8 Degrees to Consider if You Want to Work in Safety and Security


If you are interested in pursuing a career in safety, security, or emergency management, you may be wondering which degree will be the best one for you. Which degree you want can potentially change the trajectory of your future career and some degrees are more desirable by emergency agencies.

Some degrees are more versatile than others, such as a homeland security degree or a degree in public administration, and can provide education for a broad number of positions. Others, such as emergency medicine, are much more specialized.

When choosing your major, it is important to consider your personality and the location you want to live, as well as the kinds of careers you want to have and how much money you want to make.

Here are 8 degrees that may be useful for safety and security jobs:

Homeland Security


A homeland security degree is a good preparation for a career in safety and security. With a degree in homeland security, graduates will be able to apply for a wide number of positions in the government, from the Department of Homeland Security to the Border Patrol or FEMA, as well as local and state emergency management departments. They can also find careers within private companies such as government contractors as well as the military.

People with homeland security degrees will be prepared for careers at all levels of emergency management, from planning and preparedness to mitigation, response, and recovery. They will be able to work in administrative and planning positions for many different departments.

Criminal Justice


A degree in criminal justice can prepare you for careers in law enforcement, security management, and corrections. Law enforcement can include positions with local departments as well as those with state, and federal agencies such as the CIA and FBI. Criminal justice degrees can be acquired at the associate and bachelor levels as well as more advanced degrees.

While you do not need a criminal justice degree to get certified as a peace officer, it can help attain higher positions in the force, such as detective or parole officer. Criminal justice degrees can also be valuable for those who want to work in corrections, such as those working with prisoners and parolees.

Emergency Management


Those with emergency management degrees will be prepared for disaster response and recovery, as well as mitigation and planning. Emergency management is a wide field that covers many different career options. Most people with emergency management degrees will pursue work with government agencies such as FEMA, the Department of Homeland Security, and local emergency service departments. However, there are also private-sector emergency management jobs for hospitals, large corporations, and contracting companies. Other people with degrees in emergency management find careers in the military.


Graduates with degrees in cybersecurity often look for careers in information security and data protection. While this side of safety and security is a little different from the things that usually come to mind, it is no less important. Nearly every industry and organization now have cybersecurity concerns, so this field is one that is rapidly growing and is very versatile. People with degrees in cybersecurity look for careers in both the public and private sectors.

Public Administration


A degree in public administration can prepare you for careers in a wide variety of public service areas, including emergency management, administration, and emergency response. People with degrees in public administration have training in budgeting, management, human resources, and public relations as well as security, government infrastructure, and safety programs. Public administration degrees can help you get jobs in such areas as city management, urban planning, political science, human resource management, emergency management, and budget development.


With a degree in nursing, you will be prepared for safety and security careers in healthcare management, emergency medical services, and public health. Many safety and security departments and companies have a need for medical services and consultation, including state and county health departments, social service organizations, and emergency medical service teams. Nurses with a higher degree, such as a bachelor’s or master’s degree can also find jobs as directors for health departments and other similar agencies.


Paramedic and emergency medical technician degree and certificate programs will provide graduates with the skills they need to help people during medical emergencies. People with these degrees usually work for ambulance departments but can also find employment with the military and specialty rescue teams. Rescue teams often have to work under adverse conditions and benefit from specialist skills such as diving, ropes training, mountaineering, and survival training. Some paramedics and emergency medical technicians also work for transport companies, helping to move patients in critical care to larger hospital facilities on ambulances, airplanes, and helicopters.



A degree in psychology can help you get a position in a safety and security field such as police psychology. Police psychologists help officers and victims work through their trauma. Forensic psychologists can help investigators understand the possible motives and actions of the people involved in cases. Other agencies, such as the CIA, Border Patrol, FEMA, and local emergency agencies hire psychologists for crisis counseling and consulting positions.


No matter what kind of position you hope to hold in the areas of safety and security, and whether you want to work in the public, private, or military sectors, give careful consideration to the degree you choose. Your personality, talents, and interests will help guide you in choosing a major and the jobs you eventually apply for.