10 Best Online Bachelor’s in Emergency Management Programs

People look to emergency management specialists to see them through floods, wildfires, and other crises. Earn your online degree from a top-ranked program.

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Published on June 10, 2022 · Updated on August 4, 2022

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Prepare for Disasters with an Online Emergency Management Degree

Earning a bachelor's in emergency management degree provides the training needed to build skills in areas such as risk assessment, disaster response and recovery, and emergency mitigation, among other topics.

According to College Board data, in-state learners attending public four-year institutions paid an average of $10,740 in tuition and fees during the 2021-2022 academic year. Those attending private colleges paid an average of $38,070 during the same year. Students looking to save money typically find that attending a public institution as an in-state learner offers the most cost-effective option.

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Emergency management graduates can look forward to modest job growth, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projecting 6% growth between 2020-2030 for emergency management directors. This figure is on par with the average growth rate of 7% for all occupations. These professionals earned median annual wages of $76,730 in 2021. Read more about common courses from top online schools, career paths, and continuing education opportunities.

Frequently Asked Questions About Emergency Management Programs

Is a bachelor's in emergency management worth it?

An online degree provides value in many ways, and pursuing an online bachelor's in emergency management offers a promising professional pathway poised for growth. These programs typically require four years of full-time study and result in the qualifications and training needed to take on well-paid roles in government, nonprofit, and corporate settings. Students gain the skills needed to develop procedures in the event of an emergency and create plans for response after an emergency occurs. They also learn how to work with various government agencies and private contractors alike to ensure the best possible handling of dire situations.

What can I do with a bachelor's in emergency management?

Individuals who graduate from a bachelor's in emergency management program can apply for jobs in various professional settings. Many graduates decide to pursue work as emergency management directors, as this allows them to work on the frontlines of the discipline. That said, graduates can choose from a variety of positions, including work as firefighters, emergency services managers, safety specialists, disaster recovery directors, and border patrol agents. Others may decide to work in science-based roles, such as environmental health and safety officer.

Are emergency management majors in demand?

Graduates of online bachelor's in emergency management degrees can look forward to joining an industry experiencing steady growth. The BLS projects that jobs for emergency management directors will expand by 6% between 2020-2030, leading to the creation of 700 new jobs. Additionally, approximately 1,000 jobs should open each year due to existing workers taking on different positions or retiring.Meanwhile, jobs for forensic science technicians are projected to grow by 16% by the end of the decade, creating nearly 3,000 new positions. Those who plan to go into emergency community service roles can look forward to a projected growth rate of 15% during the same years.

How much money can I make with a bachelor's in emergency management?

The amount of money a bachelor's in emergency management graduate can earn varies significantly based on their level of experience, job title, location, and employer. In 2021, firefighters earned median annual wages of $50,700, while forensic science technicians took home median pay of $61,930.Technicians who worked in state government roles earned the highest median wages at $64,250 per year, while those in the top 10% of earners in these positions brought home more than $103,430 for the year.

What are the highest-paying jobs with a bachelor's in emergency management?

Emergency management is not the highest-paying sector, but many jobs in this field pay above-average salaries. For instance, emergency management directors earned median annual wages of $76,730 in 2021. The top 10% of directors received salaries above $133,580 during the same year.Meanwhile, management analysts took home a median yearly pay of $93,000 in May 2021. Professionals who worked their way up to the top 10% of earners commanded wages over $163,760. Community service managers had a median salary of $74,000.

What to Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Emergency Management Program?

Students considering an online bachelor's in emergency management typically enjoy jobs that allow them to solve problems, think critically, develop detailed plans, and work with many different types of stakeholders. Most programs consist of 120 credits and require four years of full-time study. Part-time programs often take six years to complete, while accelerated options may allow for graduation in as few as three years.

In addition to core coursework focused on general emergency management topics, many schools now offer concentrations to help learners develop specific skills in nuanced areas. These vary from school to school, but common options include:

In addition to general education and degree-specific classes, many bachelor's in emergency management programs include a semester-long internship, allowing learners to build real-world skills and begin networking with other professionals. Some also provide an opportunity to complete a capstone project that allows for hands-on problem solving.

10 Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Emergency Management Programs

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1. Arapahoe Community College

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Location: Littleton, Colorado

Average Cost per Credit: In State: $357 ($263/credit with Colorado College Opportunity Fund); Out of State: $401

Credits to Graduate: 120

View School Profile

Program Information

  • Degree Completion Program | Yes
  • Program Accreditation | N/A
  • Serving the Denver metro area, ACC offers a fully online bachelor of applied science in emergency service administration. The program highlights topics in disaster preparedness, response strategies, and multiagency collaboration. Students also explore ethical and research-based approaches to emergency management.

