A bachelor’s degree in emergency management provides graduates with the education and skills needed to keep their communities as safe as possible from the dangers of disasters both natural and man-made. From tornadoes to floods to oil spills, today’s newsreels are replete with stories of disaster, making emergency management an increasingly high-profile career. Continued growth in the field is expected over the coming decades.
Self-directed, strategic-thinking individuals ready to rise to the occasion under even the most adverse of circumstances are strong candidates for filling this in-demand job description. To stand out from a crowd of job applicants, an aspiring emergency management professional will need a solid academic background in addition to career-focused, specialized experience and training.
How to Find the Top Bachelor’s Degree in Emergency Management Programs
When searching for the best bachelor’s degree in emergency management programs, potential students should consider factors such as faculty experience, academic rigor and possible areas of specialization, in addition to the school’s reputation and connections to agencies or institutions in the field. Applied learning opportunities such as internships or capstone projects are of particular value to recent graduates seeking to break into the emergency management field, making programs that encompass these kinds of real-world experiences strong contenders for many prospective degree candidates.
In response to the growing recognition of emergency management and disaster preparedness, several top-ranking universities have developed specialized curricula designed to prepare future professionals in the field. One example is Loyola University, a nationally ranked private university offering a bachelor of science in emergency management degree. Loyola’s emergency management degree track was created with the needs of today’s adult students in mind, with evening and weekend classes and a part-time enrollment option. Students looking for the best online emergency management degree programs have a number of educational possibilities available to them as well. Accredited online programs include the B.S. in Emergency and Disaster Management offered by American Military University. This distance-based university enables military personnel and civilians alike to earn their degrees through an entirely online format.
Careers and Salaries for Individuals with a Bachelor’s Degree in Emergency Management
Bachelor’s degree in emergency management careers can be found in government and military agencies such as NASA and FEMA, and in private sector industries such as the energy and utilities, oil and gas and engineering services industries. Other possible employers include hospitals, universities, local and state governments and community food and housing relief programs. Bachelor’s degree in emergency management salaries and career opportunities can vary depending on location. Possible job titles include emergency management director and emergency management specialist.
Emergency management directors are responsible for planning, implementing and overseeing disaster response and management activities. Their duties include developing and writing response plans, providing disaster preparedness training and creating and adhering to emergency policies and procedures. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that as of 2011, the median annual salary for emergency management directors was $57,720. That same year, the states of North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming had the highest concentration of jobs for emergency management directors, while the states of California, Virginia and Maryland had the highest-paying jobs.
Emergency management specialists ensure adequate disaster preparation within their employing institution or community, with a focus on training and education, public outreach and regulatory compliance. They support and assist with disaster response training, drills and exercises, documentation and public communications. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, emergency management specialists earned a median salary of $52,590 in 2011. The states of Mississippi, South Dakota and North Dakota had the highest concentrations of employed emergency management specialists, while California, Massachusetts and Virginia had the highest-paying jobs. Earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Emergency Management prepares students well for any number of positions in the crucial and growing field of Emergency Management.