Emergency management is a field dedicated to protecting resources and ensuring public safety in the event of a catastrophe, such as an earthquake, hurricane, flood, terrorist attack, or any other crisis. Professionals in the field create contingency plans in order to prepare for different emergency situations. They also coordinate relief efforts with elected officials, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations in order to effectively support all individuals impacted by the emergency. Subdivisions of emergency management include law enforcement, homeland security, cybersecurity, and public health.

Over the last two decades, emergency management has become a popular undergraduate major. The curriculum in an emergency management bachelor's program covers a range of topics: Areas of focus include supplies and logistics, victim services, natural resource management, epidemiology, law, and policy. Many emergency management degree programs include optional or required internships, which allow students to receive supervised hands-on training from experienced professionals at government offices, call centers, and other working facilities.

Today, many students are choosing to earn their bachelor's in emergency management online. Distance learners follow the same rigorous curriculum as their brick-and-mortar counterparts, and they have the flexibility to take courses at their convenience. The asynchronous (self-paced) format used by many online emergency management programs is also ideal for students with part-time jobs, childcare responsibilities, or any other commitments that may interfere with campus-based learning.

Read on to learn more about emergency management, and to discover what kind of career opportunities you can pursue with a degree in the field.


Online bachelor's in emergency management programs will prepare students for different emergency situations. Many online emergency management programs allow students to earn specializations in disciplinary subfields, such as cybersecurity, law enforcement, or fire protection. These specializations can help direct your professional opportunities after graduation.


Online emergency management programs offer a flexible alternative to traditional brick-and-mortar classes. The online format is ideal for students who have to juggle schoolwork with other important commitments, such as childcare or a full time job. Distance learners can access course materials, submit assignments, take exams, and contact professors at their convenience. Current technology also allows students to study away from their home computer using a laptop, tablet, smartphone, or other portable device with Wi-Fi compatibility.


Most careers in emergency management are attainable with a bachelor's degree, although a specialized degree or work experience may be required for some advanced positions in the field. Common career pathways for degree-holders include roles as emergency management directors, project managers, logisticians, cybersecurity specialists, and nonprofit administrators. Some jobs, such as positions in epidemiology, are typically reserved for candidates with a graduate degree in their field.


Choosing a program is a very personal decision, and only you can properly evaluate whether a target school's strengths match your educational needs and professional ambitions. The following ranked list of schools should serve as a helpful starting point in your search for the best online bachelor's in emergency management programs in the United States. If you are considering an online bachelor's in emergency management, be sure to contact admissions specialists at different colleges and universities to learn more about their specific degree requirements and offerings.

Rank School Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1 University of Florida Gainesville, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 87%

Gainesville-based University of Florida designed its online bachelor’s degree in emergency management to give working first responders the opportunity to pursue more advanced positions and assume more responsibility. The 120-credit bachelor of science in fire and emergency services program combines the study of fire science, EMS, and emergency management. Although this degree does not provide any certification, graduates learn how to successfully manage first response agencies.

Students seeking to enroll in this program must already hold 60 college-level credits earned with a GPA of 2.3 or higher. Applicants should also have certification, experience, and/or a degree in a relevant area. All coursework is available online and most professors conduct classes asynchronously. Coursework takes students through labor issues, legal issues, communications, risk management, and other administrative subjects. Program participants can further tailor their plan of study by choosing from a variety of electives.

2 Touro University Worldwide Los Alamitos, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 78%

Touro University Worldwide is a nonprofit university system committed to social justice, philanthropy, and intellectual pursuit. Based in Los Alamitos, California, TUW offers a comprehensive array of online degrees, including a bachelor of business administration with a homeland security and emergency management concentration. This 120-credit course of study prepares students to respond to all manner of disaster situations, teaching them about risk assessment, first- and second-responder management, incident control, and agency integration.

Aimed at emergency professionals, TUW’s online emergency management degree program takes place entirely online, and the university offers all courses asynchronously. Students can pursue their degrees at their own pace, continuing to work while they attend school. Full-time students typically complete their studies in three years, while part-time students may take up to seven years to graduate. Degree candidates accrue 45 general education credits, 39 core requirement-related credits (including a capstone course), 24 elective credits, and 12 credits from their concentration.

Touro accepts up to 90 transfer credits. Applicants must submit all previous academic transcripts.

