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Degrees in Disaster Management


Disaster management is a new cross-disciplinary field that prepares individuals to manage crisis situations at the local, state, national and international levels. Post-event evaluations after recent terrorist attacks and natural disasters have demonstrated the need for specially trained professional leaders to manage such situations. Disasters are huge events that overwhelm a community's ability to respond to and manage situations. Disaster management professionals must be able to rapidly and efficiently manage and mobilize resources, people and transportation in situations that are extremely stressful and politically sensitive.

Disaster management includes prevention, preparedness, response, business continuity and recovery. Disaster management professionals must be able to think critically, solve problems creatively and quickly, communicate well and manage crisis situations. They work with local, state and federal agencies, military personnel, law enforcement, fire and rescue, health services and volunteer organizations.

Education in disaster management runs the full spectrum from non-degree certificates to associate degrees, bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees. Many disaster management professionals hold prior degrees in law enforcement, public health and safety, fire science and similar disciplines. Disaster management education gives them additional knowledge and skill in dealing with:

  • Terrorism
  • Natural disasters
  • Homeland security
  • Border, coastal and port security
  • Chemical, biological and radiation hazards
  • Weapons of mass destruction
  • Explosives
  • Mass casualties
  • Population displacement
  • Command and leadership

Several career paths exist in disaster management. Individuals who obtain certificates and associate degrees will learn to function as part of a multi-disciplinary team to provide disaster management services in a community. They will help evaluate disaster readiness, implement disaster prevention and mitigation measures, conduct disaster drills and be part of the response team.

Men and women with Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Disaster Management will provide leadership for disaster management agencies, enact policies, assume responsibility for disaster preparedness and assume command in disaster situations.

Those with advanced degrees oversee emergency and disaster management organizations, teach, consult, conduct research, and provide leadership in large scale and international disasters.

Most disaster management professionals are employed by local, state or federal governmental agencies. Others are employed in law enforcement, fire safety and public health. There is a growing need for disaster management professionals at the international level, working with humanitarian agencies and non-governmental organizations to manage situations that threaten international or global safety and security.

Why get a disaster management degree online?

Online education is an ideal way for working professionals to continue their education. Work schedules and personal commitments make it difficult for these individuals to attend a regular class at a specific time. Many of these professionals work more than 40 hours a week and many are on call at times, making their availability unpredictable. Online education is available when and where you are, so it fits into your busy schedule more easily.

Online courses are designed for working adult learners. They take advantage of the special ways adults learn best, so you'll learn faster and retain more of the information. Adults work on teams and in groups, and online learning allows you to learn that way, too. Many classes include forums, chat rooms and group projects to facilitate interaction with students and faculty members.

One of the most important reasons to choose online learning for your disaster management degree is that disaster management professionals are an international community. Online learning facilitates interacting with people from all over the world and sharing knowledge on a global level.

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