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Emergency Management Administration Program Frquently Asked Questions

Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice

Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences (B.A.A.S.) Degree

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WE ARE ACCEPTING NO NEW APPLICATIONS AT THIS TIME

Major in Emergency Management Administration (Major Code: 603)

We recognize and accept the state tuition waiver provided by the Texas State Legislature to emergency responders as outlined in State Code 54.208

Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs

What is the mission of the Emergency Management Administration program?

The mission of the Emergency Management Administration (EMA) program is to prepare firefighters, police officers, emergency responders, military personnel, private-sector and other emergency-services professionals for advanced levels of administration and management within the emergency services professions.
 

What are the goals of the Emergency Management Administration program?

  • Increasing administrative capabilities of emergency responders by providing a state-of-the-art online learning environment
  • Creating an outstanding commitment to service with the EMA community and WTAMU
  • Providing cutting edge curriculum from experienced faculty who support a student’s professional and intellectual development
  • Expanding the student’s current leadership capabilities within and contributions to the EMA profession
  • Helping communities, both large and small, to deal with and minimize the effects caused by emergencies

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Why was the EMA program created? 
WTAMU’s EMA Program is the only professional emergency management program in the state of Texas combining the curriculums of public administration and business management.
The EMA Degree Program was specially designed by West Texas A&M University faculty and administrators in cooperation with the Texas Engineering Extension Service for non-traditional students. Offered completely online, our students can complete the program while remaining employed full time.
We accept the tuition waiver provided by the Texas state legislature to firefighters who work for a political subdivision within the state.

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What are the admission requirements?
 The degree plan requires completion of an associate’s degree at a community college or completion of appropriate technical-education courses at accredited technical-education facilities such as the National Fire Academy. Since the EMA Program requires 36 hours of electives, up to 36 hours of academic credit can be earned through the transfer of technical courses taken at community colleges or technical-education facilities.

To be eligible for the EMA Program, a prospective student must have technical credit from a community college or technical-education facility, must be currently employed in an emergency management profession and must have at least five years experience in an emergency profession by the time of graduation. If a student received the tuition waiver at his or her community college and remains employed with a Texas political subdivision, he or she is eligible to receive the same tuition waiver at WTAMU.

There are no foreign language requirements.

Students who do not meet the requirements to major in EMA are encouraged to major in public administration and public service.
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Is the EMA Program completely online?
Yes.
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Is the EMA program accredited?
Yes.
The EMA program is housed at West Texas A&M University, a fully accredited university by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools oversees the accreditation of colleges, schools, and online universities and their online programs located in the following states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. Top ranked schools accredited by this nonprofit organization include universities and their regional campuses like the Texas A&M University system. For more information about this accrediting body, please refer to their website at http://sacscoc.org/.

West Texas A&M University has been ranked as one of the best universities located in the western United States by U.S. News and World Report and The Princeton Review.
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When can I begin the program?
Interested persons are encouraged to apply and enroll in classes the semester prior to their first classes.  The WTAMU website announces application deadlines on its website at www.wtamu.edu
WTAMU’s EMA program allows students to begin classes at the start of any semester.
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Is on-campus residency required?
No.
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Is this program limited only to citizens of Texas?
No.
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Is the program self-paced?
No. Courses begin and end within a semester.
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Can I attend part-time?
Yes.  Most EMA students are enrolled part-time and take classes as their personal and professional lives allow them. Most students complete the program within four years.
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If I attend part-time, will the courses I need to graduate be offered in a timely manner?

Yes. Most classes will be offered at least twice during a student’s part-time study.|
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What are the degree requirements for the EMA degree?
Students are required to complete 120 hours to earn a degree in EMA from West Texas A&M University.
The degree includes 42 credit hours of classes in the EMA major. See a course listing. Every student is required to earn a grade of “C” or higher in all of these courses.

All students must also complete a general education core curriculum of 42-44 credit hours in the following subjects: English, communication, mathematics, natural sciences, humanities, visual and performing arts, social and behavioral sciences, and an institutionally designation option. Many EMA students completed these courses as a requirement of their associate degree and can be transferred into WTAMU. However, a student may be required to complete courses required by WTAMU and our accrediting agencies that are not included in their community college curriculum. More information about the Core Curriculum.

EMA students must also take additional 36-hours of credit to achieve the required 120 total credit hours. Most EMA students fulfill this requirement by transferring technical education courses that were completed at their community colleges or other accredited technical education facilities, like the National Fire Academy. We do not give credit for relevant life experiences.

Degree checklist in PDF format.

