Safety Administration Degrees: Bachelor, Associate & Online Class Info

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What will you learn in an associate's or bachelor's degree program in safety administration? Read about safety administration program requirements, the pros and cons of an associate's or bachelor's degree and potential careers.
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Study Safety Administration: Degrees at a Glance

Safety administration (also known as public safety) degree programs typically teach students critical thinking, organizational dynamics, ethics, communication and computer skills. With an associate's degree in this field, you'll be able to pursue entry-level positions in law enforcement, emergency medical services, emergency management and fire services. A safety administration degree can also give experienced public safety professionals the opportunity to advance to supervisory positions.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for occupational health and safety technicians were projected to increase by 13% from 2010-2020. Positions for EMTs and paramedics were expected to increase by 33% in the same time period, which is considerably above average. Jobs for fire inspectors and investigators were estimated to increase by 9%, while the figure for police and detectives would be at 7%. Emergency management director positions were projected to grow by 13%, while occupational health and safety specialists would do that at 9%.

Associate's Bachelor's
Who is this degree for? Individuals interested in working as a safety technician in various different industries People who want to work as the field of public safety as an administrator
Common Career Paths (with approximate mean annual salary) - Occupational health and safety technicians ($48,000)*
- Emergency medical technicians and paramedics ($34,000)*
- Fire inspectors and investigators ($57,000)*
- Police and sheriff's patrol officers ($56,000)*
- Emergency management directors ($63,000)*
- Occupational health and safety specialists ($67,000)*
Time to Completion 1-2 years full-time 3-5 years full-time
Common Graduation Requirements - About 60-80 credit hours
- Exams and essays
- General courses and electives
- About 110-130 credit hours
- Exams and essays
- General courses and electives
- Fieldwork requirement (in certain cases)
Prerequisites High school diploma or a GED High school diploma or a GED
Online Availability Yes Yes

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures).

Associate's in Safety Administration

Although you won't yet be qualified for most administrative jobs, an associate's degree in safety management or public safety can help you pursue careers as a police officer, correctional officer, probation officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician or first responders, to name a few. Typically, you'll learn about various government roles played in security and public safety issues. You'll cover everything about the field, from on-the-job safety hazards to environmental concerns. In most cases, it's fairly simple to enroll in an associate's degree program in this field; however all of your credits may not transfer if you plan on continuing your education.

Pros and Cons


  • It's usually not difficult to get into an associate's degree program in safety management
  • You can use your degree to enter a bachelor's program and some associate's programs are even designed for you to do so
  • There are numerous online options available if you need them


  • Many safety management positions require more than an associate's degree and sometimes licensure
  • Not all associate's programs have transferable credits to certain bachelor's programs
  • Degrees like an Associate of Science in Public Safety Administration are often general and won't necessarily help you gain any particular area of expertise

Courses and Requirements

Safety administration associate's degree programs typically cover subjects such as psychology, communication, leadership, ethics in public safety, human resources management, group dynamics, political and legal systems, strategic planning and information technology. Students may also choose courses that cover more advanced topics, such as research methodology in public safety, counterterrorism and emergency management. Although classes may vary from program to program, you may end up taking a few of the following classes, along with exams:

  • Managing safety programs
  • Spreadsheets and microcomputer applications
  • Professional ethics
  • Emergency care and first aid
  • Fire protection
  • Foundations of criminal justice
  • Personal health
  • Industrial hygiene
  • The legality of safety
  • Investigating incidents

Online Degree Options

If you're working in the public safety industry or can't attend an on-campus program for other reasons, there are a number of programs to choose from on the Internet that you can complete wherever you are. In certain online programs you may be required to attend a certain location for exams.

Getting Ahead With This Degree

As you earn an associate's degree in public safety, you can plan for safety administrative positions by using certain tactics. For example, the U.S. Department of Labor offers Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) training. These classes and seminars can help you gain expertise in specific areas of safety management, such as machine guarding standards, grain handling operations, shipyard employment, demolition, scaffolding safety and more.

Bachelor's in Safety Administration

A bachelor's degree in safety administration can prepare you and help you build a foundation for graduate and postgraduate studies in safety administration, national security, health care management and many other related fields. You could eventually potentially work as a manager or director in private security and military companies, as well as work for state and federal government agencies, like the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Safety Administration. You could also move on to work in safety, security and health education and research. It's typically more difficult to get into a bachelor's degree program in this field than an associate's degree program.

Pros and Cons


  • A bachelor's degree can open up many administrative job opportunities that an associate's degree can't
  • You could potentially land a job with a state or federal agency, or even with branches of the military
  • There's a solid selection of online programs available


  • A bachelor's degree program in this discipline can be time-consuming and expensive
  • Many safety administration positions require several years of experience in the field, so a bachelor's degree is often not enough
  • Safety administration job searches can be nationwide, so relocation may be necessary

Courses and Requirements

Although many of the courses that you'll take in a bachelor's degree program in public safety administration are similar between schools, some may differ depending on the focus of the program. There are various concentrations that you may focus on, such as criminal justice, fire safety, emergency medical services and homeland security. A few classes that you could end up taking are:

  • Public administration
  • Management principles and finance
  • Hazards and economic impact
  • Drugs and organized crime
  • Investigating arson
  • Crime in schools
  • Basics of homeland security
  • Disaster strategy and recovery
  • Administrative law
  • Community safety

Online Degree Options

There are a variety of online bachelor's degree programs to choose from in this field. When seeking one out, it's important to make sure that you choose a program offered by an accredited, respected educational institution.

Stand Out With This Degree

To stand out in the field of safety administration, it can often be best to begin while still earning your degree. A few steps you might take are:

  • As is the case with an associate's degree in safety administration, licensure and certification can help you find employment. For example, you could become a Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) through the International Association of Emergency Managers.
  • Because many employers require varying amounts of field experience, volunteer work can be a solid way to beef up your resume.
  • Strong computer literacy and knowledge of the latest safety technologies can be helpful when seeking employment.