Earning your masters in public safety administration online could provide you with the advanced knowledge and skill sets needed to manage public safety agencies at the local, state, and federal levels.
These public safety agencies could include police departments, fire departments, and similar services.
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Masters degree programs in public safety administration are often open to learners who are new to the field. Those who already work in the field may also pursue a masters to advance their careers.
Masters in Public Safety Administration Online Programs
The study of public safety management can teach you how to protect the health and well-being of the public. You can learn about preventing dangerous situations from arising whenever possible as well as how to provide assistance to the public when such situations cannot be prevented.
Here are some subjects that you will likely study, either as core courses or as electives, while earning your master’s degree in public safety administration:
- Public policy
- Homeland Security
A graduate program in this major may also have internship opportunities available. Internships can enable you to get real-world experience working with experienced public safety administrators. Graduates of public safety administration degree programs tend to work in law enforcement, corporate or public security, corrections, emergency services, public health, and related fields.
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Public safety administrators often work behind the scenes, coordinating first responders and other workers and ensuring that organizations run efficiently. They can also help plan budgets and policies and ensure that their organizations have the necessary equipment and supplies to do their jobs.
Many public safety administration students already have experience working in public safety as first responders and want to move into managerial or administrative roles. This graduate degree could also be valuable for someone working in a different field who is hoping to change career paths completely.
Common Public Safety Administration Master’s Concentrations
Some universities allow you to choose a degree concentration to tailor your education to your personal career goals and interests.
Here are some common concentrations that you can study in a master’s degree program for this major:
- Homeland Security. In this concentration, your studies will focus on preventing and responding to terrorist threats.
- Nonprofit Management. In this concentration, you’ll learn about the administration and operations of nonprofit organizations devoted to public health and safety.
- Public Management. In this concentration, you’ll study the structures and policies of public agencies and explore how to run them efficiently.
- Global Disaster Management. In this concentration, you’ll learn about what types of natural disasters are common in different parts of the world and how organizations can respond to them.
- Humanitarian Relief. In this concentration, you’ll study the logistics of how to provide emergency and crisis assistance in developing countries.
Every school can vary when it comes to what concentrations they offer for their public safety administration masters.
Public Safety Administration Careers & Salaries
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are some different types of related careers, along with their median annual salaries.
|Careers||Annual Median Salaries|
|Medical and Health Services Managers||$101,340|
|General and Operations Managers||$97,970|
|Emergency Management Directors—Hospitals||$94,310|
|First-Line Supervisors of Firefighting and Prevention Workers||$78,230|
|Emergency Management Directors—Local Government||$75,670|
|Social and Community Service Managers||$74,000|
|Emergency Management Directors—State Government
|Police and Detectives||$66,020|
|First-Line Supervisors of Correctional Officers||$62,220|
Most public safety administration careers are in management, healthcare, and community and social service.
Public Safety Administration Masters Curriculum & Courses
Here are some examples of the core courses you might take while earning your master’s degree in public safety administration:
- Public Safety Administration and Management: This course will provide you with an overview of the field as a whole. You may study such topics as, human resources, public safety law, basic emergency response, and other leadership skills related to the profession.
- Emergency Management: In this course, you’ll study how to prepare for and respond to emergency situations, especially those affecting the general public.
- Administrative Law: In this course, you’ll study various state and federal laws regarding the operations of public safety agencies.
- Homeland Security: In this course, you’ll study potential threats to the security of the nation, and you’ll learn how organizations work to mitigate these threats and prepare for potential terrorist attacks.
- Public Policy and Ethics: In this course, you’ll learn to analyze the effects and consequences of different public policies.
- Public Finance and Budgeting: In this course, you’ll study how public agencies allocate funds.
- Nonprofit Finance and Management: In this course, you’ll learn about how to run a nonprofit organization.
- Managerial Statistics: In this course, you’ll learn how to apply statistical analysis of data in management.
- Effective Writing for Public Affairs: In this course, you’ll study formal writing skills and learn how to use them in the context of working for a public agency.
- Negotiation Skills: In this course, you’ll learn strategies for reaching compromises with other people in leadership positions.
Exact course titles and requirements can vary at different universities. Some schools have additional requirements, such as the completion of an internship or a thesis.
