What Can You Do with a Public Safety Degree?

It is possible to earn a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or diploma in public safety. However, many people have no idea about the career options that these professional certifications and degrees open up to you. And with the wide variety of options available, it’s important that you do your research and look for a position that fits your interests, aptitudes, and expectations. What can you do with a public safety degree? We’ll list a number of careers that a public safety degree prepares you for and describe what the job entails.

Law Enforcement

Most people equate a public safety degree with law enforcement. It is true that a large number of public safety graduates become police officers, but that’s not the only law enforcement job available to them. For example, you could become a border services officer which will allow you to work for the Canada Border Services agency. Some of your duties will include:

  • Controlling the movement of people moving into and out of the country
  • Detect and seize forbidden substances, flora, and fauna
  • Detain those who are not allowed to enter the country
  • Collect applicable duties and tariffs

Note that mobility is a condition of employment, and you might be assigned to work in rural or remote areas. You’ll be able to work in every territory or province. Also, in order to qualify for border services officer training, you’ll need to have a valid driver’s license, complete both the regular and restricted Canadian firearms course, and have a secondary education or equivalent.

Public Safety Management

Public safety management refers to the administration of public safety and security resources. A bachelor’s degree is the minimum, but a master’s degree is preferred. Note, however, that you could find great public safety courses online and get your masters while you work in a level entry position.

This education allows you to work in administration in fire departments, police departments and emergency management services. You will generally work in an office but field work and travel are required. Some of the positions you will be able to fill include:

  • Homeland security professional
  • Fire department administrator
  • Emergency services coordinator
  • Police department administrator

The coursework for a public safety course will include things like public finance, national incident management, terrorism and emergency preparedness, personnel management, and more. Students will also learn how to develop leadership and critical thinking skills, as well as management theory.

Crime/Disaster Prevention

A public safety degree teaches you how to conduct assessments or consult existing research regarding risk factors for crime and natural disasters. Then you can create a detailed plan to minimise risk, educate the public, and plan an appropriate public response. You can then reduce the odds of children becoming criminals or terrorist attacks being successful.

You may mitigate the damage and loss of life from fires, floods, arson and toxic waste spills. You may host emergency drills to teach kids how to evacuate in various disasters or supervise emergency drills for first responders and general community members.

You could also teach or supervise the training of first responders and volunteers so that everyone knows what to do if disaster strikes. You’ll be in charge of verifying that they have an established plan for every likely scenario and follow proper procedures. A public safety degree gives you the knowledge you need to ensure that safety equipment and key facilities are in proper working order.

Healthcare Manager

A public safety degree may allow you to become a healthcare manager. You could head emergency medical services. It may prepare you to lead healthcare organisations, since you know how to deal with medical emergencies, plan for various risks, and lead teams. This allows you to work in management in nursing homes, medical labs and hospitals. Or you may supervise public awareness and education programs. Some of your tasks will include:

  • Maintaining and following records of budgets
  • Managing patient counts
  • Coordinating delivery of services and care to patients
  • Maintaining communication with directors and medical leadership
  • Overseeing the recruitment and training of hospital staff

Health services managers will also be asked to balance medical and business needs by implementing the right set of processes and policies. In short, their role will be to reconcile healthcare and business priorities to make sure that facilities run as smoothly as possible.

Public Communications

An emergency manager is the ideal spokesperson for an organisation or government agency in a disaster. Their job already entails communicating with government officials, volunteer networks, emergency response professionals and the public. Conversely, emergency management professionals may work with the public on a daily basis as they train people how to handle various emergencies and minimise the risk of them occurring. This can range from fire prevention to dealing with accidents.


Emergency managers are increasingly asked to work for businesses and small governments as consultants. They may analyse the firm’s working environment and come up with procedures to be followed during an emergency. Or they may provide advice on how to improve after an incident. Emergency managers are the experts hired by business continuity firms to prepare businesses so they can keep their doors open after a disaster.

Some of the benefits of working as a consultant include:

  • Greater autonomy
  • Flexibility
  • Work in a variety of settings and with different organisations
  • Gain valuable contacts and networking opportunities
  • Ability to work around the world

Working as a security consultant is another option. In this role, your job will be to help organisations find security vulnerabilities and come up with solutions. They’ll also be able to help devise security protocols, and make sure that businesses remain compliant. You can specialise in manmade or natural disasters, attacks on physical assets, or counter terrorism.

Emergency management includes preparedness, prevention, mitigation of risks, responding to emergencies and recovering from them. These skills are increasingly called upon at all levels of society to prevent and minimise the harm of potential threats as well as handle events after a disaster.

Award-winning writer, blogger, social media consultant and charity campaigner. Social Media Manager for BritMums, the UK's largest parent blogging network Freelance clients include Firefly Communications and Save the Children UK. Works with brands on marketing projects. Examples include Visit Orlando, Give As You Live, Coca-Cola and Kodak. Cambridge Law graduate with many years experience working across three sectors in advice, media relations, events, training and project management. Available for hire at affordable rates.

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