Careers in Public Safety Administration: Job Options and Requirements

Sep 19, 2019

Public safety administration programs may prepare students for roles in emergency management, law enforcement or health services management. Continue reading for an overview of potential majors as well as career and salary statistics related to some career options for graduates.

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.

Essential Information

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 (2018-2028)* 18% 5% 5% 7%
Median Annual Salary (May, 2018)* $99,730 $74,420 $61,380 (Police & Sheriff's Patrol Officers) $34,320

Source: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

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 18% between 2018 and 2028. The median annual salary for these professionals was $99,730 as of May 2018.

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 5% from 2018 through 2028. In May of 2018, the median annual salary for emergency medical directors was $74,420.

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 5% during the decade spanning 2018 and 2028. Police and sheriff's patrol officers earned median annual salaries of $61,380 in May 2018.

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 7% from 2018 through 2028. The median annual salary for emergency medical technicians and paramedics was $34,320 as of May 2018.

Requirements for Public Safety Administration Careers

Educational Requirements

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.

Additional Requirements

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.

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