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Master in Health Sciences - Emergency & Disaster Management Degree

Read about master's degree studies focusing on emergency and disaster management. Learn what degrees can be earned, what topics are addressed and what is needed to enroll. Find information about continuing education and job options as well as employment statistics for related careers.

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Essential Information

Emergency and disaster relief administrators prepare and plan for situations of disaster and health crisis, striving to act with as much speed, skill and calm as possible when such events occur. While a Master of Health Sciences program does not typically offer emergency and disaster management options, those interested in a graduate degree in this field of study can earn a Master of Science in Emergency Management or in Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management. A Master of Public Health (MPH) is another example of a common degree in this field. This master's degree program can offer emergency and disaster management as an area of concentration or include courses addressing these subjects in its curriculum.

Studies begin by addressing the foundational principles of public health law and management techniques. Students develop a keen awareness for the various ways in which disasters and emergency situations arise, investigating both instances of natural disaster and man-made crisis, such as terrorist attacks. They then learn about methods of response to such situations, factoring in components like personnel recruitment, supply acquisition and methods of aid delivery.

Educational Prerequisites

In order to begin the program, students must have completed a bachelor's degree program in a related discipline. GRE test results must be submitted, and students must complete an interview process, providing a summary of their goals for the program and their career.

Course Topics

Students acquire as much hands-on education as possible, whether through simulated in-class scenarios or internships with emergency relief organizations. The curriculum features such course topics as these:

  • Health management
  • Public health law
  • Health care economics
  • Disaster planning and response
  • Public health emergencies
  • Communication in crisis situations
  • Health risk assessment
  • Psychosocial aspects of disasters
  • Community recovery in health disasters
  • Special needs in emergency response

Popular Career Options

Once they've completed the master's degree program, students can pursue a range of opportunities in management for public health and emergency relief organizations. Potential job titles include these:

  • Emergency response trainer
  • Social service worker
  • Public health consultant

Job Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), social workers were expected to see a 19% increase in employment from 2012-2022, which is faster than the average for all occupations nationally. As of May 2012, the BLS reported that child, family and school social workers earned a median annual salary of $41,530, while mental health and substance abuse social workers earned a median annual salary of $39,980. For the same time period, the BLS reported that healthcare social workers earned a median annual salary of $49,830.

Continuing Education

After completing the master's degree program, students are able to continue their studies at the doctorate level with degree programs such as the Doctor of Philosophy in Disaster Management, where they'll conduct heavy research to determine the best ways to prepare for and prevent various types of disasters.

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