I posted in the career section of the website and did not get much of a nibble so I am posting here in the general section. I am looking to do my bachelors in emergency management and am already working on my associates. I have done some city ems and done vol. ambulance and fire plus WSAR. Just looking for a little advice whether or not this is the right direction to go. Looking to do upperlevel planning and disaster mitigation or seen commanding. Hope this is enough info. Your help would be much appreciated to see if going to a school such as Western Carolina University for their EMG bachelors is a good idea.
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Thread: Emergency Management degree/Jobs
11-28-2004, 11:57 AM #1
Emergency Management degree/Jobs
11-28-2004, 04:01 PM #2
I don't have much of an idea about the US job market, but...
I am taking a Masters in Crisis, Risk & Disaster management with the University of Leicester in the UK. I have seen a few people in some very good jobs in the UK with this qualification and I know that FEMA's Emergency management Institute recognises it in their 'Higher degree' program.
Check out the FEMA site for opportunities in the Disaster management arena.
11-28-2004, 09:20 PM #3
- Join Date
- Sep 2004
A degree in EM will not put you in a position to command scenes. You would have to have experience in emergency response and work for the responding agency. A degree in EM may assist you in getting a command position while going through the ranks...but you would not be hired to a command position.
Working for FEMA would put you in a position to do disaster mitigation and planning work, but FEMA does not have an operational command function at disasters...they are there to provide logistical support. You would be located in the EOC and assist in gathering resources for the operational commanders.
11-28-2004, 09:45 PM #4
- Join Date
- Jul 1999
- Flanders, NJ
The most likely first question on the scene commanders exam would be how to properly spell it.
11-29-2004, 09:45 AM #5
What I forgot to say. Any amount of qualifications in this field will not buy a position and more inportantly the respect and expereince that goes with it.
The Qualification is nice, it may open doors, the thing that counts to me...and most in this field is the years on the line gaining the expereince that will allow an individual to make the most of the position they get.
Forgive my bluntness...but if or when I finally gain this qualification it will come on the back of 20 years of ghetto Firefighting, Incident Command, training, experience in emergency management, disaters and terrorism....20 years in any big city will expose an officer to all of these.
This is were I hope they will say they want me, not for the qualification alone but for the experience I bring with it.
Last edited by SteveDude; 11-29-2004 at 09:51 AM.
11-29-2004, 11:27 AM #6
- Join Date
- Apr 2004
- Bossier Parrish, Louisiana
Guess there is a possibility you might be able to land a gig at some level in administrative emergency management planning, especailly with the new emphasis being placed on homeland security/ WMD etc etc..... but as a previuos poster said, a command posititon within most agencies, especially fire and EMS, will only come with time served starting as a firefighter/EMT. It's not a bad card to have in your deck as you work on promotions, but my advice would be to put more effort in getting on a department, then work on your degree once you begin to move up the ranks. Now if you are happy starting in an low or mid-level adminisrative or planning function for either an emergency management agency or community, and that's where your interests lie ... what you are doing sounds like a descent plan.
11-29-2004, 01:20 PM #7
There are all sorts of levels for emergency manament.
I work for my home county as the local "Disaster and Emergency Services Coordinator" which is the local component of the state DES (formerly Civil Defence) system.
We work on everything from drought relief to hazemat responces and onto all of the terrorism BS (Die Osama Die, and then burn in hell) which continues to be a non stop stream of goodies.
I also seek and apply for any and all grants I can to get first repsonder the stuff they need.
While there is less hands on then I like its not bad for government work.
I would sooner work with fire agencies only, but thats does not fit into the all hazards/terrorism direction we are taking.
I have been thinking of trying to get an EM degree/fire administraition degree. I might go for it next fall.
I have my BA in psycology of all things.
I would also like to get onto a incident managment team. A lot of county coordinators I know are on various teams all the way up to type 1. They have done things like the space shuttle recovery, the chicken epidemic, floods, and of course the fun one...WIDLFIRES!!!
Thats what got most of them involved is working major wildfires. There is a push to change wildfire specific teams into all hazard teams. There are not enough people to go around though.
Last edited by SamsonFCDES; 12-01-2004 at 10:33 AM.-Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
-Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.
