What Should I Expect from an Online Master of Public Safety Degree?

What Should I Expect from an Online Master of Public Safety Degree?
What Should I Expect from an Online Master of Public Safety Degree?

An online Master of Public Safety (MPS) degree prepares you for career advancement. It can broaden your horizons in your current field and equip you for new opportunities and leadership positions.

Are you interested in taking the next step in your career?

You've promoted public safety in your daily work in all kinds of ways. Do you wonder if you could apply what you've learned to high-level strategy, moving organizations forward? An online master’s degree in public safety may be the perfect next step for you.

Graduates of a master’s degree in public safety program understand how and why public safety matters. They are critical thinkers who come up with creative, new possibilities for protecting Canadian communities.

Individuals who earn a master’s degree in public safety work in each area of Canada’s four pillars of public safety: national security, border strategies, countering crime, and emergency management. An online master’s degree in public safety program equips professionals for careers in emergency response leadership, policy analysis, cybersecurity, and many more vital areas.

An online master’s degree in public safety not only helps you advance your current career, but it also gives you the possibility of expanding into a new field. In this blog, we’ll walk you through:

  • What you will learn in an online master’s degree in public safety program
  • How the knowledge gained in your online master’s degree in public safety program will equip you for your next career steps
  • Particular public safety career paths for graduates of online master’s degree in public safety programs, and their salaries

Let’s begin with a look at the coursework in an online Master of Public Safety degree program.

What Will a Student Learn in a Master of Public Safety Degree Program?

What Will a Student Learn in a Master of Public Safety Degree Program?

An online Master of Public Safety degree program provides professionals with knowledge and skills for the complex aspects of public safety. Graduates can then combine their education with their real-world experiences. This can transform graduates' careers, expanding the variety of positions available to public safety workers in a life-changing way.

The coursework in Wilfrid Laurier University’s Master of Public Safety degree program begins with a core curriculum. These classes teach students about public safety in Canada and address issues in contemporary public safety and public safety administration.

The coursework then builds upon the foundation of those core classes, starting with instruction in intelligence and analytics as they pertain to public safety. Students explore leadership and ethics in public safety and study research methods and statistical analysis in public safety.

After the core curriculum, students begin taking classes in one of four specializations:

  • Border Strategies
  • Countering Crime
  • Emergency Management
  • National Security

Let’s walk through these specializations one by one.

Public Safety Degree Program Specialties

Border Strategies

Students who select the Border Strategies specialization in Laurier’s online Master of Public Safety degree program will develop an understanding of the key topics and current events that affect the way border security works and how people think about immigration. They will also learn about the interconnectedness and interdependence of critical infrastructure in Canada and nearby borders.

Border Strategies students will take two specific courses. The first is Beyond the Border, and the second is Immigration and Border Security.

Beyond the Border

In Beyond the Border, students learn about government systems, studying critical infrastructures and assets. These assets are both physical and virtual, and they relate to public safety in a variety of ways.

The course will examine systems like telecommunications, health care, and transportation hubs. Students will discuss the impact of infrastructure on public safety and will develop an understanding of the interconnectedness of critical infrastructures. They'll also discuss the potential dangers of systems failure.

Students will study the Canadian approach to cybersecurity and how cooperative partnerships can protect Canadians from cybersecurity threats. And they'll learn about investigative strategies for developing better cyber hygiene.

Immigration and Border Security

The Immigration Security course teaches students about key legislation in border management. Students study investigative aspects and use of intelligence in border management.

Students learn how policymakers form immigration and border security policy, studying many relevant factors, including demographic trends and xenophobia. The factors studied also include criminal and civil enforcement duties, human trafficking, and the illicit drug trade.

Students learn to interpret and apply information from various types of legislation. Relevant legislation includes immigration, customs, and trade.

Countering Crime Specialization GDip

Countering Crime

The Countering Crime specialization in Laurier’s online Master of Public Safety degree program teaches students how to prioritize data-informed performance measures and evidence-based, decision-making practices. Students learn how to increase efficiency and cultivate positive community relationships. The first class in the specialization is Intelligence and Evidence-Based Decision Making. The second is Diverse Communities.

Intelligence and Evidenced-Based Decision Making

In this course, students analyze what intelligence is and define criminal organizations. They investigate the impact of criminal organizations on domestic crime and community safety, and they compare and contrast policing models.

Students learn the importance of measurement and data for accountability. They develop investigative strategies and consider ethical challenges in sharing intelligence.

