Online PhD in Public Safety Leadership

The field of public safety covers a wide variety of levels of law enforcement including local to international law enforcement agencies, and takes into account technology, politics, health, safety regulations, law, and any other area in which people can be harmed and must be kept safe. An online PhD in Public Safety Leadership is designed to prepare students with the knowledge and skills they will need in criminal justice, public safety, and emergency medical services to lead public safety organizations. The best online doctoral programs in Public Safety Leadership typically take students about 2-4 years to complete and are research intensive with courses in leadership theories and public safety practices and issues. Those individuals interested in online doctoral programs in Public Safety Leadership should have experience in some public safety field, and they should have a strong ongoing commitment to the public good. Throughout the course of earning the online doctoral degree in Public Safety Leadership, students will be responsible for conducting research on theories and practices in the field, doing extensive reading and writing, remaining connected to the world of active public safety, and completing a dissertation. A dissertation is a book type compilation of analysis, findings, and opinions in the field on practices, procedures, and policies.

About Online PhD Programs in Public Safety Leadership

The online doctorate degree in Public Safety Leadership program is ideal for those who work in public safety careers and wish to pursue advanced skills and knowledge to qualify for top level and management careers in the field of public safety. The online PhD programs in Public Safety Leadership involve a combination of theory and practice, and are concerned with how to apply research and theory to preserving public safety in real-world circumstances and are similar to those taught at traditional universities. Students in online Public Safety Leadership doctorate degree programs will learn about public safety, public policies, governance in public administration, emergency preparedness, constitutional law and individual rights, and effective leadership in public safety, amongst a number of other concepts and concentrations. In order to be able to understand these, students in Public Safety Leadership PhD programs online will likely be required to complete assignments, research projects, or major papers. For example, a Public Safety Leadership PhD online professor may require that students submit a research paper on a public safety theory, a constitutional law case, or opinions of research presented in the field.

Year One:

  • Foundations for Doctoral Study. In this course, students will learn more about doctoral research and studies and what will be expected from them throughout the course of the program.
  • Leadership and Organizational Change. Students in this course will learn about theories and models of leadership to accommodate the changes in the workplace. Students will explore characteristics of effective leaders, ethical and legal issues in standards, and the contribution of leadership and organizational change to social changes.
  • Governance and Public Policy. Students in this course will examine the democratic governance in public administration, theories of governance, research current literature associated with public policy, and apply practices within the area.

Year Two:

  • U.S. and International Health Care Systems. This course is focused on examining government agencies and their delivery and financing of health services, along with the legal issues that confront health care institutions.
  • Public Policy Implications of Terrorism Legislation and Policies. This course provides students with the knowledge of terroristic legislation and immigration laws and policies on law enforcement, government entities, organizations and individuals.
  • Critical incident Planning and Leadership. This course examines the fundamentals of emergency planning, selection of leaders, mutual aid, and leadership theories as well as basic foundations for students to understand how to develop incident plans.

Year Three:

  • Historical and Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice. This course allows students to understand the evolution of criminals with topics including problem-oriented policy, transnational crime, and terrorism.
  • Public Safety Issues. This course serves as a comprehensive survey of the issues faced by public safety agencies and emphasizes the importance of communication and coordination amongst them to be effective.
  • Managing Public Safety Organizations. This course is intended to teach students some of the ways to find solutions to major issues confronting public safety with specific topics in systems approaches, environmental analyses, implications for change, and coordination.

Year Four:

  • Ethics and Social Justice. In this course, students will study the ethics and social justice related to economic disparity, power, and privilege by using demographic data, current social trends, and themes to understand the issues that impact communities.
  • Terrorism: Legislation and Policy. Students will explore the history of terrorism, laws, regulations, and legislation pertaining to terrorism, and the roles of media, government agencies, and entities in preventing and responding to acts of terrorism.
  • Tools for Sustainable Community Development. Students in this course will explore topics that include demographic analysis, citizen engagement, economic forecasting and budgeting, alternative funding sources and other tools that will be needed to meet the challenge of creating a sustainable community.

Online Public Safety Leadership PhD students will also be responsible for excelling in exams administered by their professors. While professors will administer their exams differently, many PhD professors administer exams that are comprehensive, which means they cover material learned throughout the semester and/or year. While they may be administered in standard format, PhD professors may also choose to administer exams in the form of a major collaborative paper or research assignment. For example, a online PhD Public Safety Leadership student may be required to submit a paper on the roles of Homeland Security or to explain or critique a theory related to public safety, terrorism, or the criminal justice procedure. The final step in completing the online PhD degree in Public Safety Leadership is to complete and submit a dissertation. Dissertations are generally lengthy and should give an insight into procedures and practices evaluated in public safety careers, and opinions on theories, methods, and policies relating to public policy, public safety, and government agencies in the criminal justice sector. For example, past dissertation topics in this field include partnerships and the path to improving crisis communication, applying progressive business practices to the management of public safety services, and fire-safety and hazard control in public schools.

