Those who can keep a calm state of mind, and strong organizational and communication skills during a crisis are fit to work as an emergency response unit. An Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree will provide the training needed in emergency management, but a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree is the final step required to begin a career.
A.A.S. Programs in Emergency Management
Students enrolled in an associate’s degree program in emergency management learn to address the practical challenges faced when one tries to contain or minimize the impact of an emergency situation. Program coursework focuses on public education, planning and prevention.
Students can expect to become adept at making decisions, communicating and following response procedures for various incidents, such as natural disasters, hazardous material spills, acts of terrorism and accidents. It typically takes two years to complete an associate’s degree program.
Admission criteria in an associate’s degree program typically require applicants to hold a high school diploma or GED certificate. Prospective students are expected in some programs to have work experience in health care, corrections or public safety.
General education coursework in an associate’s degree program covers classes in sociology, composition, computer fundamentals and public speaking. Coursework includes topic areas such as:
•Disaster and emergency response procedures
•Operations center management
•Emergency planning and prevention
Job and Wage Outlook
Those who successfully complete an associate’s degree program in emergency management can seek a few entry-level roles as public safety assistants or assistant emergency management specialists in the private or public sector.
A job growth of over 20% has been predicted for emergency management specialists during the period from 2008 to 2018 (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)); however, job aspirants for the positions could face stiff competition. In May 2009, emergency management specialists earned an average annual wage of $52,590 (BLS).
Continuing Education Choices
Employers for a majority of positions in emergency management expect job aspirants to hold at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field. Many schools allow transferring credits, earned in an associate’s degree program, toward enrollment in a four-year degree program, which usually lasts half the time span.