To build skills in effective operations, students consider critical questions. How can public safety leaders build supportive command structures? How can they promote community engagement? This course will explore answers to those questions and many more.

Diverse Communities

Police agency professionals must understand the critical nature of diversity, and this course helps them do that.

The Diverse Communities course challenges students to wed theory and practical skills to enhance their perspectives. They will learn about the characteristics of diverse communities and related special needs that affect policy and administration.

Students will study Canadian diversity and learn about systemic and individual discrimination. They will also consider personal values and assumptions about diversity and police conduct. Faculty will encourage students to understand the role of diversity in policing and the legitimacy of the police agency.

Emergency Management Specialization GDip

Emergency Management

Students who opt for the Emergency Management specialization of Laurier’s online Master of Public Safety degree program will study the current best practices in emergency response. They will learn about the nuances and relationships between public service agencies as they pertain to handling mass disasters.

A student who chooses to specialize in Emergency Management will take two unique classes: Interagency Disaster Management and Emergency Management Planning.

Interagency Disaster Management

This course teaches students about the roles of public safety services in disasters. Specifically, students study scene control, preparedness, and response priorities.

Studies will analyze individual and interagency roles in protecting citizens from disasters. Faculty will encourage students to debate solutions for the interconnectedness of services. Students will learn how to assess the training and education of response services, and they will assess their policies and expertise, too.

Emergency Management Planning

In this course, students will examine the history and origins of emergency management in the context of various public safety jurisdictions.

Students will learn a comprehensive approach to modern-day emergency management, addressing the components of effective emergency management programs. These components include risk assessment, strategy development, and concept planning.

This course equips students to compose effective strategies and design positive solutions. An emphasis on resiliency will also equip students to build sustainable plans.

National Security Specialization GDip

National Security

The National Security specialization prepares students to be innovative, creative leaders and policy-makers. With an emphasis on the Rule of Law, justice systems, and global threats, the National Security specialization takes a multi-faceted approach to developing graduates who are prepared to protect their county.

Two specific courses are designed for students who choose the National Security specialization in Laurier’s online Master of Public Safety degree program. The first course is International Rule of Law, and the second is International Crime and Terrorism.

International Rule of Law

In this course, students will examine the concept and fundamentals of the Rule of Law. They will evaluate equality before the law and the reliability of the justice system. Further, students will analyze the ways that the justice system can impede the Rule of Law and consider the importance of justice reform.

This class will guide students in discussing faith, or lack of faith, in the justice system. Students will learn to address historic injustices and encourage reconciliation efforts. Analyzing legal systems and cultures will help students discover the potential need for various approaches to establishing the Rule of Law.

International Crime and Terrorism

Students will learn how increased globalization leads to a heightened awareness of terrorism. They will critically analyze threats and examine the complexity of national security in light of globalization.

Exercises will develop students’ abilities to critique, evaluate and analyze information, data, and organizations. Students will debate national security techniques intended to deter international crime and terrorism.

Students will study current tools and solutions, identifying weaknesses that they can address in their future jobs. They will also grow in career preparedness by assessing approaches to crime prevention. And they will master the history of modern terrorism in order to address the root issues.

How Will the Knowledge I Gain as a Student Equip Me for My Next Career Steps?

Specialized positions, management roles and leadership opportunities require specific skills. An online master's degree in public safety equips you with those skills, including how to:

  • Apply critical thinking skills
  • Conduct in-depth analysis
  • Communicate complex information in accessible ways
  • Make effective decisions
  • Work with efficiency and effectiveness
  • Understand ethical, historical, political, and social issues that affect public safety
  • Manage systems that ensure public safety
  • Improve organizational performance
  • Stay ahead of security threats
  • Recognize and put best practices in place
  • Incorporate technology into public safety practice
  • Innovate positive solutions
  • Enhance community safety through reasoning, problem solving and analysis

As a student in Laurier’s online Master of Public Safety degree program, you will also get to know expert faculty with years of experience in public safety. These relationships will expand your network and enable you to hear real-world stories from your professors' careers.

As faculty merge theory and analysis with case studies and examples, you’ll be equipped to think both conceptually and concretely. You will be able to envision your own future career scenarios through your professors' examples.

You can expect to learn from written content, to be sure. But you will also learn from living your own public safety stories—applying coursework to your experiences in the field.

Kelly Cochrane, advanced care paramedic and Master of Public Safety student at Laurier put it this way—the program “couldn’t be more real.”

