If you grew up pretending to “catch the bad guys” and you long for a career that involves giving back to your community, you may be considering a career in public safety. This exciting field requires physical stamina, mental strength, and emotional stability. It also requires preparation, passion, and drive. If you are wondering how to become a public safety officer, you have come to the right place. Read on as we explore this field – and how you can break into it – below.
There are few roles in the workforce that require a person to run toward danger and protect his fellow man. But that is just what a police officer or security guard must do. These are valiant roles that must be filled by very dedicated individuals looking to make a difference in the world. If this sounds like you, then you might be perfect for this public safety field. But where do you start as you set out on your journey? The best place to start, like most great careers, is with a solid foundation: Education.
As you look to pursue a public safety career, you will want to start with a great education. While some roles within public safety – such as that of a security guard – do not necessarily require a postsecondary degree, they can certainly help prepare you for your career and stand out among the competition. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), police officers are required to have at least a high school diploma, while most federal agencies require a two or four-year degree in criminal justice. Some police officers – such as criminal investigators – are encouraged (and sometimes required) to obtain an associate or bachelor’s degree in related field like criminal justice or public safety and security.
That valuable degree can help you develop a solid, investigative skillset that employers so desperately need. A bachelor’s degree program, like the one at Goodwin College, for example, puts an emphasis on professional skills and knowledge of Public Safety. Some courses include:
- Grant writing
- Policy analysis
- Research methodology
- Risk assessment
- Safety and security planning
This type of program can prepare you for a variety of careers, as you can put learned skills to use every day in your demanding role. Some of these skills include:
- Basic Computer skills
- Judgement and decision-making skills
- Oral and written communication skills
- Leadership skills
- Interpersonal skills
- Interviewing skills
- Investigative ability skills
The professors teaching you are professionals who have worked in the field themselves. They are police officers, private detectives, state troopers, military veterans, etc. Their first-hand experience will give you insight and preparation better than any textbook ever could.
Public safety officers often enjoy a thrilling and rewarding career of protecting their community from harm. This job is physically demanding, stressful, and – at times – dangerous. Officers must be able to meet rigorous physical and personal qualifications, such as police academy training, written tests, and interviews. In the State of Connecticut, police officers are first required to become state troopers.
If you have any interest in becoming a private investigator in CT, you must obtain the proper license. The Nutmeg State requires all PIs to have the Connecticut Association of Licensed Private Investigators (CALPI).
The demands for a public safety officer go beyond the physical preparations such as stamina and strength. A person’s mental and emotional strength are also put to the test. These roles often require you to handle emotional victims, distraught family members of victims, and mentally-ill perpetrators.
While many public safety officers, such as police officers, obtain on-the-job training, a college-level program – such as a public safety degree program – can help give you a starting foundation that will make that on-the-job training easier to pick up. The public safety curriculum at Goodwin College, for example, covers a wide variety of specialized education you will need, from criminology to corrections, juvenile justice to psychology. This program also requires students to pursue an in-field internship at organizations across Connecticut (The Red Cross, the Connecticut Judicial Branch, and the Police and Fire Departments of Hartford are just a few of the many favorited internship locations).
If you have what it takes and you would like to learn more about how to become a public safety officer, start with your education. Learn more about the Public Safety and Security program – or the Criminal Justice program – at Goodwin College. Call 1-800-889-3282 or visit us online to request more information.
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.