CPACS now offering a degree in emergency management


By Jackson Booth, Contributor

Beginning in the Fall 2012 semester, the College of Public Affairs and Community Service (CPACS) will offer a new bachelor of science degree in Emergency Management. According to Professor Patrick O’Neil, the program was developed over a two-year period by UNO professors in various departments.    
Nebraska’s Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education approved the Emergency Management degree last spring.
In simple terms, emergency management specialists (EMS) create emergency evacuation plans, train appropriate persons in those plans, and work with federal, state,  and local authorities  (like the Federal Emergency Management Agency) to ensure all emergency evacuations are executed properly.
After 9-11, and numerous other widespread natural disasters, the need for more trained professionals in the emergency management field has soared.
“The field of Emergency Management is rapidly evolving and needs more people with academic training in the profession,” John Bartle, CPACS acting dean said. “Salaries are good, and locating this program in the nationally-ranked School of Public Administration provides a solid foundation for future development.”
U.S. News named EMS as one of the top 50 jobs in 2011. Since the need is great, the opportunity for individuals wanting positions in Emergency Management is exponential. One of the other great aspects of obtaining a job in this field, is the salary.
The average pay of EMS workers in 2009 was $53,000 according to U.S. News. In California, the average salary was $78,000.
In order to obtain a degree, students will be required to complete 120 credit hours: 47 hours of general education courses, 13 hours of electives, 30 hours of core Emergency Management courses, and 30 additional Emergency Management courses. Students will also take courses depending on their choice of concentration in Fire Services, Public Administration, Criminal Justice, IS&T, and Aviation. 24 students are enrolled in the Introduction to Emergency Management course this fall. In the future, CPACS expects to have approximately 100 students enrolled in the program, O’Neil said.
With the development of these new courses, CPACS has to meet the need in providing instructors to teach them.
“Right now the courses will be taught by current university faculty within the School of Public Administration, supported by new adjunct faculty with the expectation that we will add permanent positions as the program expands,” O’Neil said.
This is the first degree program of its kind at the Nebraska University system. This is why UNO administrative officials and professors, like O’Neil, find the need to train students in this field is crucial.
“This is the first four year degree program in Emergency Management within the University of Nebraska system,” O’Neil said. “These positions serve a vital purpose in protecting citizens of Nebraska.”