At least 39 hours of advanced work (3000- or 4000-level courses) must be earned at WTAMU. At least 30 of the final 36 hours earned toward a degree must be taken at WTAMU. Because the hours transferred to WTAMU are unique to each student, a student should request a formal degree plan immediately after being admitted to WTAMU.

Contact the EMA academic adviser for additional information about the EMA major.

Am I required to pass a comprehensive examination to graduate?
No.
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Am I required to complete a thesis or comprehensive study?
Yes. Each student is required to complete a comprehensive undergraduate paper in an area of interest within emergency management. Students are not allowed to enroll in the course until they have completed most, if not all, of their major courses.
The paper combines the student’s individual interest in a topic with the coursework outlined in the EMA curriculum. This final paper varies in length and is based upon the student’s research interest. The average length is approximately 40 pages. The final work usually takes one semester to complete and must be accompanied with a Power Point presentation that the student can use to present to other emergency managers, community groups, elected officials, and other leaders in one’s community or field of interest.

Former students wrote their thesis papers on the following topics:
Emergency Management Program for the City of Bellaire, Texas by Samuel Tittle
FEMA: Does Absorbed Mean Dissolved by Steven Dunbar
Social Media and the Fire Service by Michael LeCroy
An Analysis of the Emergency Response Plan for McKinney Fire Department by Keri Grant
Social Media Implementation in Emergency Management by Brandon Peterson
Vintage Township: A Successful Application of Traditional Neighborhood Design or a Disaster in Waiting by Steven Odorizzi
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and How Emergency Management Administrators Can Address It by David Tharp
The Case for a National EMS Model by Weston Davis
Can Emergency Services and Fire Departments Survive? by Andrew Britcher
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How does a student apply to the program?
The application process is easy. It is a three-step process: a) apply, b) send transcripts, and c) establish a degree plan.

First, a student must apply to West Texas A&M University at the state’s universal, online application program through the link to Apply Texas.

Secondly, a student will request official transcripts from all colleges and universities to be sent to our Admissions Office. We do not accept transcripts sent from the student even if the student sends the Admissions Office an unopened, official transcript that was issued to the student. Please send all transcripts to the following address: Office of Admissions, West Texas A&M University, Box 60907, Canyon, Texas 79016. Any additional questions can be answered by referring to the Admissions website.

If you are accepted to the university, each student will be notified through the student's WT e-mail account of their admission to the university. WTAMU identification numbers, college e-mail accounts, and other services will be provided at this time. All official information will be sent to you by either e-mail or by letter. It is imperative that each student rely upon their WTAMU e-mail account for all official communication with their professors, staff, and administrators. Do not use personal e-mail accounts to talk with professors, staff, or administrators.

Once you are admitted to the university, each student is required to complete an application for a degree plan. This is an extremely important requirement. An advisor will analyze your transcripts and apply the transfer classes to your degree plan checklist. This application is made directly to the individual’s college located within the university. EMA students use the application form through the College of Education and Social Sciences’ website.

Students will also need to contact Patricia McCormick in Advising Services for help in deciding what classes they need to register for in the upcoming semester. She can be contacted at 806-651-5300 or pmccormick@wtamu.edu.
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How is a student advised?
Students are required to contact their advisor each semester and discuss the classes they should take in the coming semester. Students are unable to register for classes until they have done this. This process helps to ensure that students are taking the right classes and are progressing toward graduation. For the coming semester, your advisor will be Patricia McCormick. She can be contacted at 806-651-5300 or at
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What is greenlighting?
Once a student is advised on the courses that can be completed in the upcoming semester, the advisor will approve this student for course registration. This process is known as greenlighting.
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How do I register for classes?

It is the student’s responsibility to register for classes after advising. Students register by entering WTAMU’s website, www.wtamu.edu and clicking the Registration button at the bottom of the main web page. This button connects the student to Buff Advisor where he or she can register for classes. Faculty members do not register students for classes unless there are unusual, extenuating circumstances or teacher permission is required to register for a specific course. Otherwise, class registration is a student responsibility that occurs after consulting with one’s advisor.
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Will I register after or during orientation?
 Most on-campus students attend campus orientation. Most online students cannot for various reasons. Students register for classes after developing a degree plan and talk with their advisor. Registration usually opens about two months prior to the beginning of the upcoming semester. Please contact your advisor to schedule an appointment to discuss your plans by telephone or electronic mail.
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What are the tuition rates?
WTAMU is one of the lowest-cost, public institutions of higher education in Texas. To determine what the cost will be to you, please go to our Cost Calculator.
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Do I qualify for tuition waivers?
Firefighters who are employed or volunteer with a political subdivision of the State of Texas qualify for a tuition waiver for all courses as outlined by Texas State Code 54.208. The tuition waiver program is the state legislature’s efforts to guarantee that we have a well-educated, well-informed emergency management workforce throughout the state. The Texas State Legislature created a program whereby firefighters may apply for a tuition waiver if these persons are majoring in an emergency management administration degree program. This tuition waiver applies to any firefighter who volunteers or works for a fire department, public safety agency, or other emergency response organizations and does so within a political subdivision located within the state of Texas. To read this legislation, please go to the link below:

Information about the state tuition waiver program.