How to Choose an Online Master of Public Safety Administration Program
There are many things to consider when trying to decide where you want to earn your degree. Here are some factors you may want to take into account:
- Scheduling flexibility. Some online degree programs have set class meeting times, while others allow you to complete your lessons according to your own schedule. Of those that use set meeting times, some may have classes during weekends or evenings to accommodate working adults.
- Reputation. You may want to attend a school that has been recommended to you by other people.
- Admission requirements. Before deciding to apply, it can be helpful to review a school’s basic admissions requirements to make sure you meet them.
- Affordability. You may want to compare the cost of tuition and other fees at different schools before deciding where to apply. It can also be beneficial to review the financial aid options available at each school.
There are many different Master of Public Safety Administration programs available online, so you can search for the program that best suits your needs and preferences.
Here are some common admissions requirements for master’s degree programs in public safety administration:
- Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
- Professional experience in public safety or a related field
- Minimum undergrad GPA of 2.75, on average
- Official transcripts from undergraduate studies
- Letters of recommendation from instructors or employers
A growing number of schools are no longer requiring GRE or GMAT scores, but some do still ask for them. In some cases, these scores are optional but recommended for those with low GPAs.
A college or university can be awarded regional accreditation if it’s reviewed by an outside regional accrediting agency and found to meet certain quality standards. Regionally accredited schools typically provide information about their accreditation on their websites.
Attending an accredited school can help ensure that you receive a quality education, and it can also be a qualification for some forms of financial aid. Your course credits also have a higher chance of being transferable if they are accredited.
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To learn more about regional accreditation, you can visit the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
Public Safety Administration Licensure and Certifications
Some public safety personnel choose to pursue various types of professional certifications in addition to their degrees. Some common certifications include Certified Emergency Manager, Certified Public-Safety Executive, and Certified Public Manager.
You can become a Certified Emergency Manager through the Association of Emergency Managers. The application process includes passing a multiple choice exam and an essay. You can become a Certified Public-Safety Executive by completing a series of core courses through the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials.
Becoming a Certified Public Manager requires completing a variety of learning activities and a capstone project as well as passing an exam. This certification is earned through the National Certified Public Manager Consortium. While not typically required, holding a professional certification can demonstrate your qualifications and specializations to potential clients or employers.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
There are many scholarship and financial aid opportunities available for qualifying graduate students in this field.
You may be able to qualify for state aid, federal aid, or even an employer program. Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can help you determine your eligibility for government aid. You can also check your university’s website to find out what scholarship opportunities they have available and how to apply for them. Scholarships are often offered by public and private organizations as well.
Public Safety Professional Organizations
Being a member of a professional organization can provide you with opportunities for networking. Professional organizations also tend to offer resources for continuing your education and staying up-to-date on the latest research.
Here are some professional organizations for public safety personnel:
- APCO International
- International Association for Disaster Preparedness and Response (DERA)
- International Public Safety Association (IPSA)
Joining a professional organization may prove beneficial as you further your education and career in this field.
What Is Public Safety Leadership?
Public safety leadership is the management of organizations that provide protection and emergency assistance to their communities.
In an academic context, public safety administration is the study of the knowledge and leadership skills needed to prepare you for a management or administrative role in one of these organizations. Necessary skills include assessing potential hazards, developing contingency plans, communicating clearly with others, and responding quickly in emergencies.
Public safety leaders can provide direction in organizations such as police and fire departments, hospitals, and emergency call centers, among others.
What Can You Do with a Public Safety Administration Master’s Degree?
Common job titles for public safety personnel include medical and health services manager, social and community services manager, and emergency management director.
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Many public safety professionals work behind-the-scenes, coordinating the work of law enforcement officials, healthcare workers, or first responders. These administrative roles involve performing tasks like budgeting and planning strategies for solving problems.
What Do Public Safety Administrators Do?
Public safety administrators can have many duties. They provide leadership and can develop policies that keep their public safety organizations operating smoothly.
There are four parts to planning public safety: prevention, preparation, response, and recovery. Public safety administrators think through all of these aspects in order to effectively do their jobs. Some public safety administrators also play a role in the development of educational programs, including further training for staff members as well as programs and resources for the public.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Master’s in Public Safety Administration Online?
A typical online master’s degree program takes 1 to 2 years to complete. Most programs have requirements for core courses plus electives. If you are enrolled in classes full-time and take classes during the summer, a 36 credit hour program can usually be completed in just 1 year.
