We are currently facing a public health crisis with the COVID-19 global pandemic that has not yet even reached its peak. These are trying times with so much uncertainty, but what we do know is that there are many skilled professionals not only on the front lines of supporting the country and the world to get through this scary and unprecedented time, but there are also professions who are trained to prepare for such global disasters. We’re not just talking global pandemics, but instances of terrorism and natural disasters as well.
Emergency management is a framework that is created to invest in communities in order to make them less vulnerable to the hazards of our time. This profession is designed to create an infrastructure of safety, promoting four factors that include: mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. As you can imagine, these positions are demanding, and can at times be high risk. They require a great deal of training to undertake the associated responsibilities. There are many degree programs that are relevant in these times including Homeland Security Degrees. Maybe even more apropos are the myriad of Emergency Management Programs out there, and we have ranked our favorite. We created a metric that looks at the following elements:
- Success Rate of Graduates
We then came up with a list of the top 25 programs and ordered them accordingly. Here you will find the best online emergency management degrees out there. Many are extremely flexible, enabling students to work full time while completing the coursework. This is an in demand career path that is not going anywhere. In a time when so much is uncertain, it might be the best idea to find something to plug into that is stable and looks towards the changes that the world is undergoing.
1. University of Florida
The University of Florida offers a very popular Bachelor’s Degree Program in Fire and Emergency Services that is delivered entirely online. This is specifically designed for transfer students from other academic institutions who want to complete their junior and senior years in this program. This course of study synthesizes a crucial set of skills by teaching EMS, Fire Sciences, and Emergency Preparedness all at once. The University of Florida has created a program that opens so many doors though students do not walk away with an EMS certification or a firefighter certification, but an academic framework for both disciplines that can take you in so many directions. Graduates of this flexible online program often begin working in fields such as emergency medical service management, fire department management, insurance companies, federal government including FEMA, DHS, DOT, HHS, private industries such as oil companies, and state government.
Degree Type: Bachelor Fire and Emergency Services
2. Drury University
Drury University offers a Bachelors of Science Degree in Emergency Management that is delivered entirely online. This was designed to be a transfer program for students who either already hold an associates degree or are ready to matriculate with junior year status. The course of study is delivered in a flexible online format enabling students to continue working while completing their coursework. The curriculum checks a lot of boxes as it takes a theoretical framework and synthesizes the material with professional practice which can so easily be applied to real world circumstances. The classes foreground many ways to plug into community organizations. The entire course of study is made up of 39 credit hours. There are many financial aid opportunities, including a partnership with the Missouri Emergency Management Association that will award funding to one student. Some of the classes include: Social Aspects of Disaster and Hazard Identification.
Degree Type: BS in Emergency Management
3. Crown College
Crown College offers a Bachelors of Science degree program in Disaster and Emergency Management that can be completed entirely online. Crown is a faith based institution of higher learning and all of their programming is a reflection of their ethics and orientation, including this program. They are specifically interested in a Christian perspective on emergency response including natural disasters and federal and state preparation measures. Many students choose to combine their coursework in this program with the fields of ministry, criminal justice, or psychology and counseling. They offer small class sizes, even in the virtual format, enabling students to connect with one another and their faculty members. Students are given access to an academic advisor who is there to support their success. Many graduates enter the workforce as disaster program managers, emergency communications specialists, FEMA agents, disaster recovery managers, among many other pathways.
Degree Type: BS in Disaster and Emergency Management
4. Immaculata University
Immaculata University offers a Bachelor’s of Science degree program in Emergency Planning and Management that can be completed entirely online. This course of study is through the Adult Professional Studies department, and is known to be the only degree of its kind in the region. The course curriculum trains students how to be prepared for the unforeseeable. They will learn to play leadership roles in disaster response and preparation techniques that occur to build infrastructure for crisis management. Students will also learn about the role the government plays in disaster management and how to work in collaboration. Immaculata is generous about offering credits for previous learning and life experience, including military and technical coursework. The program makes it easy to transfer into from other programs. The coursework is delivered in a flexible online format ensuring that students can participate while still maintaining their regular life commitments, including employment.
