Individuals who have a knack for organization and who thrive in stressful situations might look to enroll in a bachelor's degree program in emergency and disaster management, which may also be known as crisis management. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, emergency management directors often need at least a bachelor's degree before they can obtain a position in the field. Such a program should prepare graduates for careers in public safety, emergency response management or even public administration. Internships or other practical field projects with federal, state or local organizations are required for graduation in this degree program.
A high school diploma or GED is typically all that is required for admission. Some programs may require an associate's degree or completed college coursework.
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Bachelor's Degrees in Emergency and Disaster Management
Training in difficult environmental conditions and infrastructural situations is often included so that students are fully prepared to work in the field. They learn how to assess risks and vulnerabilities and to oversee resource distribution and emergency health services in disaster-stricken areas. They may learn about various catastrophes that have occurred worldwide and study the types of and effectiveness of corresponding responses and recovery procedures.
Students develop strong leadership, communication and critical thinking skills essential to crisis management in chemical, technological, biological and other kinds of disaster situations. They learn to work with disaster and emergency agencies, rescue professionals, disaster victims and government agencies. Programs often collaborate with institutions such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Students can enroll in business, economics, political science and psychology courses to supplement their core curriculum in disaster and emergency management. Classes in accounting, statistics and business management may also be required. Some of the core topics that students often study are:
- Disaster management technology
- Emergency management policies
- Information systems technology
- Community disaster recovery
- Weapons of mass destruction and related disasters
- Integrated emergency management
Popular Career Options
Graduates of disaster and emergency management programs may work for government agencies. They may also find employment with nonprofit organizations or private enterprises. They could seek employment in careers such as:
- Public safety officer
- Hazardous materials manager
- Emergency planner
- Business continuity planner
Continuing Education Information
Emergency and disaster management professionals may apply to become a Certified Emergency Manager through the International Association of Emergency Managers. An applicant for certification must have a bachelor's degree plus a minimum of work experience and training, pass a test and provide references. Graduates with bachelors' degrees in emergency management may have reduced work experience and training requirements.
Students who enroll in the bachelor's degree program in emergency and disaster management will learn about disaster prevention through courses such as emergency management policies and community disaster recovery. Students can find jobs as an emergency planner or a public safety officer with this degree and can also seek certification to improve employment prospects.