3 Thomas Edison State University Trenton, NJ Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 45%

One of the nation’s first schools established to meet the needs of working adults, Thomas Edison State University is a public institution located in Trenton, New Jersey. It offers an online bachelor’s degree in emergency management that aligns with the five National Preparedness System mission areas: prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery. The bachelor of science in homeland security and emergency management curriculum explores post-9/11 disaster response issues related to homeland security, law enforcement, emergency management, and business continuity.

TESU’s general education requirements comprise half of the 120-credit curriculum. The remaining coursework consists of 33 major-related credits and 27 elective credits. All students also participate in a capstone experience. The university conducts all classes asynchronously and most follow 12-week terms.

TESU awards credit for prior knowledge through testing, portfolio assessment, and licensing and certification. New academic terms begin every month.

4 University of Nebraska at Omaha Omaha, NE Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 45%

The University of Nebraska at Omaha is a public research institution that offers more than 200 programs of study, many of which are accessible through the school’s web campus. Among these is an online emergency management bachelor’s degree that readies graduates for careers in disaster response at the administrative level. The 120-credit curriculum focuses on preparedness for events that involve multiple agencies and jurisdictions. All coursework is available digitally and most professors deliver classes asynchronously.

Students in UNO’s bachelor of science in emergency management program select two concentrations that include gerontology, nonprofit management, and tribal management and emergency services. The core of the program consists of 10 required courses, including an internship and a capstone, and the university’s general education requirements.

Applicants must submit their official transcripts and ACT or SAT test scores if they’ve completed fewer than 24 college-level credits.

5 Excelsior College Albany, NY Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 45%

Excelsior is a nonprofit online school focused on creating educational opportunities for working adults. Founded in 1971 and located in Albany, New York, this career-oriented institution offers more than 30 web-based degree programs. Students pursuing Excelsior’s emergency management bachelor’s degree online receive a broad education in emergency response that allows them to specialize in an area of emphasis. Available nine-credit concentrations include agency management, counterterrorism, cybersecurity, and emergency response health management. The school also offers an open emphasis track, which lets students use electives to individualize a degree path.

Professors at Excelsior deliver coursework asynchronously. General education requirements comprise half of the 120 credits, while the major itself requires 33 credits: 18 core credits, nine in a student’s concentration area, three in electives, and a three-credit capstone course. The college has a generous transfer policy and awards credit for military service, academy training, professional credentials, and first-responder licensing and certification.

6 University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Oshkosh, WI Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 53%

The University of Wisconsin in Oshkosh hosts an online degree in emergency management that teaches first responders and emergency personnel the skills needed to move into administrative positions. The 120-credit program emphasizes leadership and communication and offers two areas of emphasis: fire services leadership and emergency management. Coursework takes students through budgeting, planning, legal issues, and administration, and distance learners can complete all required classes online in an accelerated, asynchronous format. Graduates leave the program prepared to supervise personnel, run incident command, and meet the safety needs of their communities.

UWO’s bachelor of fire and emergency response program holds accreditation from the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress and has earned the Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education recognition certificate. Students can transfer in 90 of the 120 credits required to graduate and may earn credit for military, fire service, and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) training. Applicants who transfer in 60 credits can expect to complete the program in two years.

7 Arkansas State University Jonesboro, AR Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 45%

As the second largest institution in the state, ASU caters to nearly 14,000 students both on-campus and via online learning. The school’s online emergency management degree is provided as a BS in disaster preparedness and emergency management via the College of Nursing and Health Professions. Regardless of location, all U.S. residents enjoy a low tuition rate of $202 per credit alongside $38 per credit in administrative tech and library fees.

Aside from required studies in disaster preparedness, mitigation, planning, response, and recovery, every student picks 25 credit hours worth of emphasis coursework within the degree to build specialized knowledge. These courses may involve an incident practicum, extrication tactics, community response, the politics of disaster, radiological emergencies, and more. Individuals with previous experience may qualify for a Prior Learning Assessment to provide experiential credit.

8 Arizona State University-Tempe Tempe, AZ Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 67%

Arizona State University’s virtual campus -- ASU Online -- offers an online emergency management degree as part of its bachelor’s in public service and public policy program. The 120-credit program has an emergency management and homeland security concentration that prepares emergency personnel to step into upper-level positions in disaster response.

