Bachelor of Science (BS): Private Security Degree Overview

Nov 05, 2019

Bachelor's degree programs in private security are uncommon so students typically earn a Bachelor of Science in Public Safety instead. This degree covers courses such as organizational behavior, homeland security, and emergency management planning.

Essential Information

Education relating to private security may be part of a degree program in criminal justice or safety, security and emergency services management. These programs train students to identify potential security risks, assess threat levels, implement security policies and lead people out of danger. Students learn to follow crisis protocols, conduct surveillance and handle intruders. Background checks, security technology, law enforcement and legal issues related to the security industry could also be addressed. Programs could prepare graduates to pursue required licensure and voluntary certification in this field.


Bachelor of Science in Public Safety

To enter a bachelor's program in public safety, a high school diploma or equivalent and college entrance exam scores are required. Most programs cover a range of topics related to public safety, government security, crisis prevention, emergency services and policing strategies. Coursework may include:

  • Organizational behavior
  • Security ethics and leadership
  • Emergency management planning
  • Security operations theory
  • Homeland security
  • Safety and security law and management

Possible Career Options

Graduates may pursue employment in the private security industry, which usually involves working for private corporations or individuals, instead of government agencies. Possible job titles may include:

  • Private detective
  • Legal investigator
  • Hotel detective

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Private detectives and investigators earned an annual average salary of $56,810 in 2018, according to the BLS. Those working in electric power generation and transmission, computer systems design, scheduled air transportation, and scientific research and development earned significantly higher wages at that time. Jobs for these detectives and investigators were predicted by the BLS to expand at an above average rate, with 8% growth from 2018-2028.

Continuing Education Information

Professionals may need to earn a graduate degree or other training to work for private security within certain industries. For example, investment firms may prefer applicants who hold degrees related to business administration or finance, and not just private security.

Licensure may be required for some private security careers, including private detectives and some types of investigators. License requirements will vary by state, but usually includes meeting educational requirements, passing criminal background checks and passing licensing exams.

Certification is not required, although it may help individuals become more marketable. Several trade organizations offer certification programs. ASIS International offers the certified protection professional (CPP), the physical security professional (PSP) and the professional certified investigator (PCI) designations. Certification requirements include passing written or practical exams, with re-certification needed every few years through approved coursework or trade seminars.

Students can earn a Bachelor of Science in Public Safety to pursue positions such as private detective, and hotel detective. It is important that students are aware of licensing requirements in their own state as this may be a requirement for a security career.

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