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Get your degree in public safety

In a world where threats, both natural and man-made, may seem to lurk around every corner, public safety professionals are charged with keeping communities safe. They play a key role in preventing both domestic and international terrorist attacks, responding to emergency situations, and coordinating efforts after natural disasters.

Public safety encompasses a broad spectrum of occupations, and individuals working in the field may have training and education in one or more of the following areas:

  • Criminal justice
  • Legal studies
  • Emergency management
  • Homeland security
  • Fire science
  • Public safety administration

For those who want to move into leadership positions in the field, a degree in public safety administration may be the right education choice. Read on to find out more about educational opportunities in this sphere.

Basics of public safety administration degrees

Although similar to public administration degrees, programs in public safety administration offer a more specialized education for those planning to focus their career on safety and response services specifically, rather than government administration in general. However, some schools offer degrees in public administration or degrees in political science with a concentration in public safety. These programs may offer a level of education similar to that of dedicated public safety programs.

Careers in public safety administration

Public safety administrators serve in a variety of capacities and can be found in every level of government. The following are a few of the jobs available to those with the right training and degree:

  • Emergency response manager
  • Homeland security agent
  • Anti-terrorism specialist
  • Public safety director
  • Police or fire chief
  • Corrections department director

Interested in one of these careers? Check out public safety and political science schools near you, and start identifying your next career steps.

Degrees in public safety administration, sometimes called public safety management, typically teach students how to identify and minimize safety threats and respond to crisis situations. The curriculum may include coursework on public policy, risk management and effective communication. Upon graduation, students may be ready to step into leadership roles at the local, state and federal level.

As with other fields of study, public safety administration degrees can be earned either on-campus or online. While some may prefer to learn in a classroom, online colleges offer a convenient way to earn a degree without having to take time off work or miss family activities. In addition, an online degree in public safety administration may reduce costs by eliminating the need to pay for room and board or commuting.

Public safety administrators may get the training they need from one of the following three education options, all of which may be available either online or through traditional campus-based programs.

Bachelor's degree in public safety administration

Although some public safety workers may have only an associate degree, administrators typically need at least a bachelor's degree. These programs, which typically take at least four years to complete, may cover everything from creating a strategic plan to working with other government agencies to solving management problems.

Bachelor's degrees in public safety administration are available both online and on campus through the following institutions.

  • Colorado State University: At Colorado State University, students can select a specialized bachelor's degree in fire and emergency services administration. The online program can be completed in as little as two years, though it will take longer for part-time students, for instance.
  • Florida Atlantic University: The Florida Atlantic University bachelor's degree in public safety administration is available entirely online or on campus. It is appropriate for both current professionals as well as those new to the public safety field.
  • University of Maryland: Available online and on campus as either a major or a minor, degrees in public safety administration at the University of Maryland are taught by industry leaders and include instructors who work with key federal agencies.

Master's degree in public safety administration

Those with a bachelor's degree who want to advance their education and understanding of public safety administration may want to pursue a master's degree in the field. A master's degree in public safety administration may delve into more complex topics related to risk analysis, terrorism, technology and more.

You can earn a master's degree through the following schools among others.

  • Saint Joseph's University: At Saint Joseph's University, graduate students hone their ability to make real-world decisions as they study topics such as public safety management and environmental crime.
  • Lewis University: Offered on campus or as a 100 percent online degree, the Lewis University master of science in public safety administration covers problem-solving skills and budget management among other topics.
  • Saint Mary's University of Minnesota: The Saint Mary's program blends online classes with some on campus coursework at its Twin Cities campus. Required courses cover subjects such as leadership, homeland security, community relations and public sector finance.

Certificates in public safety administration

Most certificates in public safety administration are offered at the graduate level. Many are intended for current public safety professionals who want to enhance their skills and prepare to move into leadership or administrative positions. Although it can vary by school, certificates may be earned in as little as year.

The following are examples of schools offering certificates in public safety administration:

  • Hamline University: Intended for current fire, police and emergency personnel, Hamline University's Public Safety, Fire and EMS Administration Certificate helps professionals gain skills and position themselves for promotion.
  • Charter Oak State College: Charter Oak offers two certificates in public safety administration. One is appropriate for those seeking entry-level positions while the other is geared toward those who already have public safety experience.
  • Fairleigh Dickinson University: The university's Law and Public Safety Administration Certificate is an 18-credit, six course program. The curriculum emphasizes communication and decision-making while also including instruction on trends in human resource management, finance and media strategies.

If you want a job that means more than simply bringing home a paycheck, the field of public safety administration offers the opportunity to perform meaningful work in a fast-paced environment. Administrators are responsible for keeping our families and communities safe, and a degree in public safety administration can be the first step toward a fulfilling career.

Sources:

Why Complete Public Safety Administration Education? Charter Oak State College,
http://www.charteroak.edu/publicsafety/whypsa.cfm

Fire and Emergency Services Administration, Colorado State University,
http://www.online.colostate.edu/degrees/fire-services/

Law and Public Safety Administration Certificate, Fairleigh Dickinson University,
http://view.fdu.edu/default.aspx/default.aspx?id=2675

"Why Major in Public Safety Administration?", Florida Atlantic University,
http://fau.edu/spa/bpsa/

Certificate Offerings, Hamline University,
http://www.hamline.edu/business/cpal/certificates/

Public Safety Management, M.S., Saint Joseph's University,
http://www.sju.edu/majors-programs/graduate-arts-sciences/masters/public-safety-management

M.A. in Public Safety Administration, Saint Mary's University in Minnesota
http://www.smumn.edu/graduate-home/areas-of-study/graduate-school-of-business-technology/ma-in-public-safety-administration

Major in Public Safety Administration, University of Maryland,
http://www.umuc.edu/academic-programs/bachelors-degrees/public-safety-administration-major.cfm

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