    Applicants to the degree-completion program need an associate degree in a related field, such as criminal justice, emergency management, or emergency medical services.

    School Information

    • Graduation Rate: 25%
    • Accreditation: Yes
    • Percent Online Enrollment: 35%

    2. Immaculata University

    100% Online | Scheduled Classes

    Location: Immaculata, Pennsylvania

    Average Cost per Credit: In State: $540; Out of State: $540

    Credits to Graduate: 126

    View School Profile

    Program Information

  • Degree Completion Program | No
  • Program Accreditation | N/A
  • A private Catholic institution based in East Whiteland Township, Pennsylvania, Immaculata offers an online bachelor's in emergency management program. The curriculum explores risk analysis, disaster planning, and emergency management systems. Students can receive credit for relevant prior learning experience.

    Applicants submit high school transcripts, an admissions essay, and a letter of recommendation. Immaculata does not require SAT or ACT scores. However, learners can submit test scores to qualify for scholarships.

    School Information

    • Admission Rate: 81%
    • Graduation Rate: 67%
    • Instituation Type: Private
    • Accreditation: Yes
    • Percent Online Enrollment: 44%

    3. Drury University-College of Continuing Professional Studies

    100% Online | Scheduled Classes

    Location: Springfield, Missouri

    Average Cost per Credit: In State: $320; Out of State: $320

    Credits to Graduate: 124

    View School Profile

    Program Information

  • Degree Completion Program | No
  • Program Accreditation | N/A
  • A private school located in Springfield, Missouri, Drury delivers one of the state's top bachelor's in emergency management programs. Courses explore hazard identification, social aspects of disaster, and public information management. Graduates can apply program credits toward Drury's master's in public service and safety leadership.

    Applicants submit high school and college transcripts. Drury does not require SAT or ACT scores.

    School Information

    • Graduation Rate: 12%
    • Accreditation: Yes
    • Percent Online Enrollment: 70%

    4. University of Alaska Fairbanks

    100% Online | Scheduled Classes

    Location: Fairbanks, Alaska

    Average Cost per Credit: In State: $234-289; Out of State: $800-$855

    Credits to Graduate: 120

    View School Profile

    Program Information

  • Degree Completion Program | No
  • Program Accreditation | N/A
  • One of Alaska's top public colleges, UAF offers a fully online bachelor of security and emergency management program. Degree-seekers gain skills in management, leadership, and emergency planning. Learners can choose from six concentration options, including medical and public health management, fire administration, and homeland security.

    Applicants to the bachelor's in emergency management need a minimum 2.5 high school GPA. UAF does not require SAT or ACT scores.

    School Information

    • Admission Rate: 76%
    • Graduation Rate: 35%
    • Accreditation: Yes
    • Percent Online Enrollment: 68%

    5. Adelphi University

    100% Online | Scheduled Classes

    Location: Garden City, New York

    Average Cost per Credit: In State: $790; Out of State: $790

    Credits to Graduate: 120

    View School Profile

    Program Information

  • Degree Completion Program | No
  • Program Accreditation | N/A
  • A private school in Garden City, New York, Adelphi delivers an online bachelor's in emergency management program. The BS in emergency service administration emphasizes hazard preparation for all types of industries and organizations. Candidates can receive credit for military and police training.

    Applicants need a minimum 2.0 high school GPA. Applicants submit a personal statement detailing their motivations for pursuing the degree.

    School Information

    • Admission Rate: 74%
    • Graduation Rate: 73%
    • Instituation Type: Private
    • Accreditation: Yes
    • Percent Online Enrollment: 21%

    6. Elizabeth City State University

    100% Online or Hybrid | Scheduled Classes

    Location: Elizabeth City, North Carolina

    Average Cost per Credit: In State: $42; Out of State: $208

    Credits to Graduate: 120

    View School Profile

    Program Information

  • Degree Completion Program | No
  • Program Accreditation | N/A
  • A private, historically Black institution located in North Carolina, ECSU offers one of the state's only bachelor's in emergency management programs. Degree-seekers complete coursework in emergency service law, global terrorism, and social dimensions of disaster. Students can pursue an aviation science minor.

