Emergency Personnel huddled in a circle during a meeting.

Emergency Management
Earn a certificate in Emergency Management from Auburn University using the convenience of online learning.

Emergency Management is the managerial function charged with creating the framework within which communities reduce vulnerability to hazards and cope with disasters. The profession seeks to promote safer, less vulnerable communities with the capacity to cope with hazards and disasters by coordinating and integrating all activities necessary to build, sustain, and improve the capability to protect and mitigate against, prepare for, respond to, and recover from threatened or actual natural disasters, acts of terrorism, or other man-made disasters 1. Underpinning this goal is risk-informed planning and decision making that produces integrated, coordinated, and synchronized plans for the community 2.

Likewise, when business is disrupted, it can cost money. Lost revenues plus extra expenses means reduced profits. Insurance does not cover all costs and cannot replace customers that defect to the competition. A business continuity plan to continue business is essential 3. Currently in the United States, more that 60% of businesses do not have disaster response or business continuity plans.

Emergency Management leverages the Whole Community. Under this approach, the full capacity of the private and nonprofit sectors, including businesses, faith-based and disability organizations, and the general public, in conjunction with the participation of local, tribal, state, territorial, and Federal governmental partners, organize and strengthen their assets, capacities, and interests in the face of all hazards 4.

Quick Facts about the Program

Earn the Emergency Management certificate by completing a minimum of five (5) courses. Individuals enrolled in the Emergency Management Certificate program must complete four specified core courses as well as one elective. Courses may be taken individually and independently from the Emergency Management Certificate.

Designed to meet the specialized needs of:

  • Governmental Managers and Leaders
  • Elected Officials
  • Individuals employed by Governmental entities
  • Individuals employed in the Public Sector
  • Private and Non-Profit Sectors
  • Faith-Based Organizations
  • Disability Organizations
  • Businesses
  • General Public
2023 Online Schedule for Core EM courses:

This course is designed to help those currently in roles of public responsibility develop a deeper understanding of how to address some newly emerging challenges in homeland security and emergency management, challenges that have been unfolding since 2001 and continue to unfold in 2011 and beyond. The course will be of particular interest to those already in practitioner or policymaking roles, while also being of interest to those preparing for such roles. Those developing and teaching homeland security and emergency management courses in academia will also find the course of value.

This course has been designed to increase overall awareness and understanding concerning the implications of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. The course is designed to introduce those taking the course to a wide array of accompanying issues and concerns relevant to homeland security and emergency management in a post 9/11, post Katrina world.

2023 Online Schedule for Elective EM Courses:

The Covid-19 pandemic has emerged as a major area of concern nationally and globally. There are greatly differing views regarding all aspects of the Covid-19 pandemic. There are greatly differing views regarding all aspects of the Covid-19 pandemic. There are similarly widely differing approaches to understanding the disease process involving the prevention of the spread of the virus and the progression of the disease.

The focus of this course is on the drug abuse, addiction, and opioid crisis ~ a public health disaster that is currently besieging the nation. The words in the course title are based on the wording of the mandate of The President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. Over the past several years, this crisis has emerged as a significant area of concern in the emergency management field. In 2018, many see the problem as having reached critical proportions. The objective of the course is to study the nature and scope of the problem and its causes and possible cures. Strategies, policies, and approaches designed to address this public health disaster will be explored. Lessons learned from the past efforts by the U.S. and other nations to address similar public health crises will be identified and the applicability of these lessons to the current crisis will be discussed.


Each certificate course is $400.00 per registrant. The course fee does not include the cost of the required text books.


Written refund requests received no later than seven days prior to the program will result in a refund of fees less a $25 administration charge. Refund requests received after that cannot be honored. A substitute participant may be designated in place of a registrant who cannot attend. Auburn University and the Office of Professional & Continuing Education reserve the right to cancel, postpone, or combine workshop sections, to limit registration, or to change instructors or speakers.

For more information regarding this Certificate Program please call 334-844-5100.

Dr. Paula D. Gordon    Dr. Jack Sariego    Chance Corbett

Certificate Program Participant Endorsements

The following recent endorsements are from participants in courses in the Emergency Management Certificate Program taught by Dr. Gordon:

From a Federal official with responsibilities for emergency management and emergency planning:

I think this is a great course.

I would recommend for anyone involved in the emergency management field or involved with emergency planning.

I would definitely want my staff to take this course.

From an official of a large university with responsibilities for campus-wide Public Safety Information & Education:

This course has really helped me realize the impact on planning and preparedness of the differences in catastrophic and non-catastrophic events, and has helped me feel more equipped to address the planning challenges related to catastrophic events. In the past, I have focused mainly on technical and operational issues, but I can now see the importance of the broader perspective… It has also really emphasized to me the importance of understanding complex problems and the value of generalists, who can lead multi-disciplinary teams of experts in finding solutions to these complex problems that we face in emergency management today.

From a Retired Military Officer currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Emergency Management:

This course has shown me that there is so much information available if you simply look or ask for it. One of the main things I took away from this course is that flexibility is absolutely essential. There are so many variables that it is impossible to plan for every single situation. Even disasters that are classified the same, such as earthquakes, are very different as pointed out by Timothy Manning from a geologist perspective. I think if you understand that there is no “one size fits all” accompanied with a solid foundation of knowledge, flexibility will provide the necessary ingredient to be successful. Secondly, mitigation and preparedness are extremely critical when it comes to disasters/threats. Proper preparedness and mitigation starts with each individual and if everybody does their part, the end-result will be very different from those communities that lack mitigation practices and a preparedness plan.

From a Police Department Official in California with responsibilities for Emergency Management and Homeland Security:

For me, my takeaway to studying these events has made me a better planner and advocate for education and being prepared. I have incorporated ideas and concepts into my planning and EOP. Furthermore, I have shared videos and readings of these events to educate others within my department to build a coalition of planners and preparers. This has been essential in getting buy-in from the rank and file as we incorporate new ideas and concepts.

Over the entire Emergency Management program, I have learned many valuable lessons to help me plan and prepare not only my community but my own home. Yet, this class helped me to identify and address issues such as groupthink which I am dealing with in trying to prepare my department and city for a disaster. Second, there are those events, such as a nationwide blackout that I hadn't even thought about preparing for. As I have stated before, I have used some of the videos to educate and motivate policymakers within the city to begin the call for action with event planning.

The name of this course, "Unmet Challenges" speaks volumes. This is exactly what I have learned. I have learned to look at various events and the response thereafter. If the response was slow or non-existent, why was it? I learned to ask questions why certain responses worked while others did not. I learned how a groupthink process can hurt not only planning but responding as well. I learned that open clear communication is very important with planning, preparing, and responding. I learned to scan the horizon for those things that can hurt us in the future and to build a plan to deal with those emerging issues.


The Emergency Management Certificate course is not in any manner intended to serve as a warranty, representation, guarantee or promise with respect to the quality of performance of or procedures utilized by certified emergency managers in their work. The certificate program is intended only to establish education, training and experience criteria relevant to emergency management, and to certify that the individual has met the established criteria. Auburn University-OPCE specifically disclaims any and all liability for any third party claims, actions, causes of action, judgments, liabilities, monetary losses, or injuries or damages to persons or property arising out of or resulting from the services performed by or any errors or omissions on the part of anyone who has taken this certificate course.

Last Updated: August 7, 2023