Online Public Safety Degree Program Options

Learn about online degrees with public safety courses. Get an overview of the program types, requirements and course descriptions available for this field.

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Essential Information

Degrees in public safety are commonly offered online at both the bachelor's and master's levels. Students can access lectures and assignments on their own schedules, within certain time frames. In addition to the online coursework, most bachelor's degree programs include internships. Some bachelor's programs may require an associate's degree in a relevant field to enter the program.

Degree programs in public safety can cover many areas, including public health, homeland security and criminal justice. Bachelor's degree programs usually stress the basics of public safety, with courses ranging from disaster management to gang awareness. Master's degree programs cover many of the same topics, along with an emphasis on management skills. Students in master's programs may take courses in human resource management and organizational behavior, as well as study research methodology.

Bachelor's in Public Safety

In a public safety bachelor's degree program, students learn to identify and control threats to the public. Students study concepts in managing governmental programs designed and methods used to generate funds.

Interested students must have at least a high school diploma or equivalent, though some schools may require an associate's degree. This program includes courses in business, public safety and hazard control. There are several online programs available in public safety and related fields, including criminal justice and homeland security.

Information and Requirements

An online bachelor's degree program in public safety takes between two and five years to complete, depending on whether students are studying full-time or part-time and whether or not they have an associate's degree.

Certain aspects of the program, such as internships, must be completed in-person. Students access pre-recorded and live video lectures, classroom discussions, lecture notes and assignments online.

Students must have a working computer, reliable Internet access and media player software.

Course Topics

These public safety courses can be completed entirely on students' own time, through a flexible schedule that allows students to choose when they access lessons and turn in assignments. Students who haven't completed an associate's degree will be required to complete general education courses.

Hazard Mitigation

Students completing this course analyze the best methods for controlling a hazardous situation. They develop, practice and investigate various disaster management strategies designed to protect the public.

Response Planning for Catastrophic Events

This course trains students in the methods designed to control disastrous situations, such as terrorist attacks, fires or floods. They learn to help others to respond appropriately so chaos doesn't worsen the problem.

Gang Awareness for Public Safety Management

How do gang members communicate? What signs do they use? What areas do they inhabit? How serious are they? This course familiarizes students with all aspects of gang safety and awareness so they know what to look for and who gangs are targeting.


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Master's in Public Safety

Graduate students completing an online program in public safety study concepts in environment and health management designed to help them effectively manage programs designed to protect the public. Students gain skills in planning disaster management strategies, analyzing the likelihood of a disaster and planning ways to protect the people from both natural disasters and terrorism.

To be accepted into the master's program, students must have at least a bachelor's degree. The program includes courses in public preparedness, criminal justice and management. There are a few programs in public safety and related fields, such as criminal justice, homeland security and environmental health, available online.

Information and Requirements

An online master's degree in public safety takes about two years to complete. To complete the program, students can log onto the university's website where all the information for each course is available, including lectures, professor's notes and assignments. Students can interact with classmates and instructors, turn in assignments and complete group projects anywhere they have an Internet connection.

Requirements for the online master's program include reliable Internet access, a working computer and an e-mail address. Students must have Microsoft Office, a color printer, Flash Player, Apple QuickTime and Adobe Acrobat.

Course Topics

Students take courses when their schedule allows, without any professor-specified due dates or class times.

Public Health and Disaster Preparedness

In this course, students examine specific threats to the public and develop plans so that emergency preparedness professionals, first responders and law enforcement officers can prepare for and respond to emergencies.

Psychology of Disaster

Students learn how natural disasters and acts of terrorism affect victims, family members, law enforcement professionals and society in general. They discuss the positive and negative effects of disaster and ways to reduce the negative effects.

Communicating in Disaster

This course covers the various methods for communication that can be used to communicate information regarding disasters to the public so they know how to respond. It also covers techniques emergency professionals can use so everyone is aware of the situation.


Career Information for Graduates

A bachelor's degree in public safety can lead to several career opportunities in the fields of criminal justice and homeland security. For instance, students could find careers as 911 operators, police officers or border patrol agents, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS reports that the anticipated growth for all of these positions is as fast, or a bit slower, than the average anticipated career growth for all occupations between 2014 and 2024. The median annual salary for police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers in 2015 was $38,010, and the median annual salary for police and sheriff's patrol officers was $58,320.

An online master's degree in public safety could lead to a variety of homeland security or criminal justice positions. Some possibilities include immigration officers, criminal investigators, security specialists or emergency management program directors, according to the BLS. As of May 2015, emergency management directors had a median annual salary of $67,330.

Online programs in public safety are available at the bachelor's and master's degree levels. These programs prepare students for careers in a variety of fields, such as fire, police and disaster management.

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