ASU delivers most of its emergency management coursework asynchronously in accelerated, 7.5-week sessions. However, program participants must also visit Tempe for 30 hours of class content. Coursework covers law enforcement, terrorism, the criminal justice system, and the National Incident Management System, where student’s run through realistic simulation scenarios. Enrollees must maintain a cumulative 2.0 GPA to earn their degrees.

The university has a flat tuition fee for distance learners. Applicants who have earned more than 24 college-level credits must submit academic transcripts from any colleges and universities they’ve attended.

9 Northwestern State University of Louisiana Natchitoches, LA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 35%

Natchitoches-based Northwestern State University of Louisiana boasts a virtual campus -- eNSU -- that offers dozens of web-based degrees in a variety of disciplines. The university delivers emergency management online degrees as part of its bachelor of science in unified public safety administration program. Students can select from one of several areas of concentration, including emergency management, which equips them to work in administrative positions in local, state, and federal agencies.

eNSU’s 123-credit curriculum requires students to complete 49 major-related credits. Concentrations account for 21 credits and include nine credits of electives, giving degree seekers a large amount of customizability. The university’s faculty deliver most coursework asynchronously. NSU also grants credit through its prior learning assessment program, and the university offers a flat-rate tuition for distance learners.

10 Western Carolina University Cullowhee, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 57%

Founded in 1889 to provide educational opportunities to the residents of western North Carolina, WCU offers many degree programs through its virtual campus. These include a bachelor of science in emergency and disaster management, which students can earn entirely online without ever visiting the Cullowhee campus. Coursework is conducted asynchronously and most program participants attend school part-time while continuing to work full-time.

Students pursuing WCU’s online bachelor’s degree in emergency management must complete 42 credits of liberal arts requirements, 49 major-related credits, and 29 credits of general electives. Degree candidates also complete a research-based practicum where they work for a community or emergency organization. The university accepts as many as 18 transfer credits. Applicants should have an associate degree from a previous college or substantial progress toward completing the “44 General Core” coursework required in North Carolina.

11 National University La Jolla, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 38%

National University offers an online bachelor’s in emergency management in the form of a hybrid program. Students complete most credits by working through accelerated, asynchronous, online sessions. However, NU requires individuals to complete a one-month residency on campus in La Jolla, California. The bachelor of science in homeland security and emergency management teaches degree seekers the theoretical and practical concepts behind emergency response and prioritizes leadership and ethical decision making. Graduates leave prepared for work in border security, airport and seaport security, threat assessment, disaster relief, and crisis planning and management.

NU built its curriculum around 11 core courses and five electives. The program culminates with a supervised senior research project that typically takes two months to complete. Students can waive some credit requirements through the school’s experiential learning program. NU is also a military-friendly school with reduced fees for vets and active-duty personnel. Additionally, the university offers an accelerated master’s in public administration that students can combine with this bachelor’s program to earn an advanced degree.

12 Bellevue University Bellevue, NE Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 13%

The emergency management bachelor degree offered online at BU is an open-ended program that prepares graduates for various careers in areas of firefighting, law enforcement, or safety and security by developing skillsets around preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery. Coursework examines both man-made and natural disasters -- ranging from earthquakes to terrorism -- and helping students understand how to manage these emergencies.

Students complete 127 total credit hours to earn the degree; this includes 36 general education credits, 42 elective credits, 40 major credits, and nine Kirkpatrick Signature Series credits. Enrolling as an online student, you’ll have the opportunity to pick a learning format best suited to your needs. While a traditional format is available, those who feel they learn best with others can also elect to be part of a cohort and take all their classes with the same group of people throughout their time at BU. Graduates of the program will be prepared to continue on to master’s-level studies. Exclusive pricing for eligible military personnel is available.

13 Crown College Saint Bonifacius, MN Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 48%

Minnesota’s Crown College hosts an emergency management bachelor’s degree online. Students complete a Christ-centered core of 15-21 credits and have the opportunity to take a Bible class every semester while earning their degrees. The Saint Bonifacius-based institution’s bachelor of science in disaster and emergency management is available entirely online in an asynchronous format. Graduates can pursue careers in law enforcement; corporate risk management; and disaster response at the local, state, and federal levels. Crown emphasizes leadership and management principles and Christ-centered ethics.

