What You Should Know About This Degree
Being successful in emergency management requires the right blend of skills, education, and experience. Emergency management personnel are often required to work long hours in stressful situations. Their work may take them to dangerous or remote locations. They must demonstrate leadership, collaborate, make decisions, and communicate clearly in complex and high-pressure situations.
A degree in emergency management provides the theoretical framework for this career. However, real-life experience is also critical in developing the skills emergency management personnel need, and employers seek. Some programs require internships that give students hands-on experience. You can also work or volunteer as a firefighter, emergency medical technician, paramedic, or in a similar role, to put into practice the skills you learn in your degree program.
Depending on the job you want, on-the-job training may be more beneficial than a degree. Carefully consider your intended career path, and whether a degree is essential to achieving your goals.
You can also obtain professional credentials to confirm your expertise in the field. The International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) grants the Associate Emergency Manager (AEM) and Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) certificates to emergency management professionals. To earn these credentials, you must pay fees, pass an examination, document experiential hours, and complete continuing education requirements for periodic recertification.
Here are some questions to ask when researching Online Emergency Management programs:
- Does the program have in-person requirements? Even if all coursework can be completed online, some emergency management programs also have in-person experiential learning requirements. This will help you apply your theoretical knowledge in a practical setting. Find out what, if any, experiential learning requirements the program has, and make sure you are able to fit them into your schedule.
- Does this program offer the concentration I want? There are a number of focus areas within emergency management, including occupational safety, public health, and homeland security. If you are interested in concentrating in a particular area, make sure you select a program that offers that concentration option.
When researching programs, take a look at their admission requirements and deadlines. It will make your application process easier if you have all of your materials gathered and submitted well ahead of the application deadline. If you have questions about the admissions requirements or processes, contact the school’s admissions department for guidance.
Funding your education is another important consideration. Get information about institutional and private scholarships, financial aid, assistantships, and employer tuition assistance benefits, if you are currently working.