Degree Type: BS in Emergency Planning and Management
5. West Texas A&M
West Texas A&M University offers an Emergency Management Administration degree program that is offered primarily online. All of the major courses that comprise the program can be taken virtually. This unique course of study is designed to provide enhanced leadership skills to first responders. This includes military personnel, emergency responders, fire fighters, police officers, among others. The program was designed to offer additional training and support for those who are already on the front lines. This includes training students to support communities to minimize impact of any catastrophic event. West Texas A&M makes it easy to transfer into this program from other regionally accredited institutions of higher learning. Some of the course objectives of the program include: risk assessment and the methodology behind the process, awareness and promotion of emergency management, and current and emerging technologies. Graduates of this particular degree have found success in a variety of related fields.
Degree Type: Emergency Management Administration
6. Jacksonville State University
Jacksonville State University offers a Bachelors in Emergency Management program through their School of Human Services and Social Sciences. This program is within JSUs Department of Emergency Management. All of the classes that make up the program can be completed entirely online asynchronously, meaning students can login to their coursework whenever they can fit it into their schedules. They do, however, have to meet hard deadlines regarding exams and handing in assignments. This course of study will enable students to get all of the necessary skills to play a leadership role in the midst of an emergency and prepare for one before it happens. Students will also learn how to be an asset to their communities and beyond, making them less vulnerable to catastrophe. Even though the degree is online, it is the same piece of paper that graduates at the traditional on-campus program receive.
Degree Type: BS in Emergency Management
7. Herzing University
Herzing University offers a fully online Bachelor’s program in Homeland Security that trains students to be leaders in Emergency Management. This program was designed to train students to understand disasters before they happen, so they can make the country less vulnerable to catastrophes both natural and man-made. This course of study is dynamic and evolving to meet the needs of this field that is transforming to keep up with the times. Students will learn how to: understand potential security threats, look deeply at intelligence and identify any inconsistencies or problems, react to critical incidents including fires, assess the risk of terrorism, and collect critical evidence. This online program is flexible enough to accomplish while continuing to work full time. It can be tailored to most busy adult’s lifestyles. Herzing is a very transfer friendly institution, making it easy to matriculate while taking previous credits with you.
Degree Type: Bachelors Homeland Security
8. State College of Florida – Manatee-Sarasota
State College of Florida-Manatee Sarasota offers a Bachelors of Applied Sciences in Emergency Management that can be completed entirely online. This course of study is designed for college students in their third year or those who want to enter the program with an associates degree in hand. They are ready to cut to the chase and dive right in so serious learners can work this flexible program into their busy lifestyles that are already in place. Many imperative skills will be covered such as crisis and disaster response and preparation, homeland security, public safety, administrative competency, prevention of terrorism, cybersecurity, among many others. The program itself offers two tracks for students to choose from including the Public Safety Administration Track and the Homeland Security Track. The public safety track is perfect for those who have already picked a field such as law enforcement, paralegal, or fire science, and are interested in working on the administrative leadership level.
Degree Type: BAS in Emergency Management
9. Western Carolina University
Western Carolina University offers a Bachelors of Science in Emergency and Disaster Management that is delivered entirely online. This program can be modified to fill the requirement of a minor as well. Students in this program will engage with this interdisciplinary course of study to gain frontline knowledge of how to interrupt a disaster before it happens and mitigate one if it does arise. The courses include: risk assessment, disaster management, vulnerability analysis, and the policy and political end of disaster relief. Many graduates go on to work with the Department of Homeland Security, The Department of Health and Human Services, a variety of nonprofit and government run agencies, as well as commercial hazard mitigation organizations. This is considered one of the best online emergency management degrees, and is easy to accomplish while continuing to work, due to the flexible online format.
Degree Type: BS in Emergency and Disaster Management
10. Idaho State University – Meridian
Idaho State University-Meridian offers an online degree program in Emergency Management that is up-to-date and ready to engage students in the current climate. One of the benefits of this particular program is even though there are utilizing virtual classroom environments, students can feel like they are actually in the same room as each other and their faculty members. There is plenty of room to ask questions and connect amidst the live lectures and discussions. All instructors are expert leaders in their field, and have a lot of hands on experience to explore with their students. This course of study features FEMA education curriculum guidelines that are recognized nationally. Therefore, students will learn the most up to date skills to protect their communities, states, and country from disasters before they happen and lesson the impact when they occur. All online students receive in state tuition no matter where they are located.
