How to Get a Job in Public Safety

Written by James Hirby and Fact Checked by The Law Dictionary Staff  

Public safety is a broad term covering careers in corrections, emergency services, law enforcement, legal services, and security.

A career in corrections could be a prison guard, warden, or probation officer.

Careers in emergency services include a 911 operator, EMT, paramedic, or firefighter.

Law enforcement careers include police officer, detective, FBI, Secret Service, CIA, or sheriff.

A person employed in legal service could be an attorney, paralegal, or judge.

Security guards can be directly employed by banks, corporate offices, hotels, or hospitals. Guards can also work for a private security agency and be assigned to a post. Other careers in security include a transportation safety screener, armored car driver, or a casino surveillance officer.


Salary for each of these professions varies depending on the level of expertise required, education requirements, amount of danger involved, years of experience, size of employer, and geographic region.

In the legal field, a judge may earn over $100,000 annually while a paralegal may earn only $30,000 annually. Judges must attend college and law school, pass the bar exam, work as an attorney for a few years, and then run for a judgeship. Due to all the education, experience, and knowledge required, judges receive a high salary.

Paralegals earn less as their level of education does not need to be as high as that of a judge. For example, paralegals may be hired without any degree or experience. Sometimes they earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in legal studies. National paralegal associations do offer voluntary certifications. In order to earn these certifications, paralegals must have a certain amount of education and experience and sit for an extensive exam.

Job Requirements

Clearly each career under the category of public safety has its own education, experience, and certification requirements.

EMTs must have at least a high school diploma and CPR certification before beginning a degree. EMT training can be completed at a community college or technical institute. Before beginning work as an EMT, one must pass the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians Exam. Each state has licensing requirements for EMTs.

Security guards do not need any education other than a high school diploma. On the job training is provided for new hires. States may have certification requirements.

If you are interested in a career in public safety, check with a local college or government agency to learn about the requirements.

Schools For Public Safety

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