-Adversity: That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable.
-Despair: Its always darkest before it goes Pitch Black.
11-29-2004, 04:12 PM #8
Thank you for responses. What I am wondering is what type of jobs will I be looking at with a b.s in emergency management. I will say right now I am going this route because I do not really want to do ems work my whole life or spend twenty plus years coming up from firefighter position. I would like to work in emergency management in any field. Some sugestions as to where I might go with this degree would be very helpful. I am 99% sure this is what I want to do I am just trying to make sure I know what I am heading into before it is to late. After doing ems and fire for a few years I realize that this is the area, meaning emergency type situations, I want to be near or involved in. I hope oyu cna get some understanding of what I am trying to say. Well thank you for any response.
11-29-2004, 06:10 PM #9
- Join Date
- Dec 2003
- metro Washingon DC
I thought Brian (LAFDPSO) gave you some excellent information on the other thread.
There are two issues with your education.
Most federal, state and local employers require candidates to possess a bachelor degree for positions that require supervision, leadership, program management or above a certain pay grade.
There are many 40-to-60 year olds who are in the top of their technical game (fire investigation, haz-mat, etc.) who find that the jobs they can get after fire department retirement are much lower on the pay scale than they hoped. They have the knowledge and experience, but may only have a high school diploma.
Getting any four year degree is important to your career success - it gets you in the door to most agencies.
Emergency management is both a fuzzy and "hot" topic in academia. It is hard to define, covers a wide range of topics and - in some areas - benefits from significant federal funding.
See where your federal taxes go - the FEMA higher education project:
Check out the FAQ section for information on emergency management jobs and career paths.
The following link takes you to an Adobe Acrobat version of a 63 slide FEMA powerpoint presentation on the emergency management higher education project:
I cannot tell you what type of job is available when you get your bachelor's degree. There are too many opportunities.
Michael J. Ward, MGA, MIFireE
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine
Emergency Health Services
The George Washington University
Last edited by MikeWard; 11-29-2004 at 06:12 PM.
11-30-2004, 05:35 AM #10
I do not really want to do ems work my whole life or spend twenty plus years coming up from firefighter position.
- Join Date
- Jul 1999
- Flanders, NJ
Sorry, bud. You earn your stripes in this business. You should be commended for seeking a degree, but you need to get cold and wet and dirty to run the show in this field. Your best route to a "seen commander" job will be a rapid change in attitude.
11-30-2004, 01:56 PM #11
Well said George.
Good luck to anyone who can get on well in any field by playing the game and having doors open...I think of young very Rich Wall Street/City of London brokers....
They have balls and the courage to get out there and make a killing....but they don't deal in people's lives. Despite arguments from around the globe by modern thinkers telling us that leadership and command can be taught....it can't FACT!!!
People have to have been exposed to a whole host of problems to be able to stand up and be counted...i.e be a real leader when the chips are down. I can think of people in my own FD who have made some very hard decisions, held ot together and been vindicated.
As an example a London Station Officer (Captain) who when faced with a massive rail disaster in West London in 1999 told his crews to "let the train burn, get some water on it but help those who we can save" He could have lived or died by that, in the end, the inquest's and subsequent enquiry vindicated him...he saved many lives, the 27 on the train were beyong help!
I also think of Chief Hayden on september 11th 2001, having seen two Buildings and thousadns of people on 'his patch' collapse into dust, he was able (Iam reliably informed) to find it in himself to drag himself on top of a Fire truck and begin to reassemble the torn remains of the FDNY back into a Fire & Rescue Force.
Looking at those examples...one of a rail disaster that could unfold in any place in the world, the other the worst terrorist attack known to man....These people and countless others delivered in an instant....I truly believe only conditioning 'in the field' allows the character of such leaders to develop and make those decisions.
As stated earlier, I know a lot of people in the Emergency Management field, some very well qualified with very good jobs....I won't be looking for them the day (God Forbid) Disaster strikes London again.
Last edited by SteveDude; 11-30-2004 at 01:58 PM.
11-30-2004, 02:07 PM #12
- Join Date
- May 2000
- Memphis, TN
Sometimes better "seen" and not "heard."
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