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Degree Overview: Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Emergency and Disaster Management

Majors Overview March 9, 2015

Students enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs in emergency and disaster management are taught about collaborating with organizations, communities, and other professionals for designing and managing appropriate procedures related to responses to disaster and emergency conditions. Emergency and disaster management programs are commonly referred to as crisis management programs.

Information on Emergency and Disaster Management Degree Programs

Those with organization skills and an aptitude for crisis management would benefit by enrolling in bachelor’s degree programs in emergency and disaster management. Coursework in the program is devised to provide graduates with the training necessary for seeking entry-level careers in emergency response management, public safety, or even public administration. Employers for emergency management director positions usually require candidates to hold at least a bachelor’s degree.

Related Programs

Schools also offer other programs suitable to the needs of aspiring public safety officials, including:

•Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Fire Science
•Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Public Administration
•Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Law Enforcement
•Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Crisis Management

Bachelor’s Programs in Emergency and Disaster Management

Coursework in a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Crisis and Disaster Management or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Emergency and Disaster Management degree program is devised to train students in disaster recovery, disaster response, counter-terrorism, forensics, public safety protocols, emergency preparedness, and disaster prevention.

The program often includes training in difficult infrastructural situations and environmental conditions aimed at preparing students to work in the field. They are taught about assessing vulnerabilities and risks and about overseeing emergency health services and resource distribution in disaster-stricken areas. They may learn about a variety of global catastrophes and the types and effectiveness of corresponding recovery procedures and responses.
Students hone the strong critical thinking, communication, and leadership skills necessary for managing crises in numerous emergency situations, including biological, technological, and chemical ones. They are trained to seek work with government agencies, disaster victims, rescue professionals, and disaster and emergency agencies.

Students commonly collaborate with institutions such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Students enrolled in the program may be required to complete internships or other practical field projects with local, state, or federal organizations.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma. Students may require an associate’s degree or a substantial number of college credits earned through general education courses.


Students may be required to supplement the core coursework in disaster and emergency management with psychology, political science, economics, and business courses. They may also be required to complete classes in business management, statistics, and accounting. Core coursework may include topic areas such as:

•Weapons of mass destruction and related disasters
•Community disaster recovery
•Information systems technology
•Integrated emergency management
•Emergency management policies
•Disasters and communities
•Disaster management technology
•Human resource management

Career Choices

Those who complete disaster and emergency management programs may seek employment with government agencies, in addition to private enterprises or nonprofit organizations. They could aim for job positions such as:

•Business continuity planner
•Emergency planner
•Hazardous materials manager
•Public safety officer

Continuing Education Choices

Emergency and disaster management professionals may seek professional certification, such as the International Association of Emergency Managers’ Certified Emergency Manager credential. Minimum specified work experience, a bachelor’s degree, and passage of a test along with the provision of references would qualify a candidate to apply for certification. Holders of a bachelor’s degree in emergency management may have reduced training and work experience requirements for certification.

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