Degree Type: Emergency Management
11. Kansas Wesleyan University
Kansas Wesleyan University offers a Bachelor’s of Arts degree program in Emergency Management. This is the only program of it’s kind in the state of Kansas. The course of study trains students to be frontline first responders in the midst of crisis’ that occur in the local, national, or global level. If you are interested in becoming an emergency manager specialist, this program will enable you to have all of the skills to plug into organizations like the red cross, hospitals, a variety of government agencies, as well as community response non profits. There are so many doors you can open with this degree, all of which lead to a career in public safety. This program is unique in that they have formed partnerships with organizations like the Kansas Division of Emergency Management that enables students to engage in hands-on learning experiences if they choose.
Degree Type: BA in Emergency Management
12. Northern Arizona University
Northern Arizona University offers a Bachelors in Applied Science degree program in Emergency Management that is delivered completely online. Students in the program will be well versed in the various phases of emergency management which include: prevention, protection, mitigation, response and recovery, and also leadership, budgeting, ethics, problem solving, and critical thinking. The course of study is delivered with the approach of experiential learning as they make theoretical connections to theories and specific problems that they then link to case studies. Many graduates go on to work in government agencies, private sectors and nonprofits, organizations like the American Red Cross, public schools, among many others. Students can easily begin a career as an emergency manager or something similar upon completion. This is also the perfect program for students to apply for graduate schools directly following in a field that is similar.
Degree Type: BAS in Emergency Management
13. Upper Iowa University
Upper Iowa University offers a Bachelor’s degree in Emergency Disaster Management that is delivered online. This program was designed to train students to be first responders in a state of emergency, and beyond that, be at the front lines of disaster prevention. Students will learn all of the theories and associated practices of mitigating a crisis when it does occur. Some of their work will include learning the skills to limit human and property damage related to technological, civil, natural, and man made emergencies and disasters. This is a four year program, meaning students will have to complete core coursework, general education requirements, and elective courses to make up this 120 credit hour program. Graduates of the program often take on professional roles such as emergency management directors among other leadership positions in the profession.The median income for this career path falls in the range of just below $60,000.
Degree Type: Bachelor’s Emergency Disaster Management
14. University of Maryland Global Campus
The University of Maryland Global Campus offers an Online Bachelor’s of Science Degree Program in Public Safety Administration. This course of study trains students to play leadership roles in disaster prevention and management within communities, across the country and the world. Students will learn the ins and outs of the profession from the federal level, state and local levels. They will learn best practices of collaboration with community partnership organizations. Students will gain a global outlook as well as heightened interpersonal skills that are required for excellent leadership. Students will also learn how to direct programs that will lead to disaster management in a variety of contexts, including governmental and private sector. The coursework also includes intensive risk assessment skill building and architecting effective response plans. Communication skills are heavily stressed in the coursework. The entire course of study is made up of 120 credit hours.
Degree Type: BS in Public Service Administration
15. University of Wisconsin Oshkosh (eCampus)
The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh-eCampus offers a Bachelors of Applied Science in Fire and Emergency Management degree program that is delivered entirely online. It is offered through their renowned Division of Online and Continuing Education Department. This course of study offers a healthy synthesis of academic theory and hands-on applied tools that are imperative for the disciplines of fire and emergency management. This is a perfect program for students who already have a technical degree and want to transfer in. UWO will take up to 60 transfer credits with comprehensive advising support to determine the students personal pathway. The coursework will help students foster leadership skills that are transferable to any profession, but will explicitly help them engage as a front line disaster relief manager and prevention specialist. This program has earned a Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education Recognition Certificate.
Degree Type: BAS in Fire and Emergency Management
16. Adelphi University
Adelphia University offers a Bachelors of Science Degree in Emergency Services Administration. This course of study was designed to create leaders in the field of emergency response. Students well become well versed in all of the effective strategies around mitigating disasters. Some of these skills stem from leadership and communication which are transferable to most disciplines. Students who have already achieved coursework in similar fields such as: police academy coursework, regional or county fire training, military training, federal DHS courses, or Paramedic or EMT training might be eligible for life experience credits. Those who are serving in the military might be able to access GI benefits that can be applied to this program. Coursework will train students to navigate natural disasters that no one has control over, as well as man made ones, ensuring that communities are less vulnerable in the midst of catastrophe.
