Consisting of coursework in homeland security, disaster preparedness and hazard management strategies, crisis management degree programs prepare students for professional roles, such as those of emergency management directors and industrial emergency planners.
High school diploma or GED, solid background in social sciences, physical sciences and communication are required to enter a bachelor's degree program. The bachelor's degree in disaster and crisis management, and relevant work experience, is then required for master's degree program admission. They take about four years and two years to complete, respectively.
Bachelor of Science in Disaster and Crisis Management
A bachelor's degree program in crisis management provides students with the educational background and professional training necessary to work as emergency responders, homeland security officers and other forms of public safety personnel. Students enrolled in such a program learn the basics of emergency preparedness, response and recovery plans. They also learn to handle victims of disasters, manage hazardous materials and plan for potential crises.
A bachelor's degree program in crisis management often contains practical courses that teach students to directly handle current and future crisis situations. Some examples of classes are listed below:
- Hazardous materials management
- Environmental crises
- Contemporary issues in crisis management and disaster preparedness
- Organizational development and strategic planning
- Communications in emergency management
- Public safety
Master of Science in Disaster and Crisis Management
Graduate programs in disaster and crisis management provide students with a more in-depth look at the organizational systems and principles that can affect crisis management action plans. Students enrolled in these programs explore the most effective ways to oversee disaster preparation programs, execute recovery plans, organize new administrative policies and update occupational health and safety standards.
Many of the courses included in a master's degree program in crisis management deal with strategy and organizational policies. Some of these might include:
- Organizational leadership and crisis management
- Politics, power and influence in crisis management
- Organizational ethics
- Hazard management and environmental issues
- Contemporary issues in disaster preparedness
- Disaster preparation strategies
Popular Career Options
Graduates of master's degree programs in crisis management can pursue advanced positions with local, state or federal security agencies, as well as seeking employment with private organizations. Some available positions might include:
- Emergency management specialist
- Industrial emergency planner
- Crisis management specialist
- Hostage negotiator
- Safety policy administrator
- Hazardous material safety specialist
Career and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), emergency management directors held about 9,900 jobs in 2018. Many of these individuals worked for local or state government agencies, hospitals, emergency relief organizations or power distribution centers. The median annual wage for emergency management directors in 2018 was $74,420.
In order for emergency personnel to respond swiftly and efficiently to crises and disasters, they need an educated and experienced manager. Bachelor's and master's degree programs in crisis management can provide individuals with that education.