Why get an Emergency Management Degree?

Emergency Management firefighter employee
Emergency Management firefighter employee

There may be more glamorous work than emergency management, but few jobs are as rewarding in terms of their direct positive impact on society as a whole.

Pull Quote- Master of Public Safety

Human-induced climate change has been linked to increasing numbers of natural disasters, from hurricanes to droughts to wildfires, while the twin threats of domestic and global terrorism continue to foment public unease. Despite its safety relative to the rest of the world, Canada has suffered numerous disasters over the past few decades, and would surely have suffered many more were it not for the behind-the-scenes work of public safety and disaster response specialists.

Wilfrid Laurier University’s online graduate diploma in emergency management is training new generations of leaders in the field in order to ensure that Canadians remain safe from ever-evolving threats to our stability. If you have an interest in working to help keep your fellow citizens safe, read on to learn more about the nature of emergency management degrees.

What is an emergency management degree?

While emergency response is more likely to garner headlines and photo ops, by far the larger part of the task of keeping the public safe from natural and man-made disasters is the ongoing, ever-evolving work of planning for such contingencies. Having an understanding of potential threats; vulnerable populations and infrastructure; and modern resource management strategies is critical to preventing or mitigating the impact of emergencies.

An emergency management degree teaches students the principles of disaster preparedness; how to coordinate public, private, nonprofit and community response to catastrophe; and how to put these concepts into action when the worst happens.

An effective curriculum will examine risk assessment theory; teach students how to design effective original responses to potential challenges; outline barriers to more efficient disaster preparedness; and examine how emergency management experts can contribute to recovery efforts.

How do you get an emergency management degree?

Disaster and emergency management degrees are conferred by accredited academic institutions. In Canada, emergency management degrees are mostly divided between one-year collegiate certificate programs and one-year postgraduate diplomas like that offered by Laurier. Those offered by universities tend to carry more prestige than their college equivalents and are geared to those with an eye on senior management positions.

There are both online and in-class options depending on the school you choose, and your certification is earned through coursework. Admissions standards vary by institution, but generally, graduate diplomas will require either a combination of professional experience and an undergraduate degree, or the equivalent in work experience alone.

What jobs are available with an emergency management degree?

Career possibilities for those with emergency management diplomas are diverse, as no individual or institution is completely insulated from the effects of a disaster. The skills you will develop through your education will prepare you to take on a variety of positions which require expertise in emergency management planning, engaging with community partners and putting a strategy into action. Positions are prevalent in both private industry and the public service, with many students having spent significant time working in policing, firefighting, emergency services or security.

Here are a few examples of jobs you can pursue with an emergency management degree:

  • Emergency Management Coordinator
  • Risk Management and Patient Safety
  • Campus Safety Coordinator
  • Director of Security
  • Strategic Planning Analyst
  • Regional Emergency Measures Officer
  • Emergency Program Coordinator
  • Senior Emergency Planning Officer

Check out our other blog posts on How Does Emergency Management Education Benefit EMS Workers and How Can Firefighters Benefit From Emergency Management Education?