    Undergraduate applicants need a minimum 2.5 high school GPA and submit SAT or ACT scores. ECSU offers alternate admissions pathways for older students.

    School Information

    • Admission Rate: 66%
    • Graduation Rate: 39%
    • Accreditation: Yes
    • Percent Online Enrollment: 42%

    7. Barry University

    100% Online | Scheduled Classes

    Location: Miami, Florida

    Average Cost per Credit: In State: $255; Out of State: $255

    Credits to Graduate: 120

    View School Profile

    Program Information

  • Degree Completion Program | No
  • Program Accreditation | N/A
  • A private Catholic college in Miami Shores, Florida, Barry admits students with diverse backgrounds. The school's online bachelor's in emergency management features coursework incorporating public administration, criminal justice, and environmental sciences. Students in the accelerated program can complete core coursework in 12 months.

    Applicants must be at least 21 years old and have at least two years of work experience. Barry offers admissions exceptions for military personnel.

    School Information

    • Admission Rate: 51%
    • Graduation Rate: 35%
    • Accreditation: Yes
    • Percent Online Enrollment: 16%

    8. Bethel University

    100% Online | Scheduled Classes

    Location: McKenzie, Tennessee

    Average Cost per Credit: In State: $350; Out of State: $350

    Credits to Graduate: 128

    View School Profile

    Program Information

  • Degree Completion Program | No
  • Program Accreditation | N/A
  • A Presbyterian institution based in McKenzie, Tennessee, Bethel offers a fully online bachelor's in emergency management program. Students prepare for leadership roles in the emergency public service industry. Course topics include homeland security and public policy, weapons of mass destruction, and terrorism in the modern world.

    Applicants need a minimum 2.25 high school GPA. Depending on their background, applicants may need work experience and letters of recommendation.

    School Information

    • Admission Rate: 90%
    • Graduation Rate: 32%
    • Accreditation: Yes
    • Percent Online Enrollment: 51%

    9. SUNY College of Technology at Canton

    100% Online | Scheduled Classes

    Location: Canton, New York

    Average Cost per Credit: In State: $295; Out of State: $353

    Credits to Graduate: 123-125

    View School Profile

    Program Information

  • Degree Completion Program | No
  • Program Accreditation | N/A
  • SUNY Canton's online bachelor's in emergency management trains students to address natural and technological disasters. The curriculum covers hazard assessment, emergency planning, and incident management systems. Degree-seekers can also complete internships and disaster simulations.

    Applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED. SUNY Canton does not require SAT or ACT scores. International applicants need a minimum 2.0 GPA.

    School Information

    • Admission Rate: 85%
    • Graduation Rate: 47%
    • Accreditation: Yes
    • Percent Online Enrollment: 64%

    10. Ohio Christian University

    100% Online | Scheduled Classes

    Location: Circleville, Ohio

    Average Cost per Credit: In State: $416; Out of State: $416

    Credits to Graduate: 120

    View School Profile

    Program Information

  • Degree Completion Program | Yes
  • Program Accreditation | N/A
  • A private Christian university based in Circleville, OCU delivers a fully online bachelor's in emergency management program. The curriculum uses a Christian approach to emergency management.

    Students develop a biblical framework for ethical management and decision-making. Coursework explores response and recovery, international development, and hazardous materials response.

    Applicants to the online program need at least 50 credits from an accredited institution. Applicants must hold a minimum 2.0 GPA.

    School Information

    • Graduation Rate: 44%
    • Instituation Type: Private
    • Accreditation: Yes
    • Percent Online Enrollment: 84%

    Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Programs.

    Popular Online Emergency Management Programs

    Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

    Courses Within an Online Bachelor's in Emergency Management Program

    Emergency Management and Homeland Security

    Typically taken in the first semester, this introductory course helps students understand the theories and methodologies used within the profession. Course topics include preventing and protecting against emergencies.

    Disaster Response and Recovery

    Students taking this course learn about the processes in place once a disaster occurs, including how to manage recovery protocols. The syllabus typically includes several case studies and field experiences to help develop required skills.

    Fiscal Management

    Designed to build the skills needed to develop and oversee emergency management budgets, this course looks at various management methods for public funds usage. In the case of nonprofits, students also learn how to engage in fundraising.

    Politics and Policy in Emergency Management

    This course looks at the local, state, and federal policies in place to handle emergency management programs and the interagency relationships required to ensure each piece of the process goes smoothly.

