|Certifications and Degrees|
In 2011, US News and World Report ranked an Emergency Management Specialist as one of the 50 best jobs of the year, indicating that the role "should have strong growth over the next decade." Craig Fugate, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), reports that 50 percent of current emergency management professionals will retire by 2015. With the increasing prevalence of large-scale, complex emergencies across the nation, the landscape for professional emergency management opportunities is ideal for those seeking positions within the discipline. The challenge that new and existing practitioners face in this regard is not all that different from other professional disciplines and that is, in order to be and remain competitive, one needs the right blend of experience, training, and credentials.
The content below is not meant to be a comprehensive reference or single source for those seeking training, certifications, or higher education. Rather, it is meant to provide a perspective on the various aspects within emergency management that informs readers of ways to ensure they position themselves as well-rounded and professional practitioners who are capable both of working effectively within and contributing back to the discipline now and as it continues to evolve.
While many certifications exist outside the emergency management community that may indirectly or directly relate to the discipline, this document intends to focus on the formal certification options available within emergency management for practitioners. Some certifications are foundational in nature and only require completion of online coursework and demonstrated proficiency through passing a multiple choice test. Others require in-residence training. The highest achievable certifications require a combination of in-residence coursework, time spent within the profession, successful completion of comprehensive examinations, essays, and notable contributions within the discipline. Certification options will vary on a per-state basis. Given that the McLean County EMA exists in Illinois, state-level certifications are based on offerings from IEMA and IESMA.
While certifications will not necessarily guarantee hiring for a particular position, they often make job candidates more competitive because they demonstrate a commitment to professionalization within the discipline and convey that the certification holder has met the established education, training, and experience criteria relevant to emergency management for the given certification.
While various levels of higher education degree programs may offer different titles for a degree in the discipline (such as emergency management, crisis and disaster management, disaster management and relief, emergency management and homeland security, etc.), it is important to ensure that the program you choose to pursue:
Understandably, pursuing a higher education degree is a significant time and financial commitment. The outcomes are rewarding and position degree holders competitively for practitioner positions within the discipline. For those wishing to teach emergency management at the college level, a doctorate will be required in almost all cases.
The Emergency Management Institute offers Twelve Important Questions About External Quality Review that individuals should consider before enrolling in a higher education degree program. While this information is linked from EMI's website, it is important to note that the document itself is reprinted from the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
Because degree programs continue to change regularly, it is not feasible to maintain a comprehensive list of available emergency management degrees within this document. However, the Emergency Management Institute regularly updates listings of college and university degree programs in emergency management. Links to each level of degree are provided below.
Several universities within the State of Illinois offer certificate or degree programs in emergency management. Specific information about each program is provided below.
The same caveat should be noted for degree holders as was noted about certifications - degrees will not necessarily guarantee hiring for a particular position. However, they often make job candidates more competitive because they demonstrate a commitment to formal learning within the discipline and convey that the graduate has successfully completed rigorous academic coursework relevant to emergency management.
|Last Updated ( Saturday, 12 July 2014 19:10 )|