Public safety involves the prevention and reaction to any emergency that may threaten individual citizens. Occupations in this field include police officer, EMS personnel and management positions in medical and health services and emergency response. Some of these careers can be started after completion of only a year of postsecondary training, but others may require a college degree.
Public safety administration involves managing public and environmental safety workers, anticipating public safety hazards and working to prevent them. There are a variety of career opportunities in many different industries, including government, public or non-profit organizations at the local, state or federal levels. Typically, a bachelor's degree in public safety is necessary, but some of the careers outlined below require less education.
|Career Titles||Medical & Health Services Managers||Emergency Management Directors||Law Enforcement Officers (Police and Detectives)||Emergency Medical Technicians & Paramedics|
|Education Requirements||Bachelor's or master's degree in public health, public administration, business administration or health services||Bachelor's degree in public administration, fire science or emergency management||Variable; high school diploma and police academy training; candidates might also complete some college coursework or earn a degree||EMTs complete specialized postsecondary training that can take less than one year to two years to complete and may culminate in a certificate; paramedics typically earn an associate's degree in emergency medical technology|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||17%||6%||5%||24%|
|Median Annual Salary (May, 2015)*||$94,500||$67,330||$58,320 (Police & Sheriff's Patrol Officers)||$31,980|
Source: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics
Individuals who possess a degree in public safety administration may be qualified to work as public safety managers, health services managers or emergency management directors. Additionally, public safety administration program graduates can pursue careers as law enforcement officers or emergency medical technicians.
Medical and Health Services Manager
Medical and health service managers supervise the planning and delivery of healthcare services. They develop work schedules and oversee facility finances. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for medical and health services managers were expected to increase at a rate of 17% between 2014 and 2024. The median annual salary for these professionals was $94,500 as of May 2015.
Emergency Management Director
Emergency management directors develop emergency plans and procedures for local or federal disasters, including hurricanes, floods and war- or technology-related situations. The BLS predicted that employment would grow at a rate of 6% from 2014 through 2024. In May of 2015, the median annual salary for emergency medical directors was $67,330.
Law Enforcement Officer
Law enforcement officers work to keep the public safe. They answer emergency calls and investigate crimes. Employment of police and detectives was expected to expand by 4% during the decade spanning 2014 and 2024. Police and sheriff's patrol officers earned median annual salaries of $58,320 in May 2015.
Emergency Medical Technicians
Emergency medical technicians evaluate patients and administer medical care in an ambulance while transporting patients to healthcare facilities. They may bandage wounds or give cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to unconscious patients. The BLS indicated that these jobs would grow at a rate of 24% from 2014 through 2024. The median annual salary for emergency medical technicians and paramedics was $31,980 as of May 2015.
Requirements for Public Safety Administration Careers
Generally, a college degree is required for most administrative jobs, and many colleges and universities offer a bachelor's degree in public safety administration. This degree is extremely beneficial when applying for any public safety job, but it is not necessarily mandatory. Whatever their major, prospective applicants should focus on courses that develop business and problem-solving skills.
For a career in law enforcement, a bachelor's degree is not essential at the state level, but federal agencies do require one. In additional, federal law enforcement agents complete extensive physical training before beginning their jobs.
Emergency medical technicians typically complete a training program that can range from less than a year to two years. A degree is not usually awarded, though some programs may grant a certificate. Paramedics typically complete a relevant associate degree program.
Some careers in public safety administration rely on public election, so candidates should be sure to maintain solid public relationships. For other jobs, such as city manager positions, a master's degree in public administration is recommended. Most organizations also offer on-site training and continuing education opportunities.
As with many medical positions, both EMTs/paramedics and medical and health services managers can expect an extremely favorable job market over the next few years. Job growth expectations for law enforcement officers and emergency management directors will be about average. All these jobs require specialized training.