Crisis Leadership Training Program Overview

Oct 21, 2019

Essential Information

Undergraduate certificates in disaster management can be completed in as little as 8 weeks or as much as 2 semesters, and would require a high school diploma or its equivalent for admission. Students may also have the opportunity to gain credit from an internship. Online options may also be available in certain programs.

Graduate certificate programs are also available in disaster management. Such programs can take 1 or 2 years to complete and online options may be available within those programs. An applicant is typically required to hold a bachelor's degree for admission, but additionally, some graduate certificate programs are meant for individuals who already work in specific industries, like nursing.

Bachelor's degree holders can earn voluntary certification through the International Association of Emergency Managers.

Undergraduate Certificate in Disaster Management

Students in these programs learn how best to identify resources as well as how public policy affects disaster response. Some programs allow students to declare concentrations in topics like industry management or homeland security. Programs require applicants to have finished high school or earned a GED. Over the course of these programs, students build the skills they need for scenarios in which they are tasked with preventing loss of life and damage to property. Topics that might be included in the curricula are:

  • Emergency management technology
  • Risk communications
  • Hazard mitigation
  • Safety administration
  • Social vulnerability, post-disaster

Graduate Certificate in Disaster Management

Students in these programs prepare to detect, counter and contain damage after floods, earthquakes, terrorist attacks and hazardous materials spills. Training in social work, nursing, business and psychology all help students prepare for advanced careers in hazard mitigation, disaster planning and homeland security. Core curriculum preparing students to help communities restore a sense of normality in the wake of disasters may include:

  • Allocation of natural resources
  • Crisis communication
  • Humanitarian assistance
  • Disaster policy
  • Toxicology

Popular Career Options

Because collaboration among professionals from a variety of disciplines is needed to ensure the safety of the public, emergency management training is relevant to a wide range of professions. Possible career paths for graduate certificate program graduates include:

  • Private security officer
  • Policeman
  • Fireman
  • Community service organization administrator

Continuing Education Information

Master's and doctoral programs in disaster science and management or public safety leadership are available. Advanced training in the protection of populations by locating and redirecting existing resources includes work in physical security, intelligence analysis, logistics and technology.

Employment Outlook

Learning continuity planning - before a disaster wreaks havoc on modern life - prepares graduates for private sector employment as well as careers in the various levels of government. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for emergency management directors was expected to grow 5% from 2018-2028 ( These professionals also earned an annual median salary of $74,420, as per the BLS.

Certification and Continuing Education Information

Certification as an Associate Emergency Manager (AEM) is available through the IAEM or the International Association of Emergency Managers ( Non-college graduates who can prove both 100 hours of management training as well as 100 hours of practical emergency management experience are eligible for this credential.

Applicants must write an essay and pass a multiple-choice exam consisting of 100 questions. Certification lasts for a 5-year period; recertification requires that candidates document a certain amount of continuing education hours and contributions to the field of emergency management within the past five years.

Associate and bachelor's degree programs are available for those interested in a degree in emergency management. Some online training programs are open to working public safety professionals who are interested in career advancement. Bachelor's program graduates are able to apply for the Certified Emergency Manager credential through the IAEM.

Students who want to dedicate their careers to helping communities during times of crisis can benefit from a certificate in disaster management. These programs, which cover all aspects of crisis leadership, are offered at both the undergraduate and the graduate level.

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