Degree Type: BS in Emergency Services Administration
17. Barry University
Barry University offers students a Bachelors of Science degree program in Emergency Management that can be achieved entirely online. This program was designed expressly for those who are already professionals in the field of emergency management and those who are interested in learning how to play advanced leadership roles in this career path. This course of study requires the completion of 120 credit hours which include: 45 distribution requirements (general education), 12 major related elective credits, and an optional portfolio related to experiential learning of 90 credits. Students will learn frameworks to interrupt catastrophes in their wake, or mitigate the impact of the ones that cannot be controlled. There are many opportunities to transfer credits, including for applicable life experience. Barry offers a unique tuition structure that enables students to pay as they go. There are many start dates per year, making it easy to matriculate when it is convenient for the student.
Degree Type: BS in Emergency Management
18. Bellevue University
Bellevue University offers a Bachelors of Science Degree Program in Emergency Management that can be completed entirely online. This course of study was designed to train students to guide and support communities to get through disaster situations with less vulnerability. The entire program is offered by way of what they call their building block approach. This is a method used by faculty members to bring people the skills by way or real world experience. Some of the topics that the coursework addresses includes: risk assessment, national response systems and multi agency coordination, homeland security and terrorism, crisis preparedness for human caused and natural disasters, command structures, and legal issues. Students will learn all of the important language to communicate effectively and explain the procedures and policies that are essential for emergency management. The entire program is made up of 127 credit hours, many of which can be transferred in.
Degree Type: BS in Emergency Management
19. University of Alaska, Fairbanks
The University of Alaska, Fairbanks offers a Bachelors of Security and Emergency Management program that can be completed entirely online if the students chooses. The course work delves into first hand experiences of people mitigating disasters on the front lines. Students will learn how to make complex decisions with no time to spare. Leadership and communication skills are heavily stressed and practiced throughout the program, all of which are transferable to other career paths as well. The online learning format offers a flexibility that supports students to continue working while moving through the curriculum. Students have the option of specializing in the following avenues: emergency management, fire administration, and homeland security. All of the aforementioned paths of study offer in depths and hands on approaches to the subjects at hand. Graduates of the degree will be career ready or well poised for graduate school.
Degree Type: Bachelor of Security and Emergency Management
20. Columbia Southern University
Columbia Southern University offers a Bachelors in Science in Emergency Medical Services Administration that is delivered entirely online. Students will learn all of the critical skills to engage in administrative and leadership roles in organizations that are related to emergency medical services. The course of study brings together the key competencies in legal, political and regulatory foundations in all related settings- this includes planning, leadership, development, risk management and administration. Columbia Southern University utilizes a program called LifePace Learning, which specifically caters to working professionals and non-traditional learners who need as much flexibility as possible in order to complete an academic program. This offers the ability to learn at your own pace with no set deadlines or log in times. Also, students can start the program at any time. The entire course of study is made up of 120 credit hours, which includes 51 semester hours for the major requirements.
Degree Type: BS in Emergency Medical Services Administration
21. University of Findlay
The University of Findlay offers a Bachelors of Science Business Program in Emergency Operations that can be accomplished entirely online. This is considered a degree completion program that has a heavy focus on crisis management. This program is unique in not only are students required to complete coursework related to disaster mitigation and prevention, but they will also undergo a series of Core Business Coursework. Some of the classes that are required include: economics, operations management and logistics, management of organizations, finance, marketing management, managerial accounting, and international business. Other pertinent classes include power in society: use and abuse and communications for professionals. This is a well rounded course of study that can lead graduates into many successful career paths.
Degree Type: BSB in Emergency Operations
22. Saint Louis University
Saint Louis University offers a Bachelors of Science degree program in Emergency Management that is delivered entirely online. They pride themselves on being the online Jesuit school in the country that offers a program like this one. The course of study is offered through the professional studies department at Saint Louis University. Students will be encouraged to engage in local organizations for hands on experience, including local chapters of the American Red Cross, Catholic Charities, and Salvation Army. This program is made up of 120 credit hours, and is known to be flexible enough to accomplish while continuing working full time and attending to other life obligations. There are many careers that graduates can pursue immediately after completing the program including: risk managers, business continuity officials, homeland security professionals, disaster communications representatives, among many others. There are multiple forms of financial aid for which students in this program can apply.
