This article talks about graduate degree programs in disaster management and their education requirements, coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.
Graduate Programs in Disaster Management
Schools offer graduate degree programs in disaster management as Master of Science (M.S.) in Disaster Medicine and Management, or Emergency Management, and Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) in Disaster Management. The programs are available in on-campus, online, and hybrid delivery formats. Admission criteria may include bachelor’s degrees and certain prerequisite coursework.
Students enrolled in Master of Science (M.S.) in Disaster Medicine and Management, or Emergency Management programs are trained to perform certified emergency manager roles. Core and elective coursework cover subject areas such as terrorism, leadership in disaster mitigation and response, natural disasters, hazardous materials, resource allocation and psychological aspects of disasters.
A practicum course, involving the application of the classroom instruction usually marks the culmination of programs. Students enrolled in Master of Science (M.S.) programs usually complete 30 credits worth of courses within two years. The focus of a Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) in Disaster Management program is on the public health issues relevant to responding and evaluating of disasters, including hazard detection, preparedness, recovery, and containment.
Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree. In some, applicants are required to have completed specific undergraduate courses including college-level statistics or math, English composition, and introductory psychology.
Program coursework aims at professionals currently employed in an emergency or disaster management-related career. Core coursework in the Master of Science (M.S.) and Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) programs commonly cover topic areas such as:
•Emergency trauma and mental health procedures
•Population and social dimensions of disaster
•Communication for emergency and disaster personnel
•Emergency management practices and principles
•Theoretical perspectives in disaster management
•Introduction to natural hazards and toxicology
Program graduates can seek careers as non-governmental and governmental emergency management professionals.
Job and Wage Outlook
In May 2012, emergency management specialists brought in an average annual wage of $56,900. Emergency management directors earned $59,770 on average (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Continuing Education Choices
Program graduates who seek continuing education can seek doctoral degree programs emphasizing disaster management, though few schools offer these, if any. More commonly, schools offer online classes, workshops, and seminars.