Public safety education combines classroom work with real world application. Many degree programs require real-life experience in order for the student to graduate with an advanced degree. Many others will accept real life experience already obtained by the student as credit o put toward their degree.
As has become more and more clear in the last few years, public safety requires very careful planning and lots of coordination. This is where public safety management comes in. While many public safety and law enforcement officials walk the streets visibly keeping us safe, public safety managers work behind the scenes in order to plan and make sure that the law enforcement officials, as well as the public, are as safe as they possibly can be while they do their jobs or go about their business.
A degree in public safety management equips students with the unique ability to oversee safety organizations, making sure they have a plan for anything that might arise. These public safety officials are constantly modifying and updating the plans to make sure all of the latest technologies and strategies are employed, making the plans as effective as possible.
Public Safety Management degrees are in demand now more than ever as the public's awareness of safety issues increases. The threat of terrorism has provided the industry with more funding, and more jobs for trained professionals are opening up. The more advanced an individual's education, the more likely he or she is of getting a job in this increasingly competitive industry.
The skills acquired in a Public Safety Management degree program will prepare the student to run any number of public safety organizations. These skills include the ability to create a budget for the organization, to effectively manage a team of experts, to communicate effectively with those working under you, and to meet the demands of the organization's mission statement.
Basically, degrees in Public Safety Management combine the best of the fields of business management, law enforcement. With skills in law, criminal justice, business finance, management, and communications, students will be prepared to handle whatever their organization has in store for them.
Preparing to enter a Degree program in Public Safety Management
As students prepare to enter a distance learning or online college degree program in Public Safety Management, they should consider what will be required of them during the course of their education. If the student is still in high school, they should be sure to take whatever social studies, psychology, law, computer, Spanish, business, and math classes are offered, as well as any courses they feel will help them get into your typical liberal arts college. Most liberal arts colleges and universities require four years of English, three years of math, and two years of science.
Those already working in the field of public safety should consider whether or not they are willing to quit their job or postpone their career in order to go back to school. Working professionals should seriously consider enrolling in a distance learning or online education program so as not to interrupt their career or family life.
Students should research carefully to decide what college degree program best suits their needs. Public Safety Management degree programs tend to vary substantially, as it is something of an emerging industry. Find a school that has an approach to academic curriculum and an academic philosophy that are compatible with your own.
Most certificate programs in Public Safety Management are directed toward those already working within the profession who wish to specialize or supplement their skills in order to advance in their careers. These certificate programs often require an associate or bachelor degree in the field of public safety, or a comparable amount of experience.
These certificate programs are often highly intensive, usually taking no more than a year to complete. They do, however, require the student to come to them with a certain degree of expertise already obtained in the area of public safety. The programs are highly specialized, usually focusing on one aspect of public safety management, such as disaster preparation or terrorism prevention.
Bachelor's Degree Programs
Bachelor's degree programs in Public Safety Management seek to give the student a broad general education while delivering the skills needed to begin a career in public safety. These degree programs cultivate business and leadership skills, as well as communication and computer skills.
While most students will be prepared for an entry-level position in public safety after graduation, holding a bachelor's degree will also increase their chances of future promotion. Moreover, the salaries of many positions are determined by education and experience, so those who hold bachelor's degrees are more likely to be well compensated for their services.
As with most college majors, much of the coursework for a bachelor's degree in public safety management consists of general education requirements. These general education requirements are important because they produce a well-rounded graduate, capable of thinking in a variety of ways about a variety of subjects. This increases critical thinking capabilities and communication skills.
General education requirements for a bachelor's degree in public safety management include:
Physics, chemistry, or biology
After the general education requirements are met, the curriculum becomes more focused on the public safety aspect of the degree. At this the point, the courses become more specialized, dealing with effective techniques of public safety management. Also, the business aspect of the coursework is focused on more strongly. This is when students learn how to become effective leaders of an organization.
Courses more specific to the public safety management major include:
Strategy and implementation
Behavior of organizations
Human resource management
Many colleges and universities will accept experience in the public safety industry in place of coursework for college credit to put towards the degree. If the student has experience in the field, they should ask the colleges they are applying to if they accept life experience credit before applying.
Master's Degree Programs
Master's degree programs in Public Safety Management are typically two-year degree programs. They are often geared toward the working professional, offering flexible classes on nights, weekends, and online. These degree programs allow students to specifically gear their studies toward their individual interests in the field.
The Master's degree in Public Safety Management prepares the student to take on a management position within police and fire departments, within the medical community, or in private law enforcement organizations. Most programs offer a balanced approach of theory and practice, and many offer internships and on-the-job training.
Most Master's degree programs in Public Safety Management require that the student possess a bachelor's degree in public safety or a related field. Graduation from an undergraduate program with a grade point average of at least 3.0 is not an uncommon requirement, either.
The degree program itself consists of coursework paired with internships and other field experience. While many programs do not require a thesis to graduate, some require students to approach a real world problem and solve it with the public safety management skills they've learned.
Many public safety management students will work closely with a mentor or advisor in order to create a field of study that will best suit the student's strengths, weaknesses, and career interests. Frequent meetings with advisors are not uncommon.
A college degree in Public Safety Management can lead you into a variety of fields. From disaster relief to working for local fire or police departments, these careers are important and rewarding. The Department of Homeland Security is another employment option for those who wish to work on a national level or for the United States government.
Some examples of careers in the field of public safety management:
Emergency Response Specialist
Anti-terrorism Task Force Coordinator
Public Events Security Coordinator
Corporate Security Manager
Disaster Relief Specialist
Even more important than controlling situations is, of course, preventing them. Deciding where to station security forces and what routes security should use to patrol are two of the main duties of security coordinators. They must be trained in emergency medical procedures as well as in the basics of law enforcement. They also must work within the budget presented to them, deciding how many people to employ, what to pay them, and what to spend on materials, such as communications equipment and weapons.
Corporate Security Manager. Large corporations have great need for security, as their operations are often large and difficult to keep track of. Security managers for these corporations must regulate the entire security force for the company, conducting interviews and hiring skilled men and women. They must plan and execute security measures, such as assigning patrols, guarding entrances, and installing security alarms and cameras. Security managers must stay abreast of the latest technologies that may help the corporation they work for stay more secure.
Corporate security managers also work within a budget. If they believe more security is needed, they must first advise the company's board of directors so that more funds can be allocated to the security force of the company. They then hire more guards or install more security measures appropriately.
Fire Chief. The Fire Chief must be a seasoned firefighter as well as a skilled administrator. The daily concerns of keeping firefighters safe must be balanced with the restrictions of budget and staffing. One of the most important jobs of the fire chief is convincing politicians that more funding is needed for the firefighters to do their jobs safely and effectively.
They must always be on the lookout for new technology that may help the department more effectively fight fires. If they feel that the technology is appropriate and cost-effective, they must petition for funds in order to obtain it.
The fire chief is also in charge of deciding which of his team gets promoted up the ranks. This means being a skillful judge of character, as well as recognizing specific achievements within the department and rewarding them.
Police Chief. The chief of police is an important position that oversees an entire police department. The chief is in charge of making sure that the budget is sufficient and that the needs of the department are being met. This ensures that the department can properly do its job protecting the citizens of a city or town.
A police chief's main duty is to ensure that the officers that work under him are as safe as possible while they protect the populace. This means keeping an eye on technological trends that may help the officers perform in a more safe and effective way. Also important is keeping an eye on crime trends in he city, in order to create plans that will counter the criminal activity.
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