Online Master’s in Public Safety 2021

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Public safety experts play a crucial role in maintaining security and order at the local, national and international levels. A master’s in public safety deepens students’ knowledge and awareness of current and emerging threats to national security.

Graduates of a public safety master’s program can pursue emergency management director positions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that this position will grow 4% through 2029.

This guide ranks the best online master’s in public safety programs. It also covers important information for prospective students, such as common courses and certifications.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Public Safety

  • Q. What can you do with a degree in public safety?

    Graduates with a master’s in public safety can pursue leadership positions in the field, such as emergency management director. They can also move onto doctoral programs.

  • Q. What is the highest-paying job in public safety?

    Public safety practitioners occupying chief executive positions can earn six-figure salaries.

  • Q. What are careers in public safety?

    A public safety master’s degree can lead to jobs in emergency management, corrections, or disaster recovery. Graduates can also pursue roles with federal government agencies, such as the FBI, ICE, or the DEA.

Why Get a Degree in Public Safety?

Public safety professionals help identify and mitigate threats. Graduates with a master’s in public safety can pursue leadership positions in the field, many of which offer strong salary potential and opportunities for advancement.

Many colleges and universities now offer online degrees in public safety. Online programs often give students the flexibility to balance their studies with personal and professional obligations. Many schools also offer tuition discounts to online students.

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How Much Does a Public Safety Degree Cost?

The cost of a master’s in public safety degree program varies by factors like school type, enrollment status, and delivery format. Graduate students at in-state public institutions during the 2018-2019 school year paid an average of $12,171 in tuition and fees, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics. Enrollees at private universities paid $27,776, on average, during the same period.

At the master’s level, many universities support enrollees with fellowship and grant opportunities. Institutions usually give online and on-campus students equal access to these financial assistance programs.

Students can often save money by pursuing a master’s in public safety online. For instance, online students often save on some of the expenses that on-campus students incur, such as commuting costs. Many schools also offer tuition discounts to online students. Additionally, online learning often gives students the flexibility to continue working while pursuing their degree.

Additional Online Student Fees for Public Safety

Schools may require online students to pay technology fees, which are typically assessed as a flat fee each enrollment period or on a per-credit basis. These fees may significantly affect the overall cost of a degree, so online enrollees should research whether prospective schools require this fee.

An online master’s in public safety may also feature on-campus requirements, such as orientation sessions and thesis presentations. Students should consider the costs associated with traveling to campus to fulfill these requirements when budgeting for their degree program.

How Much Do Public Safety Majors Make?

Salaries vary by factors like role, location, and industry. A public safety master’s degree qualifies graduates for administrative positions in emergency management. The BLS reports a 2020 median salary of $76,250 for professionals in this arena. Organizations that typically pay emergency management professionals the highest salaries include the federal executive branch, followed by architectural and engineering firms and scientific research and development companies.

Location also affects salary. For instance, emergency management directors in Washington, D.C., California, Washington, and New Jersey typically make higher salaries than directors in other states.

Public safety professionals who focus on cybercrimes can pursue information security analyst positions and forensic science technician roles. Information security analysts make a median annual salary of $103,590, while forensic science technicians make a median salary of $60,590.

Courses in Public Safety

A master’s in public safety typically comprises 30-40 credits and takes two years of full-time work to complete. Learners study topics like public policy and ethics, administrative law, and homeland security. Degree candidates may also complete an internship as part of the curriculum. Students often culminate the program with a thesis, a capstone research project, and/or a comprehensive exam.

Courses vary by program, but the following list outlines several courses commonly found in master’s in public safety programs.

  • Contemporary Issues in Law Enforcement and Public Safety

    This course examines policy changes and emerging issues in public safety and law enforcement. Students explore topics such as correctional realignment, bail reform, and drug policy changes. They also learn about recent advances in technology, such as facial recognition unmanned aerial vehicles.

  • Conflict Resolution and Decision Making

    In this course, students learn how to resolve conflicts between groups and individuals. The course presents contentious issues in public safety and law enforcement for students to analyze. Students learn how to balance professional and personal integrity with human dignity when crafting positive resolutions.

  • Data Fluency and Analysis

    This course examines crime data and statistics. Enrollees learn how to interpret data-driven reports to generate support for evidence-based initiatives and justify resource allocation decisions. Students also learn how to present relevant evidence, accurate information, and crime data to stakeholders.

How to Become an Emergency Management Director

Emergency management directors typically need at least a bachelor’s degree in emergency management, public health, or a related field. However, a master’s degree gives these professionals a competitive edge in the job market. Emergency management directors also benefit from a background in the military, fire safety, law enforcement, or another other closely related field.

Certifications and Licensure for Public Safety

Public safety positions do not typically require licensure or certification. However, public safety professionals can pursue optional certifications to demonstrate their expertise and advance their careers. The following list outlines several common certifications for public safety professionals.

Certified Business Continuity Professional

Administered by the Disaster Recovery Institute International, this credential recognizes expertise in business continuity and disaster recovery. Candidates must hold at least two years of relevant experience and pass a qualifying exam.

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Certified Emergency Manager

The International Association of Emergency Managers administers this credential. Candidates need at least a bachelor’s degree and three years of full-time professional experience in emergency or disaster management. They must also pass an exam to earn the credential.

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Certified Public Safety Executive

Supervisors and administrators of public safety communications organizations qualify for this credential. Candidates must complete the Registered Public-Safety Leader Program. The program comprises two 12-week online courses and a 10-day onsite capstone course in Florida.

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Online Master’s in Public Safety Programs 2021

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