Degree Type: BS in Emergency Management
23. University of Central Missouri
The University of Central Missouri offers a Bachelors of Science in Crisis and Emergency Management that can be accomplished entirely online. There is also the option of achieving a stand alone certificate in this field if you are not interested or able to do the full bachelors program. This field of study offers students the most up-to-date skills to prepare for and respond to emergency situations at any scale. The coursework is expressly taking into account people in the following positions: public safety personnel, business continuity planners, institutional emergency planners, industrial emergency responders, community service providers, among many others. All students will be matched with a success advisor who will help them choose the best classes to meet their goals and to stay on track throughout the course of the program. The program is addressing the demands of the field in relation to the changing world.
Degree Type: BS in Crisis and Emergency Management
24. American Public University
Through the School of Security and Global Studies at American Public University there is a comprehensive Bachelors of Arts in Emergency and Disaster Management degree program. This course of study is delivered entirely online. They offer several perks that make the program even more enticing including: up to 77% of transfer credit, no charge for application fees or transfer credit evaluation. In fact, they are not even charging for any text books or ebooks. Their online format offers monthly class start dates and 8 week long courses. Some of the classes include topics such as: mind of a terrorist, chemistry of hazard materials, emergency response to terrorism, history of explosive ordinance disposal, port security, and quarentine. Prospective students can matriculate with a GED. There are some discounts offered
Degree Type: BA in Emergency and Disaster Management
25. Everglades University
Everglades University offers a Bachelors of Science program in Disaster and Crisis Management that can be completed entirely online. This was created to offer the skills for students to learn best practices in mitigating disasters large and small scale as well as preventing them from happening when possible. Uniquely, this program also has a business emphasis that is transferable to other disciplines. The entire course of study is made up of 123 credit hours, which includes a Crisis Disaster Management Capstone Course. Some of the other classes include: critical thinking in business, effective team management, emergency preparedness and response, disaster health management, and disaster and society. Graduates of the program will be prepared to enter the field of crisis management from a variety of avenues. The program is designed to be flexible and enable students to work full time while completing their coursework.
Degree Type: BS in Disaster and Crisis Management
There are many ways to plug into the profession of emergency management and work in a myriad of settings. There are also additional certifications that can help you on your path. You may choose to take the governmental path and work for a high profile organization like Homeland Security or go the non profit route and stay as close to community engagement and leadership as possible. The sky’s the limit with this profession, and the associated salaries are a reflection of the diversity of paths you can take. It is clear that the current global landscape is ripe for this career path, and it would be shocking to find a time when this skill set and its subsequent career options are no longer in demand.
How Much Can I Make in Emergency Management?
An emergency management job salary often reflects that path that you choose to plug into the discipline. If you are working for a small community organization, you might make on the low end, which is something like $44,000 per year. The high end is into a six figure salary if you are taking on a leadership/ administrative role. An average emergency and disaster management jobs salary is $72,690. Certainly, this is not too shabby. This also comes with bonus opportunities and in some cases profit sharing, as well as extensive benefit opportunities. So, as you can see, an emergency management degree salary has quite a range, and offers a lot of stability and room for growth.
What Kinds of Jobs are there in Emergency Management?
If you are looking for entry level emergency management jobs there are so many to choose from.
A short list can include:
- Emergency Management Specialist
- Disaster Recovery Compliance Specialist
- Public Health Emergency Preparedness Planner
- Security Operations Specialist
- Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Specialist
- Emergency Management Coordinator
While there is not one emergency management job description many positions have similar responsibilities. Some of the tasks people in this career path will be responsible for include:
- Coordinating response efforts for disasters at the community or state level
- Offering disaster preparedness trainings in communities
- Creating emergency plans for potential disasters
- Coordinating activities around crisis intervention
- Ordering evacuations or open public shelters
- Inspecting equipment and facilities at emergency management centers
- Maintaining and updating all resource materials
Are there Private-Sector Jobs in Emergency Management?
There are many private emergency jobs that exist in a variety of settings. The country is full of disaster management consulting companies that do invest in this work at the local level. There are also a variety of private sector emergency management positions situated in large and small corporations. Many public and private institutions of higher learning have emergency managers on their staff to ensure they are covering all of their basis as far as crisis mitigation goes. Every hospital has at least one emergency preparedness administrator, though they also have many other positions that utilize this degree. There are also ways to work in the same sphere dealing with public health preparedness at private firms. Can you imagine getting through the current COVID-19 public health crisis without the support of this profession? I can’t.