An associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degree can provide a gateway to a career in public safety and security. These workers are usually first responders to emergencies and disasters.
A number of colleges and universities offer degree and training programs in public safety and security. Interested applicants may choose associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degree programs in such majors as public safety, security management or homeland security.
Coursework at the undergraduate level introduces students to foreign and domestic security issues. Bachelor’s and master’s students also receive training in management and operations of safety and security organizations. Graduate students need two or more years work experience and GRE scores to apply to a master’s program.
Associate’s Degree in Homeland Security
Applicants to associate’s degree programs in homeland security should possess a high school diploma or GED and an an interest in criminal justice and public safety. Public safety and security management trains students for sudden emergencies and quick responses to natural disasters. Other areas include border patrol, police intelligence and security management. Students learn to understand the intricacies of physical and social sciences in relationship to criminal and terrorist activities. Most programs include equal amounts of instruction in domestic and international security. Students gain skills for jobs with police forces and other protective services. An associate’s degree program in homeland security includes classes that train students in security measures and criminal justice topics. Classes include:
- Police and society
- Criminal law
- Firearms training
- Powers to arrest
- Homeland security and criminal justice
Bachelor of Science in Safety, Security and Emergency Management
A bachelor’s degree program in safety, security and emergency management focuses on management operations of public safety. Future security officials are taught to recognize computer software used for security measures, proper communication skills, and the personnel management skills. Basic law enforcement methods, patient trauma treatment, and forensic science practices are also included. Courses focus on management principles, public safety, and security measures and ethics. Examples include:
- Introduction to public safety management
- Administrative law
- Principles of security management
- Law enforcement security
- Ethics and leadership in safety, security and emergency management agencies
Master of Professional Studies in Security and Safety Leadership
Students acquire a working knowledge of emergency response units, intelligence agencies, and security issues plaguing their homeland and beyond. These programs employ professionals in this field as instructors, which allows students to learn about their future duties from those with first-hand knowledge. A master’s degree in security and safety leadership gives graduates an advantage in finding employment as a public safety and security official. Class topics are in computer technology, criminal justice, and security. Classes include:
- Police executive management
- Risk analysis
- Methods of analysis in security
- Security and civil liberties
- Critical incident stress management
Popular Career Options
Public safety and homeland security job options are wide and varied. Job positions may include:
- Transportation security officer
- Security officer
- Loss prevention agent
Master’s degree graduates may find employment with several state, federal and local agencies, and they may also find employment with private companies. Some possible career options include:
- Law enforcement supervisor
- Assistant police chief
- Security consultant
Public safety and security job positions are varied and have differing salary predictions. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported a median annual salary of $58,320 for police and sheriff’s patrol officers, $77,210 for detectives and criminal investigators, $46,870 for firefighters and $49,360 for probation officers and correctional treatment specialists as of May 2015.
Public safety and security education programs prepare students for careers as early responders to emergency situations. Jobs are available in policing, corrections, homeland security, and firefighting.