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Distance Learning Certificates and Degrees in Disaster Management

A number of schools offer online degrees and certificates in disaster management or in the related field of emergency management. To find out about these programs, distance learning methods and coursework, keep reading.

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Overview of Programs

Online degrees and certificates in this field of study are available from several public and private four-year institutions. These programs are designed for both aspiring professionals in the disaster management field and experienced professionals seeking career advancement. Students could be able to complete programs in disaster management through fully online learning; however, some schools might require internships to help students get real-world experience.

Certificate in Disaster Management

Certificate programs in disaster management are shorter than degree programs. Certificates can often be earned either on a stand-alone basis or as part of a larger degree program. The exact requirements to enter a certificate program will vary with the institution offering the program; some may require no previous college-level education while others may require students to have completed some undergraduate work. Some examples of course topics that could be part of a distance learning certificate program in disaster management include:

  • Emergency management
  • Terrorism
  • Disaster recovery
  • Disaster sustained operations
  • Disaster operations planning

Bachelor's Degree in Disaster Management

A four-year bachelor's degree program in disaster management is more comprehensive than a certificate program. Students pursue a major in disaster management in addition to taking their school's general education requirements. Students seeking a bachelor's degree in disaster management often hope to pursue a career within the field and may find employment with local, state and federal governments. Course topics in a distance learning bachelor's program in disaster management include:

  • Emergency management system
  • Social dimensions of disaster
  • Emergency planning
  • Risk assessment
  • Hazard mitigation
  • Disaster response and recovery operations
  • Homeland security

Master's Degree in Disaster Management

For students looking to advance to the next level in their careers, a two-year master's degree in disaster management offers an opportunity to improve their knowledge and learn the most up-to-date theories and practices in disaster management. A graduate degree is often a requirement for upper-level planning, administration and implementation positions in disaster management organizations. Individuals interested in these programs must have a bachelor's degree and possibly relevant work experience to be eligible for admission.

Distance learning master's degree programs in disaster management often give students the flexibility to continue working while they pursue an advanced degree. Some common course topics in a master's degree in disaster management distance learning program include:

  • Evaluating service delivery systems
  • Values and ethics
  • Hazards and disasters economics
  • Management strategies
  • Organizational and municipal planning

How Online Learning Works

Distance learning programs differ from traditional, on-campus programs in that the learning doesn't take place in a classroom environment. Rather, students study materials, view lectures, read assignments and complete assessments outside of the classroom. These programs take advantage of computer technology and offer some portions of the class in an online environment. Online coursework may include readings, discussions and quizzes.

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