Value and Criticisms of a PhD in Public Safety Leadership

The online doctorate in Public Safety Leadership is ideal for those who want to move up the ranks in their career. Earning the Public Safety Leadership doctorate degree online can be beneficial because it allows students to develop advanced web research skills, will allow students to gain familiarity with Web and Internet tools, and will familiarize students with computer programs and software. With today's ever-changing technology and businesses striving to keep updated with technology and computer systems, it is extremely important for leaders in this field to be able to work with updated technology and computer-based systems. For example, most government agencies and public safety organizations rely on using computer systems and databases to keep up with other agencies and for use in enforcing laws and policies. A possible downside to earning this degree online is that the degree is not particularly offered widespread and only offered at a few online learning institutions.

Application & Admission Requirements

While all learning institutions and specific PhD programs will have their own admission requirements, there are some general admission requirements for online PhD Public Safety Leadership hopefuls to keep in mind. Most programs require that students have a bachelor's and master's degree in the field and at least three years of work experience in a field relating to public safety, emergency services, or criminal justice. The bachelor and master degrees must have been awarded by an accredited learning institution and should be in the criminal justice, public safety, human resources, social work, or health administration fields, or in a closely related discipline. Most programs also require that students have three letters of recommendation with other admission requirements being school specific. For example, Capella University also requires that PhD candidates have at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA on graduate school transcripts. Interested individuals need to fill out an application and send the required paperwork to the appropriate department to be considered for the online PhD in Public Safety Leadership program.

Career Options & Job Market

Students that earn their online doctorate in Public Safety Leadership degree are prepared to pursue careers in a number of different fields and industries. Some of these fields include (but are not limited to): government, criminal justice, education, social work, and emergency management. Some of the careers that online Public Safety Leadership graduates can pursue include (but are not limited to): professor, emergency services director, disaster recovery director, health and safety manager, anti-terrorism coordinator, or corporate security director. Graduates of this program should be able to find jobs, as careers in the field are in relatively high demand. The Federal Government is a large employer of various jobs related to health and public safety and graduates should have good job opportunities. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the Federal Government, the largest employer in the nation excluding the Postal Service, is expected to see favorable growth in various occupations that are related to the field.

Where to Find Information

  • outlines public safety and laws and has resources to agencies, organizations, grants, statistics, and news in an effort to provide the general public with information relating to public safety.
  • Public Safety Alliance is an organization dedicated to keeping professionals in the field and the general public updated on views of public safety, current events and news, and attention to public policies.
  • National Public Safety Information Bureau is the nation's leading publisher of public safety directories and data and serves to assist individuals with databases and directories to anything public safety related.
  • The Public Safety Leadership Development Consortium is dedicated to sharing ideas and interests regarding leadership development, advancing leadership development in education, and giving public safety organizations a way to communicate and share ideas in an effort to further build public safety leadership organizations.

How to Get Funding

Many PhD students rely on financial aid assistance to help with the cost of tuition fees and research studying. The tuition costs of PhD programs are likely to vary between learning institutions, so there are several options available to PhD students looking for aid. For example, the tuition rate at Capella University is $633 per credit hour, while the tuition rate at Walden University is $455 per credit hour. PhD students have the option of applying for federal student loans, but also have the option of applying for grants and/or scholarship money that can be used for tuition but does not need to be repaid.

  • The School of International Service Grant Resources. American University's School of International Service has a resource page that helps PhD students find scholarship and grant opportunities through various organizations and associations.
  • Office of Special Scholarship Programs. The University of Illinois offers PhD students looking for grant and scholarship opportunities a resource page which lists several public service and health grants for graduate and professional students in the field.
  • College This site allows doctoral students the opportunity to search and apply for scholarship and grants by subject area, including in the social sciences and economics field.

Essential Advice

  • If you are still undecided on whether the online doctoral program in Public Safety Leadership is the right choice for you, seek the advice and help of past and current PhD students in this field to gain more insight to decide if it is the right fit for you.
  • Be sure to research and familiarize yourself with possible career options that you can pursue with this degree. Find out the job descriptions and responsibilities of these careers, the salary ranges, and their demand to be sure that these careers are something you are interested in pursuing after you complete the program and graduate.
  • Before deciding on this program, take into consideration that it will take several years to complete and that it will require hard work, dedication, and determination to complete. If you have just completed a master's degree and are in need of a break or have other time-consuming commitments, it may be best to hold off on this program until it is the right time for you.
  • Once you decide that this program is the right fit for you, be sure to seek out knowledgeable and reliable mentors and/or advisors that can help you with course choices, career decisions, and other issues or questions that you may need help with along the way.