What Are the Potential Career Paths for Graduates of Online Public Safety Master’s Degree Programs — and Their Economic Benefits?

What Are the Potential Career Paths for Graduates of Online Public Safety Master’s Degree Programs — and Their Economic Benefits?

We're primarily focused on online master’s degrees in public safety in this post. But it's important to note that master’s degrees, in general, enhance careers and increase income potential.

The median salary for Canadians who graduate with master’s degrees is $65,700 annually within two years. For undergraduate degree holders two years later, the median salary is $46,600 per year.

What about five years after graduation? The median salary for Canadians with master’s degrees is $74,500 per year. Their undergraduate-only peers earn a median of $56,800 a year. Careers in public safety often yield even higher than average salaries, with high-ranking officials earning more than $100,000 annually.

The exact numbers may vary, but the fact will remain. Students with master’s degrees have high wage-earning potential.

Let's take a look at specific career opportunities in public safety.

We'll walk through the possibilities according to the four respective specializations in Laurier’s online degree programs. As you may recall, they are:

  • Border Strategies
  • Countering Crime
  • Emergency Management
  • National Security

Border Strategies

Students who specialize in Border Strategies often have or desire a career at the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). A Border Services Officer (BSO) who has an online master’s degree in public safety has a variety of options.

The salary for a CBSA BSO trainee is between $64,234 and $71,525. BSO trainees who complete the development program become border services officers, and their annual salaries increase from an average of $69,486 to $82,411.

And it only goes up from there. The highest-paid officers in the CBSA may earn an annual salary of $125,381.

Students often pursue an MPS to expand their career opportunities within the CBSA. They can then consider senior ranks such as trainer, superintendent, or duty chief. CBSA employees may want to aim even higher over time, toward leadership positions like director or regional director general.

Countering Crime

Many students who choose the Countering Crime specialization In Laurier’s online Master of Public Safety degree program want to stay within their current fields. They may be corrections officers or EMTs, for example. The Countering Crime specialization can equip these individuals for greater productivity at work and help them qualify for internal promotions and leadership opportunities.

Others want to move into a new type of work. A Countering Crime focus equips graduates for many jobs, including analysis roles in policies, crime, or data.

For those interested in policy, a public safety organization like Public Safety Canada may be a good fit. The average salary for a policy analyst ranges from $46,000 to $81,000. Senior policy analysts may earn between $53,000 and $91,000.

Crime analysts often work in criminal investigative divisions at local police stations. Crime analysts in Canada earn, on average, $78,546 per year. They may earn as much as $100,940 per year.

Data analysts work in both the public and private sectors. Senior data analysts in Canada earn an average salary of $75,158 per year. They may earn as much as $95,000 per year, and many also earn bonuses of over $5,000 per year.

Countering Crime graduates can also become consultants and administrators, advising on issues like human trafficking and the illicit drug trade.

Emergency Management

Laurier’s Master of Public Safety students who specialize in Emergency Management will be ready for many different careers. Relevant professions span both public and private industries. For example, Emergency Management graduates may become campus safety coordinators. They could also pursue jobs as regional emergency measures officers.

Other possibilities include:

  • Director of Security
  • Emergency Program Coordinator
  • Senior Emergency Planning Officer
  • Strategic Planning Analyst
  • Risk Management and Patient Safety
  • Emergency Management Coordinator

Firefighters and EMS workers may find emergency management education especially beneficial, too.

The average emergency management salary in Canada is $76,789 per year. Experienced emergency management workers may earn as much as $109,023 per year.

National Security

Job opportunities abound for students who graduate from Laurier’s online Master of Public Safety degree program with a National Security specialization.

The skills acquired through Lauirer’s Master of Public Safety degree with a National Security specialization prepare students for careers in many of Canada's security agencies. For example, National Security specialization graduates may work at Public Safety Canada as analysts. They can also work for the Criminal Intelligence Service of Canada in roles such as security screening investigator.

Students who specialize in National Security can also become information analysts or may conduct data mining. They may also fill human resources and administration roles. Interested graduates could even become planning officers or training and recruitment coordinators.

On average, information analysts in Canada earn $73,393 per year. They may earn as much as $98,285 per year. Planning officers earn an average of $69,691 per year, and those at the top of the range may earn $94,963 per year.

Are You Ready to Learn More about an Online Master of Public Safety Degree?

Laurier can help you take the next step in your career. Our convenient, online Master of Public Safety degree program offers you four specializations, flexibility, and expert faculty members.

Learn More About the Program