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Information on Master’s Degree Programs in Emergency Management

Majors Overview October 29, 2015

This article talks about master’s degree programs in emergency management and their education requirements, coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education and professional certification choices.

Master’s Programs in Emergency Management

Students who wish to gain an education about the basic of emergency preparedness and response would benefit by enrolling in master’s degree programs in emergency management. In these programs, advanced techniques for acts of terrorism, disasters in the workplace, and management of natural disasters are explored. The programs entail completion of research and participation in disaster simulations to prepare graduates for real-world experiences. Schools often expect students to complete a final research project.

Students may sometimes be able to complete these programs, which usually require 30 credit hours, wholly through online study. Graduates may seek employment in both private and public sectors, the program may qualify them to receive professional certification in the field.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree in a related field, in addition to meeting an undergraduate GPA standard and submitting a personal essay. In some schools, applicants are also required to submit academic and professional references, and to have demonstrated contributions to the field and many years of work experience. They are also required to submit scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).


Program coursework covers classes in emergency theories and management, in addition to subject areas such as the psychology and sociology of disasters, including the disaster’s effects on communities, and studies in trauma. Programs impart practical experience with a final practicum or project. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Humanitarian efforts
•Explosion and fire recovery
•Rescue and recovery
•Homeland Security
•Ethics in emergency management

Career Choices

Program graduates can choose from numerous career options in government agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). They may choose from possible job positions such as:

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

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2010 – 2020 decade, a 7% job growth rate has been predicted for police and detectives (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In May 2012, these professionals brought in an average annual wage of $57,770. During the same period, emergency management directors and emergency management specialists earned respective median annual wages of $64,730 and $56,900 (BLS).

Continuing Education and Professional Certification Choices

The International Association of Emergency Managers offer certifications that may be availed by program graduates. To qualify for the Certified Emergency Manager designation, candidates must have relevant work experience and hold a bachelor’s degree, an exam is also a requirement. Re-certification is a requirement every five years. Graduates seeking careers in research or academia can enroll in a Ph.D. degree program in Emergency Management or Public Safety.

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