    Emergency Management Internship

    Typically completed in the senior year of studies, emergency management internships allow learners to develop real-world skills and network with other professionals during a semester-long experience.

    Find the Tools You Need to Get Started on Your Degree

    What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Bachelor's in Emergency Management Program?

    Admission requirements for bachelor's in emergency management programs vary from school to school, making it important that learners carefully review the expectations of each program. That said, online and campus-based admission requirements tend to mirror one another. Particularly competitive programs may also require candidates to participate in an interview.

    Application

    Applications allow colleges to gather basic information about prospective candidates. Most of these documents request demographic details such as the applicant's full name, mailing address, and citizenship status. Colleges routinely allow students to submit undergraduate applications online, though some may still allow for paper applications.

    Test Scores

    When applying to a bachelor's in emergency management program, students may be asked to provide ACT or SAT scores to help demonstrate their general preparedness for higher education. Some schools have done away with college entrance exams, but allow learners to submit their scores if they feel they enhance their application.

    Letters of Recommendation

    Admission officers use letters of recommendation to get a more well-rounded perspective of prospective students. These letters typically come from individuals who can speak to a student's academic and professional aspirations, including current and former professors, supervisors, and volunteer managers.

    Essays

    College application essays allow prospective students to communicate in their own words why they want to pursue a bachelor's in emergency management, how they plan to use the degree, and why they want to study at a particular school. Applicants may be given a specific prompt or asked to submit a personal statement of their choice.

    Official Transcripts

    Official transcripts help admission officers ensure applicants meet minimum GPA and prerequisite course requirements, but they also help registrars when working with learners transferring from community colleges to four-year programs. After reviewing transcripts, registrars can identify which classes will transfer to the new degree.

    Careers with an Online Bachelor's in Emergency Management Degree

    Although emergency management may not qualify as one of the most popular college majors, individuals who earn a bachelor's in emergency management can qualify for several growing and well-paid positions in varied industries. Whether working for a government agency, nonprofit group, or private company, graduates have options in various fields and positions.According to the BLS, jobs for emergency management directors are projected to grow by 6% between 2020-2030, leading to approximately 700 new jobs. These professionals earned median annual wages of $76,730 in 2021. This is substantially higher than the annual mean wage of $58,260 for all occupations.

    Career Paths

    Emergency Management Director

    These professionals spend their days creating procedures to respond to emergency situations. They meet regularly with stakeholders to organize training and update protocols as needed. When an emergency or natural disaster occurs, directors also work to respond to these situations and coordinate the sharing of equipment and resources.

    Median Annual Salary: $76,730

    Firefighter

    Firefighters work on the frontlines of emergency management by responding to calls about fires and other emergencies. Whether working on a forest fire or house fire, these professionals work to extinguish flames, rescue trapped individuals, and treat those who are sick or injured. They also participate in drills to hone their skills. Professionals typically need to complete additional fire academy training before pursuing this career.

    Median Annual Salary: $50,700

    Forensic Science Technician

    Unfortunately, not all emergencies are accidents. In the case of criminal crises, forensic science technicians collect evidence and analyze the data to better understand what happened. In addition to gathering physical evidence, these professionals also take photographs of crime scenes and develop sketches.

    Median Annual Salary: $61,930

    Community Service Manager

    These professionals commonly work with nonprofit organizations and government agencies to develop programs that help educate the public and support their well-being. In addition to designing programs and assessing their effectiveness, these professionals also develop outreach activities to engage more community members.

    Median Annual Salary: $74,000

    Management Analyst

    Management analysts look for ways to improve efficiency, either as consultants or in-house employees. When working in emergency services settings, management analysts review emergency protocols and make recommendations for improvement. They may also work with senior staff to create presentations to share with other company employees.

    Median Annual Salary: $93,000

    Emergency Management Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.

    Continuing Education

    Students who complete a bachelor's in emergency management may work in the field for a few years before assessing the next steps. While it is possible to move up in seniority and pay over time with only a four-year degree, many see earning a master's in emergency management as a quicker way to climb the career ladder.

    These programs typically consist of 30-36 credits and require approximately two years of full-time study. Some accelerated programs may allow learners to graduate in as few as 12 months. After earning these credentials, candidates can apply for more senior-level positions with managerial responsibility. These roles often pay higher than positions for candidates with a bachelor's degree.

    Other education options include certificates and certifications to expand professionals' areas of expertise. Professionals who plan to pursue careers in firefighting or law enforcement may need to complete additional academy training.

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