Your Educational Journey, Part 1

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CEM® Corner: Your Educational Journey, Part 1

By Brian V. Bovyn, CEM, Adjunct Faculty, Emergency Management Program, Frederick Community College, Frederick, Maryland

Were you one of the many emergency management professionals left behind when IAEM changed the CEM certification application to a requirement of a baccalaureate degree? If so, now is the time to begin or continue your educational journey toward that goal.

You might be closer to reaching that goal of a bachelor’s degree than you know. Many emergency management professionals have successfully completed some of the Federal Emergency Management Agency Independent Study courses. A wonderful opportunity exists for those individuals who either have already completed FEMA IS courses, or those who would like to, to have college credits applied to an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in emergency management.

Acceptance of FEMA IS Courses for College Credit

Frederick Community College (FCC) has partnered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, allowing FCC to accept many FEMA IS courses for lower division (100-level) college credit. A potential student may convert prior learning to individual FEMA IS course credit for a $76.00 per course credit hour and have those credits transcripted by FCC. The courses transcripted may then be applied to an AAS degree or a certificate in emergency management. The total requirement of college credits to achieve an AAS degree in emergency management is 60-64 credits. Depending upon the number of FEMA IS courses completed for credit and applied to a student’s transcript, a student might be able to complete an AAS degree in emergency management in one to two years, depending upon the number of credits converted.

FCC uses a modular format which combines similar FEMA IS courses, and validates prior knowledge from previously completed FEMA IS courses, in a proctored exam setting in an official college testing center. Up to 24 FEMA IS course credits may be applied toward the 60-64 credit requirement for the associate’s degree. Additionally the student must complete 37-39 credits of general management education or course elective credits. Each student must complete an emergency management related internship to complete the final portion of the degree requirements for graduation.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Not a student in the Maryland/Pennsylvania/Virginia area? No problem, FCC’s Emergency Management Associate’s Degree program requirements can be met through onsite classroom-based instruction or entirely online through distance education. Our students are from all over the United States and from many countries throughout the world. Many of our students are military personnel stationed around the world.
  • Is the college accredited? Absolutely, FCC is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Universities (one of the six regional accrediting bodies affiliated with the U.S. Department of Education).
  • Will the associate’s degree transfer to a four-year college? The answer is maybe. FCC maintains articulation agreements with American Public University, University of Maryland University College, and Charter Oaks State College. Additionally, many other four-year colleges accept credits or an associate’s degree from FCC into their four-year college curriculum. Through alliance partnerships with APU, Charter Oaks State College and University of Maryland University College, the student receives the benefit of predetermined degree acceptance of his or her associate’s degree into the four-year program at the receiving institution. Each college or university has the final say over which credits are accepted into their four-year institution curriculum.
  • How do I complete an emergency management internship to complete my associate’s degree requirements? The internship may be done locally in the Frederick, Md., area or by remote onsite location near the student’s home. The internship is identified by the student with a local company or organization in their area. The student identifies a project that they wish to complete in conjunction with an internship site supervisor and the approval of the Emergency Management Program Manager at Frederick Community College. Upon approval of an internship project, site, and site supervisor, the student is assigned an experienced emergency management faculty mentor, who will receive feedback from student self-assessment and the internship site supervisor. The faculty mentor then assesses all work and assigns a final grade.

A Great Opportunity

This is a great opportunity to not only attain an associate’s degree, but also to gain some useful practical emergency management internship experience in the field, which makes a student more marketable in his or her employment searches and higher education pursuits. Sound exciting? It is! Begin your quest toward your CEM certification by contacting Frederick Community College today at (301) 624-2854, or visit www.frederick.edu/fema for more details.

Author’s Note: Thanks to Kathy Forrest, CEM, Emergency Management Program Manager, Frederick Community College, for contributing to this article.

IAEM Bulletin, May 2011

AEM® and CEM® are registered trademarks of the International Association of Emergency Managers.

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