In addition to the Christian core credits, degree candidates must earn 31 general education credits, 36 major-related credits, and 43 elective credits. The school encourages students to add a complementary second major in criminal justice, psychology, business, or Christian ministry. It also offers an accelerated master’s program that builds on credits earned in the emergency management program. Crown’s relatively low tuition makes it one of the most affordable Christian colleges in the Midwest.

14 University of Central Missouri Warrensburg, MO Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 53%

UCM in Warrensburg started with just a handful of students in 1871 and now provides education to more than 14,000 learners. The university’s online bachelor’s degree in emergency management provides nuanced knowledge of crisis and disaster management through a multidisciplinary curriculum that emphasizes preparedness, response, mitigation, and recovery.

The program is made up of 120 total credit hours. After completing 24 credit hours of core requirements, students select an area to deepen their knowledge. Current options include business continuity, emergency management, emergency services management, or environmental hazards. Students can also elect to complete a certificate in one of these four areas as well. Each concentration comprises 12 credit hours; the remaining credit hours are made up of general education requirements and free electives. As part of the school’s commitment to providing top-notch online education, the school hosts a National Distance Learning Week annually. The school boasts an employment rate of 90% within six months of graduation.

15 Anderson University Anderson, SC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 53%

Affiliated with the South Carolina Baptist Convention, Anderson University is a private Christian university. AU offers an emergency management degree online with two tracks: a degree-completion track for students with an associate degree and a comprehensive track for students with no prior college experience. Distance learners can pursue either option entirely online in an asynchronous format.

AU’s bachelor of science in emergency services management requires students to complete 36 general education credits, which include at least six credits of biblical study. Individuals also take 27 credits of emergency management core courses and fulfill the remainder of their degree plan with electives. Additional requirements include an internship with a first response agency and a capstone course that synthesizes course content into a major project.

Applicants to the degree-completion track must forward previous collegiate transcripts, while first-time freshmen must submit proof of a high school diploma or GED certificate. Online students pay a flat fee for tuition.

16 Arkansas Tech University Russellville, AK Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 35%

Arkansas Tech University’s Department of Emergency Management is in charge of administering the online emergency management degree, which was recently accredited by the Foundation on Higher Education in Disaster/Emergency Management and Homeland Security. This makes it the first program to receive both national and international recognition.

On top of emergency planning and preparedness coursework, curriculum will cover cultural considerations in emergency situations, political and legal applications in the field, management of staff/civilians, and more. Students complete both an internship and capstone project in order to qualify for graduation. While enrolled, online students can become members of the ATU Chapter of the International Association of Emergency Managers, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or ATU’s Red Cross Chapter. Graduates go on to find employment in federal-level organizations, law enforcement, and industries including airlines, athletic venues, and more. A range of emergency management scholarships are also available to qualified students.

17 Eastern Kentucky University Richmond, KY Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 41%

Located in the city of Richmond, Eastern Kentucky boasts a popular virtual college that offers dozens of online degrees. EKU emphasizes professional and vocational education and hosts an online bachelor’s degree in emergency management geared toward practicing paramedics. The school’s bachelor’s in emergency medical care program has an emergency services administration option that teaches paramedics the management skills needed to pursue leadership positions.

The 120-credit curriculum focuses on best practices and gives medical personnel added expertise in advanced life support, cardiology, and management of behavioral and OB/GYN emergencies. Students can opt to add a minor to their degree plan to further enhance their skill set. The program holds accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. EKU runs classes asynchronously in accelerated, eight-week sessions. The program has six start dates throughout the year, and all distance learners pay in-state tuition.

Individuals can apply up to 90 transfer credits towards their degree, and students can earn as many as 18 credits based on previous experiences. Applicants to this program must have a paramedic’s license.

18 Northern Arizona University Flagstaff, AZ Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 53%

The online bachelor's in emergency management offered by Flagstaff’s Northern Arizona University is an applied science degree. Applicants to this program should already hold an associate degree. This course of study exposes distance learners to issues related to incident command, hazard mitigation, risk assessment, disaster recovery, and homeland security. The curriculum focuses on budgeting, ethics, critical thinking, problem solving, and leadership. Coursework uses case studies and experiential learning to prepare degree seekers to effectively and efficiently respond to man-made and natural disasters.

