Bachelor’s in Emergency Management Program Guide

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July 28, 2021

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A bachelor's degree in emergency management prepares students to plan for and respond to human-made or natural disasters. Individuals interested in directing teams responsible for helping people, animals, and communities in emergency situations often find that this degree leads to a fulfilling and lucrative career.

Most programs specialize in one or more of the many emergency response fields. These include fire, natural disaster, terrorism, emergency medical services, and hazardous material exposure. Students may go on to pursue careers in homeland security, law enforcement, firefighting, government agencies, and nonprofit or private emergency relief organizations.

Between 2019 and 2029, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 4% job growth for emergency management directors, about as fast as the national average for all occupations. These professionals earn a median annual salary of $76,250, with a majority working for local and state government agencies.

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Should I Get a Bachelor's in Emergency Management?

Most scientists agree that the effect of climate change includes longer and more extreme droughts and an increased intensity in storms and flooding. These changes give rise to increasing and more devastating natural disasters and the need for individuals capable of responding to these crises. O*NET Online lists emergency management directors as a bright outlook occupation experiencing rapid growth.

A bachelor's degree in emergency management requires 120-127 credits and takes four years of full-time study to complete.

A bachelor's degree in emergency management requires 120-127 credits and takes four years of full-time study to complete. Students interested in graduating more quickly may consider accelerated online programs.

Graduates find that many roles in emergency management require experience. Pursuing volunteer opportunities and internships can help students gain experience while still in school. After acquiring some work experience, earning certification as a certified emergency manager or associate emergency manager may also lead to increased job prospects and career advancement.

What Will I Learn in an Emergency Management Bachelor's Program?

An emergency management bachelor's program teaches students the skills required to mitigate and respond to disasters. Courses may include crisis management, legal and liability issues, coordinating multiple agencies, risk assessment, and disaster response and recovery. Graduates learn to direct the four components of emergency management: preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation.

Most programs culminate in a capstone project that may involve planning an emergency response for a fictitious disaster or direct experience with an emergency management organization. By the time they graduate, students acquire the critical thinking and decision-making skills needed to respond to emergencies.

Concentrations

Natural Disaster Management and Response

This concentration focuses on disaster risk reduction, prevention, management, and response. Students learn about issues specific to natural disasters, including displacement, medical assistance, and agencies that provide support in these crises.

Fire Services Management

This concentration prepares students to manage fire emergency management agencies. Typical coursework includes fire prevention, controlling catastrophic events, and fire investigation.

Business Continuity

A business continuity concentration prepares students to develop plans for businesses to ensure continuity following a natural, human-made, or technological disaster. Courses cover protecting data and property, mitigating loss of life, and developing plans for various disaster scenarios.

Homeland Security

In addition to the management and response to emergencies, this concentration incorporates intelligence analysis, national defense, and homeland security measures. Students learn how to plan and respond to terrorist attacks, border issues, and other domestic and international threats.

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What Can I Do With a Bachelor's in Emergency Management?

An online bachelor's degree in emergency management prepares students to work in homeland security, business continuity, and disaster management in government, nonprofit, and private industries. Graduates pursue careers in fire service, law enforcement, public health, and organizations responsible for preparing for and responding to natural and human-made disasters.

Graduates may also work in hospitals as emergency preparedness administrators and in electric power plants as business recovery and emergency planners. This degree prepares graduates for leadership roles in the various fields of emergency management.

Popular Career Paths

Emergency Management Director

Emergency management directors work with government agencies and private groups preparing plans to respond to human-made and natural disasters. They organize the emergency response, analyzing resources and prioritizing the response efforts.

Homeland Security Officer

Homeland security officers respond to terrorist attacks and threats as well as other catastrophic events like natural disasters. These professionals ensure the safety and security of the nation's borders, airports, and seaports.

Emergency Response Coordinator

Emergency response coordinators work for emergency medical services, fire and police departments, and other agencies that provide emergency response services. These leaders supervise emergency response efforts for these organizations.

Hospital Emergency Preparedness Administrator

These professionals develop emergency operation plans for hospitals. These plans include a response to emergencies, recovery strategies, and alternate sites for emergency services and treatment.

Popular Continuing Education Paths

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Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

How Much Money Can I Make With a Bachelor's in Emergency Management?

PayScale reports that individuals with a bachelor's degree in emergency management earn an average annual salary of $65,010, while employees working for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security boast an average salary of $80,000. According to the BLS, emergency management directors earn a median annual wage of $76,250.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Emergency Management Programs

Is a bachelor's in emergency management worth it?

Yes. Combined with work experience, a bachelor's degree in emergency management can lead to numerous crisis management positions and a lucrative career. According to the BLS, emergency management directors earn a median annual salary of $76,250, while those that work in professional, scientific, and technical services earn $106,570 per year.

How much does it cost to get a bachelor's in emergency management?

U.S. News & World Report calculates that the total tuition for an online bachelor's degree in emergency management ranges from $25,000-$69,000. The CollegeBoard reports that in-state students pay an average annual tuition of $10,560 for public college, while out-of-state students pay $27,020. The average annual tuition for private schools is $37,650.

Is emergency management a good major?

For individuals interested in preventing and mitigating natural and man made catastrophes, a bachelor's degree in emergency management can lead to a rewarding career. This diverse field leads to opportunities in government, nonprofit, and private institutions as emergency management directors and business continuity planners.

What kind of jobs can I get with a bachelor's in emergency management?

Graduates with a bachelor's degree in emergency management go on to careers in government, nonprofit, and community agencies. These professionals work in numerous roles, including emergency management director, homeland security agent, and hospital emergency administrator, leading communities and organizations through crises.

How long does it take to get a bachelor's in emergency management?

Most bachelor's degrees in emergency management require 120-127 credits and take four years of full-time study to complete. Some online programs offer accelerated options, which can lead to reduced completion times.

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