You may need more time to finish if you choose a degree program that requires a thesis. Attending part-time can also add some additional time to completion. Online degree programs often provide a lot of scheduling flexibility, so you may have the opportunity to work at the pace that best suits you.
What’s the Difference Between a Masters in Public Safety Administration vs. Public Administration?
Here are some differences between the fields of public safety administration and public administration.
- Public administration: This field of study focuses on policymaking. It is a broader and more general field of study than public safety administration.
- Public safety administration: This field of study focuses on management and policymaking for public safety agencies. Public safety administration studies also cover how to respond to various types of crises and health hazards that could affect the public.
Both of these fields focus on serving the public, so they do overlap in that regard.
Is a Public Safety Administration Master’s Degree Worth It?
Yes, a public safety administration master’s degree is worth it for many professionals. Earning a graduate degree could help you advance your qualifications and expertise in this field, especially if you already work in public safety.
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The Bureau of Labor Statistics currently projects that employment of medical and health services managers will grow 32% over the next ten years. Emergency management directors are expected to experience 6% job growth, and social and community service managers are projected to see 15% job growth in the same time period (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Universities Offering Online Masters in Public Safety Administration Degree Programs
Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.
Arizona State University offers an online program for a Master of Public Administration. To graduate, students must complete 11 classes that are each 7.5 weeks long. To be eligible for the program, applicants must submit an online application with official transcripts, a letter of intent, 2 letters of recommendation, and a resume.
ASU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Charleston Southern University offers a Master of Science in Public Safety Management. Students may decide to take the thesis or non-thesis course.
To be eligible for the program, applicants must complete an online application. Along with the application, they must submit official transcripts from all the schools they’ve attended, a resume, 2 letters of recommendation, and official GRE or MAT test scores.
Charleston Southern University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Corban University offers a Master of Public Safety Administration. The program can be completed online, and classes are 8 weeks long. To graduate, students must complete 30 credit hours. Applicants must a bachelor’s degree with either a minimum GPA of 3.0 or a letter of recommendation from an employer and 2 years of experience in the field.
Corban University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Drury University offers a Master in Public Service and Safety Leadership. Students must complete 30 credit hours to graduate. To be eligible for the program, applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 or higher and need to submit undergraduate transcripts, a personal statement, and 2 references.
Drury University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Southern Illinois University offers a Master of Science in Public Safety and Homeland Security Administration. To graduate, students must complete 30 credit hours. Those interested in the program must have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher. Applicants can submit an application through the school’s website.
SIU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Southern New Hampshire University offers a Master’s in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Public Safety Administration. Students must complete 36 credit hours to graduate. Those interested in the program may apply through the school’s website at any time. To be eligible for the program, applicants must have a GPA of 2.75 or higher.
Southern New Hampshire University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
St. Cloud State University offers a Master of Science in Public Safety Executive Leadership. To graduate, students must complete 36 credit hours within 4 years. Those interested in the program must submit transcripts, GRE or GMAT test scores, a statement of intent, a resume, and a writing sample.
Cloud State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Tennessee Technological University offers a Master of Professional Studies with a concentration in Public Safety. To graduate, students must complete 30 credit hours. Applicants must have an undergraduate GPA of 2.5 and either acceptable GRE test scores or a portfolio exhibiting proof of 5 years of professional experience.
Tennessee Technological University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of Virginia offers a Master of Public Safety. To graduate, students must complete 30 credit hours. Each class can be taken online and is 8 weeks long. Those interested in the program can apply online through the school’s website. Applicants must submit official transcripts and recommendations when applying.
The University of Virginia is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Western Illinois University offers a Master of Arts degree in Public Safety Administration. Students may choose whether to complete a thesis or not. To graduate, 33 credit hours must be completed. Applicants must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher and submit official transcripts, a resume, and a goal statement.
Western Illinois University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Getting Your Masters Degree in Public Safety Administration Online
Earning a master’s degree in public safety administration can equip you to serve your community and protect the public.
If you decide to take this next step in your education, you’ll have many program options to choose from, including online public safety degree programs designed for working professionals. Online programs can enable you to earn your degree while maintaining a balance between your education and other work and life responsibilities.
If you’re ready to advance your expertise with a masters in public safety administration, you can take the first step by exploring accredited universities today!