The bachelor of applied science in emergency management curriculum consists of 21 baccalaureate studies credits and 24 credits of major-related coursework. Students fulfil the remaining requirements by taking elective coursework, which varies depending on how many credits they transfer into the program; learners can transfer up to 75 credits. Classwork at NAU is offered in accelerated, asynchronous sessions. Distance learners pay a flat-rate tuition.

19 Jacksonville State University Jacksonville, AL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 35%

Located in Jacksonville, Alabama, JSU is a regional public university with a growing online presence. The school offers two emergency management online degrees through its web-campus -- Online@JSU. Both bachelor of science in emergency management programs share the same core curriculum but feature differing minors in homeland security or public safety telecommunications. Both of these tracks teach students the background knowledge and credentials needed to work in emergency response in the public and private sectors.

The 128-credit curriculum includes 30 credits of major-related classes and 21 credits specific to a student’s chosen minor. The program holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and has been recognized by the FEMA Higher Education Project. Students can complete all coursework online without ever visiting the Jacksonville campus. All distance learners pay a flat-rate tuition comparable to on-campus tuition.

20 University of Alaska Fairbanks Fairbanks, AK Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 25%

The University of Alaska offers a bachelor’s in emergency management and homeland security through its virtual campus. Students have the option of specializing in five different fields, including emergency management, homeland security, fire administration, cybersecurity, and emergency medical management. Degree candidates in all tracks receive a well-rounded education covering post-9/11 disaster response. Coursework explores organizational theory, fiscal management, risk analysis, and leadership in dangerous contexts.

Students complete a total of 120 credits to earn their diplomas. The university offers all classes online, generally in an asynchronous fashion, with no required visits to Fairbanks. Major coursework consists of 10 classes with two additional courses related to a student’s chosen specialization. UAF may grant credit for previous military or professional training.

Applicants should submit all of their official academic transcripts; those with fewer than 30 collegiate credits must also take a placement exam. All distance learners pay in-state tuition.

21 Drury University Springfield, MO Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 58%

A private liberal arts school, Drury University has a popular virtual campus; more students currently take classes through its online college of continuing professional studies than on campus in Springfield, Missouri. Drury offers an emergency management bachelor’s degree online that focuses on the management end of the emergency management spectrum; the university requires students to take a concentration in leadership. The curriculum combines disaster response theory with practical application of best practices, creating well-rounded first responders suited for administrative positions in volunteer, corporate, or governmental agencies.

The 124-credit curriculum includes general education requirements, 30 credits of required major-related courses, six emergency management elective credits, and a 12-credit leadership concentration. Drury offers coursework in accelerated, eight-week sessions. Degree seekers form close relationships with their professors, and the student-faculty ratio is 13:1. All program participants must also complete a 60-hour internship at an approved agency. Distance learners pay a flat-rate tuition fee.

22 West Texas A & M University Canyon, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 44%

West Texas A&M University designed its online emergency management degree for working emergency personnel. Applicants must already hold an associate degree. Typical students in the bachelor of applied arts and sciences in emergency management program work full-time and attend classes asynchronously at their convenience. Most enroll part-time and graduate in four years. Because enrollees have already completed 60 credits, program participants need only accrue 60 more to meet the 120 credits required for a bachelor’s degree. The university does not require visits to its campus in Canyon.

The 42-credit major curriculum covers risk assessment, finances and budgeting, effective communication, and decision-making skills. Degree seekers must earn a “C” or better to earn credit for each class. Courses run asynchronously and follow a traditional semester schedule. All students must also write a thesis paper.

In addition to an associate degree, applicants must have a GPA of 2.0 or better and write a personal statement to the director. Texas firefighters enjoy tuition waivers.

23 University of Hawaii-West Oahu Kapolei, HI Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 14%

A public university in the island community of Kapolei, the University of Hawaii - West Oahu offers a variety of four-year degrees to distance learners. The school created its online bachelor’s degree in emergency management according to standards laid out by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and FEMA’s Higher Education Project. This degree is offered as an offshoot of the university’s bachelor of arts in public administration and has a strong management slant. Some courses may require a visit to Hawaii.

UHWO’s 120-credit curriculum requires students to take core courses in public sector management and administrative procedures before moving on to classes that cover social dimensions of disaster, hazard mitigation, and terrorism and emergency management. All degree candidates complete a capstone course and many undertake internships at agencies like the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigation Service, FEMA, and the Border Patrol.

