Masters Degree in Emergency Management: Program Overview

Master's degree programs in emergency management provide the theoretical and practical training students need for work in the field. Get more information about prerequisites, graduation requirements, and future options for graduates.

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Essential Information

Master's degree programs in emergency management teach students the fundamentals of emergency preparedness and response. Students explore advanced techniques for managing natural disasters, acts of terrorism and disasters in the workplace. They also participate in disaster simulations that prepare them for real-world experiences. Prior to graduation, students are usually required to submit a final research project.

In order to apply to one of these programs, students must hold a bachelor's degree in a related field, sometimes with a minimum undergraduate GPA. Other application materials include professional and academic references, a personal essay, and GMAT or GRE scores. Some programs also require students to have several years of work experience and demonstrated contributions to the field.

Master's Degree in Emergency Management

Master's degree candidates take courses in emergency theories and management. Programs also cover the sociology and psychology of disasters, including studies in trauma and the effects disasters have on communities. These programs usually require about 30 credit hours and can sometimes be completed entirely online. Typical classes include:

  • Homeland security
  • Rescue and recovery
  • Humanitarian efforts
  • Ethics in emergency management
  • Fire and explosion recovery

Popular Career Options

A career in emergency management can lead to employment in a number of professions. Many emergency managers work for government agencies, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Department of Homeland Security. Possible job titles include:

  • Crisis management specialist
  • Police officer
  • Firefighter
  • First responder
  • Hazardous materials specialist

Career Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the number of police and detective jobs was predicted to grow 4% from 2014-2024, which is slower than average. These professionals earned a mean yearly wage of $61,270 in May 2015. Emergency management directors took in an average salary of $73,750 per year in May 2015.

Professional Certification and Continuing Education Information

Graduates may obtain certification through the International Association of Emergency Managers. In order to be considered for the Certified Emergency Manager designation, candidates are required to have a bachelor's degree and relevant work experience; they must also pass an exam. Certified professionals must apply for recertification every five years. Graduates interested in academic and research pursuits may choose to further their education through a Ph.D. program in public safety or emergency management.

Overall, students who want to dedicate their careers to crisis prevention, response, and recovery can gain the skills they need by earning a master's degree in emergency management. With this degree, they are also qualified for professional certification or doctoral degree programs in the field.

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