The Texas Attorney General’s (AG) Office has ruled in favor of the Texas State Legislature’s creation of the EMA tuition waiver for Texas citizens enrolled at community colleges and universities that offer programs in fire science, emergency management, emergency management administration, and public administration. To read the Attorney General’s ruling to its entirety, please go to the link provided at the AG's office.
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If I qualify for the state tuition waiver, how do I apply for it? Do I apply for it only when I apply or do I have to apply for the tuition waiver each semester?
Students are required to apply for the state tuition waiver every fall and spring semester. The spring tuition waiver letter applies to any summer classes in which students enroll within that calendar year.
WTAMU is required to have the original letter on file. The original letter contain the following:
 

Written on agency letterhead
• Signed by the student’s supervisor or an official from the agency’s human resource office
• Mailed to the following address:
Dr. Reed Welch, Head
Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice
West Texas A&M University
WTAMU BOX 60807
Canyon, TX 79016

• The tuition waiver letter must be received no later than three weeks prior to the beginning of the upcoming semester.
The letter must follow these specific guidelines or the waiver will be rejected. The letter must contain the following information:
• Student’s name

• Title
• Date of birth
• Last four digits of the student’s Social Security number or the student’s entire WTAMU identification number
• A sentence stating that the person currently has or will have a minimum of five years of emergency management experience prior to graduation.
o This is confirmed by including the following information:  date of employment with current agency; date of employment in the field as written on the student’s employment application with their current volunteer or professional EMA department; and a sentence stating the student qualifies for the tuition waiver program as outlined under Texas State Code 54.208

Furthermore, WTAMU must receive the original letter as required by our accrediting agencies and state auditors who monitor the program.

WTAMU cannot accept or apply the tuition waiver for students who only fax, e-mail, or provide a copy of the original letter.
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Do I qualify for other tuition waivers?
Yes.

A Distance Education Fee Waiver form is available, each semester, to true distance education students who take only online courses. The Distance Education Fee Waiver form will waive Recreational Sports fees, Health fees and other fees the student could not reasonably use. The form should be completed and mailed to the address included in the form’s heading.
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How will I know if the tuition waivers have been applied to my account?

Once your letter and tuition wavier forms have been received and approved by university officials, the Business Office will be notified.  The waivers will be applied to your account. 

We must have all information included in the description below to meet auditing and legal requirements as well as guaranteeing that we are applying the waiver to the correct account.

Please contact Lois Shuman with any questions pertaining to your individual accounts.  Please contact Ms. Shuman at 806.651.2018 or lshuman@mail.wtamu.edu.

Your academic advisor does not have access to your financial records.  

Are there additional fees for online students?
Online courses have an additional $40, per semester hour, Distance Education fee.
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I am active military or have prior military experience. I have GI Bill educational benefits. I also qualify for Hazelwood educational benefits. Do I have to use the tuition waiver program?
No. Students have the option to use the tuition waiver program as provided by Texas State Code 54.208 but are not required to use this program for admission into it.
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Does WTAMU accept GI Bill and Hazelwood Scholarships?
Absolutely! We are considered to be one of the nation’s more military-friendly campuses by Military Advanced Education. For more information about this honor, please see veteran's information.

More information about our programs for active military, prior military, and their families.
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When do I apply for graduation?
Students apply for graduation during the first month of their last semester. To apply, students need to fill out a form entitled Application for Graduation and Tuition Rebate.

The form must be submitted to Kathy Lefever, Assistant to the Dean of the College of Education and Social Sciences via e-mail at klefever@wtamu.edu or by fax at 806-651-3602. She can be reached by phone at 806-651-2600.
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Who are the faculty members who teach in the EMA program?

Dr. James Calvi is the assistant dean of the College of Education and Social Sciences. Dr. Calvi's teaching fields are constitutional law and administrative law with additional interests in American government, the Presidency and Congress. A faculty member since the late 1970s, Dr. Calvi is a constitutional scholar and co-author of a constitutional law book that is currently in its sixth edition. Dr. Calvi received his bachelor and master's degree in political science from Oklahoma State University. His Ph.D. is from the University of Missouri—Columbia. He teaches the administrative law course.

