made $58,320.
What can you do with a degree in public safety administration?
An undergraduate degree in this field prepares graduates for entry-level positions in public safety agencies. This can include federal government bureaus, police departments, fire departments, or wildlife protection agencies. In general, once graduates determine the specific area they would like to work in, they may study for any certificates necessary to perform their job.
Other careers within public safety are correctional officers, health educators, counselors, or security guards. Because the curriculum is very broad, students may wish to pursue a master’s in public safety administration after working a few years to gain upper management positions.
What are the requirements for a degree in public safety administration?
Students who wish to apply for this degree should have a high school diploma with a GPA of at least 2.5 on a 4.0 scale. Standardized test scores and any advanced placement test scores should also be submitted. No specific classes are required for this major.
Coursework in public safety administration will include science classes such as environmental science, biology, chemistry, or health. Interdisciplinary courses will also have a business component so students can understand the behind-the-scenes of the field. Sometimes these courses can consist of management, economics, or finance.
What are the best public safety administration degrees?
Below is College Choice’s pick for the 5 best public safety administration degrees. We chose these schools based on overall institutional excellence and return on investment. We pulled data from a variety of sources such as the National Center for Education Statistics’ IPEDS database, PayScale, individual college websites, and the U.S. News & World Report.
We measured institutional excellence based on a variety of factors including graduation rate, endowment size, and student-to-faculty ratio. Return on investment was measured based on expected early career salary, financial aid, and tuition costs.
See our rankings methodology page.
Florida Atlantic University
Florida Atlantic University was opened in 1964. Founded with the goal of creating a new breed of higher education, the university quickly expanded into new areas. Today, FAU offers over 170 degree programs and is the most diverse institution in the Florida State University System.
In FAU’s Bachelor of Public Safety Administration degree, students can specialize in either law enforcement or disaster management.
- 60 major credit-hours
- Online or on-campus
- Sample Courses: Administrative Process and Ethics, Crime Analysis, Multiagency Incident Command
In total, FAU contributes a total economic impact of $6.3 billion annually to the state, making it truly an influential school. Those who specialize in disaster management can participate in a government internship for credit.
Florida State University is an elite public research university and the largest and oldest institution in the state system. Its Public Safety Administration degree program is offered through its Panama City campus. FSU Panama City is home to innovative thinkers who support North Florida’s local business and economic activities.
FSU’s Public Safety and Security degree integrates the field of law enforcement in order to develop the skills necessary to make society safer.
- Three Degrees: Crime Scene Investigation, Law Enforcement Intelligence, and Law Enforcement Operations
- Ability to participate in the Florida Law Enforcement Academy Basic Recruit Training Program
- Capstone internship
With the school’s commitment to provide students with the most opportunities possible, about 75 percent of FSU Panama City students receive financial aid, with a total of $200,000 in scholarships awarded yearly. Past internship locations included the Florida Department of Corrections or the Department of Juvenile Justice.
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Keiser University was founded in 1977 by Dr. Arthur and Evelyn Keiser. This institution caters to adult learners seeking a career-focused education, with over 100 different degree programs to choose from. In addition to offering programs throughout its many campuses, Keiser also has partnerships abroad in locations such as Nicaragua and China. In 2014, the U.S. News & World Report ranked this university as the #1 school in Florida for veterans.
A BS in Public Safety Administration from Keiser will provide students with a comprehensive curriculum in public policy issue management.
- 120 credit-hours
- Available on multiple campuses
- Sample Courses: Conflict Resolution, Business Ethics, Urban Government Social Policy
Graduates of this program will be able to be employed in fire departments, emergency medical services, or other government bureaus.
Cleveland State University
Cleveland State University was founded in 1964 by the Ohio General Assembly. Located in the heart of downtown, students have access to more than 250 partnerships with local businesses and government agencies. Currently more than 17,000 are enrolled throughout the university’s eight colleges. Students can be found exploring the city, engaging in meaningful research, or being active in on-campus organizations.
CSU’s BA in Public Safety Management specifically focuses on fire & emergency services administration and management.
- Internship opportunities
- Small seminar research groups
- Sample Courses: Principles of Public Relations, Personnel Management for the Fire & Emergency Services
Those who have substantial prior learning experience can apply for the Assessment and Accreditation of Prior Learning Experience program to get ahead.
Grand Canyon University is a private Christian university located in Phoenix. GCU began more than 65 years ago thanks to the Southern Baptist Church who wished to create an institution of higher education that integrated faith and academia. Today GCU continues its faith tradition of allowing students to learn more about their higher purpose while studying an area that they are passionate about.
Students who graduate from GCU’s BS in Public Safety and Emergency Management can take on the various fields in public safety.
- Online or on-campus
- Completion Time: as little as 48 months
- Various scholarships available
Because this program is offered through the Colangelo College of Business, students get to know the business side of the field as well as direct industry knowledge.