Dr. Keith Price joined the College of Education and Social Sciences in 2003. He received a B.S. and M.A. degree in criminology and corrections from Sam Houston State University. He received his Ph.D. in criminal justice from Sam Houston State University in 1983. In addition to his academic training, Dr. Price worked in the Texas prison system, including 19 years as a warden in maximum security prisons. Dr. Price teaches courses in corrections, criminology, ethics, sociology, women studies and capital punishment. He is a member of the Texas Corrections Association and the American Correctional Association. Dr. Price's research interests include capital punishment and the Texas prison system. Dr. Price recently published an article on dangerousness among capital murderers in Texas. He also published a study that compared capital punishment in Texas with the state of California. Dr. Price's current research project involves examining jury decision making in capital murder trials. He and two colleagues have completed a preliminary study and have applied for a federal grant to continue their research.

Dr. Dave Rausch, the Teel Bivins Professor of Political Science, teaches the online statistics course required in the curriculum. Dr. Rausch joined the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice in 1998. He received a B.A. in political science from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1989, a M.A. in political science from the University of Oklahoma in 1992 and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Oklahoma in 1995. He is co-editor of a collection of essays examining the changes to state legislatures caused by legislative term limits. The volume The Test of Time: Coping with Legislative Term Limits was published by Lexington Books in 2002. He also co-authored the Texas edition of a leading American government textbook, Government in America: People, Politics, and Policy (2008). Dr. Rausch is a member of the American Political Science Association, the Southwestern Political Science Association, the Research Committee of Legislative Specialists (part of the International Political Science Association) and the Oklahoma Political Science Association. Dr. Rausch's research interests include legislative studies, the effects of legislative term limitations, direct democracy and religion and politics. He also likes developing survey research projects on issues important to the local and statewide political scene

Dr. Meagan Brock, assistant professor of management, also teaches an ethics course within the EMA curriculum. Dr. Brock joined the College of Business at West Texas A&M University in 2011. She received a B.A. in psychology from the University of Montana in 2005, and a B.A. in organizational communication from the University of Montana in 2006. She obtained her M.S. and Ph.D. in industrial and organizational psychology from the University of Oklahoma in 2007 and 2010, respectively.
Professor Mark Sollosy teaches marketing and management courses required for the EMA degree. Sollosy has over 30 years of experience in many facets of industry. Prior to joining the faculty full time in 2006, Sollosy has been a consultant to a number of organizations in the areas of management, strategy and technology. Has been the CIO and COO of three different companies in different parts of the country, including San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles and Amarillo. Sollosy brings a pragmatic, reality-based approach to the courses he teaches. He continues to be involved in the business community by providing consulting and advisory services to a number of organizations. He utilizes these real world experiences as a basis for many of his course discussions.
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What are the career opportunities for this field?
EMA students can find employment in various areas such as:
• Local, state, and federal governments
o Department of Homeland Security
o Federal Emergency Management Agency
o Your state’s department of health
o Federal and state Departments of Justice
• Private businesses
o Particularly after 9/11 terrorist attacks and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita
• Coordinating volunteer organizations
o Red Cross
o Salvation Army
o CARE
• International organizations
o UNESCO
• Humanitarian and relief agencies
• Emergency management consulting firms
EMA students are in moderate-to-high demand, particularly students who have experience in the field but hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree.

EMA managers are responsible for planning and coordinating emergency responses from all types throughout their political subdivisions, businesses, or geographic agencies. This includes conducting vulnerability analyses, capability assessments, writing comprehensive strategic plans, implementing budgets, and communicating these needs to various groups. These groups vary from local neighborhood associations and volunteer groups to a board of directors/elected officials throughout a jurisdiction.

Emergency managers are expected to coordinate and conduct education programs for various groups within a community or field. All the while, they are expected to develop training exercises. Confidence, team building, and leadership skills are necessary. The ability to work under pressure and possessing problem-solving abilities are essential.
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What will I earn upon completing the EMA program?

A bachelor’s degree in emergency management professionals must be capable to demonstrate knowledge of all relevant laws, policies, and procedures pertaining to the protection of the people, property, and data during any type of emergency. The WTAMU program instructs its students in those administrative, budgetary, and management skills needed to advance beyond the entry-level position toward leadership positions within their departments and agencies.

Data obtained from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) under sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA) states the EMA growth rate will average between 13 and 28 percent annually for the next five years with a beginning salary ranging between $40 - $42K annually.

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