24 Louisiana State University-Alexandria Alexandria, LA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 26%

Louisiana State University of Alexandria’s online bachelor’s in emergency management focuses on psychology and behavior. The 120-credit degree plan includes “blocks” of learning in those two areas, as well as business and disaster response coursework. A large public institution in central Louisiana, the university built its bachelor’s in disaster science and emergency management to give firefighters and law enforcement officers a pathway to administrative roles. The program runs entirely online.

LSUA offers coursework asynchronously in accelerated sessions and features six start dates per year. The curriculum includes 39 credits of general education courses, 27 credits of foundation classes, 12-credit blocks of enrichment courses, and 30 credits of electives. Students must maintain a 2.0 GPA.

LSUA ranks among the least expensive public universities for non-resident learners and carries accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

25 Bethel University McKenzie, TN Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 35%

Celebrating 175 years of existence in 2017, Bethel University knows a thing or two about providing quality educations via a Presbyterian Church worldview. Located in Tennessee, the school is consistently recognized for both its campus-based and online degree programs. The online emergency management degree is a perennial favorite amongst students who want to protect citizens from man-made or natural disasters and serve those who have been affected.

Students are allowed to transfer up to 80 hours of credits (including 30 for Academy training or 30 for military service), making it possible for them to complete the degree in as few as four terms. Regardless of location, students in this program pay a low rate of $345 per credit hour which includes all additional fees. Scholarships for this degree program are also available. Once students are enrolled at BU, they’ll access courses, interact with peers and professors, discuss assignments, and turn in projects via the learning platform V-Camp.

Timeline 4 to 5 years
Program Costs $10,000 to $30,000 in annual tuition
Related Areas of Study Homeland Security, Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement/Fire Protection, Public Health, Public Administration, Nonprofit Management, Cybersecurity, Logistics, Project Management
Accreditation Council for the Accreditation of Emergency Management Education (CAEME)

Job Placement

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), tech-related jobs in emergency management are projected to grow significantly. Positions as computer and information systems managers and information security analysts are projected to grow by 15% or more between 2014 and 2024. Other common jobs in the field are projected to grow at average or slightly below-average rates. A complete breakdown can be found in the table below.

Occupation Projected Industry Growth (2014-24) Change in Number of Jobs (2014-24)
Emergency Management Directors 6% +700 jobs
Logisticians 2% +2,500 jobs
Epidemiologists 6% +400 jobs
Social and Community Managers 10% +13,200 jobs
Computer and Information Systems Managers 15% +53,700 jobs
Information Security Analysts 18% +14,800 jobs

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Earning a Living

The earning potential for college graduates in emergency management will largely depend on their specialization in the field. According to the 2015-16 PayScale College Salary Report, the most lucrative subfields in emergency management include information security, transportation/logistics management, supply chain management, and computer/network administration. The table below highlights salary projections for different emergency management fields during two key career stages.

Bachelor's Degree Field Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (10+ Years)
Information Security $58,300 $85,600
Transportation and Logistics Management $47,800 $78,900
Logistics and Supply Chain Management $51,800 $77,400
Information Systems Security $57,100 $74,200
Computer and Network Administration $50,800 $66,900
Organizational Leadership $43,900 $65,300
Criminal Justice Administration $39,000 $63,900

Source: The 2015-16 PayScale College Salary Report

Of the seven majors listed on the table, transportation and logistics management professionals are projected to have the highest rate of salary growth, with a 65.0% increase between entry-level and mid-career positions. Criminal justice administration ranked second with 63.8% projected growth.

In addition to your major and degree specialization, your salary expectations will also depend on a few other factors, including your specific job title, the size of your company, and your location. With that information in mind, take a look at the following table, which features career salary growth projections for five common emergency management pathways.

Occupation Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (10+ Years) Median Annual Salary for Experienced Employees (10-20 Years) Median Annual Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ Years)
Emergency Management Specialist $50,000 $59,000 $65,000 $70,000
Emergency Response Coordinator $42,000 $56,000 $59,000 $62,000
Disaster Recovery Coordinator $57,000 $73,000 $102,000 $105,000
Intelligence Analyst $58,000 $72,000 $82,000 $93,000
Logistics Manager $50,000 $63,000 $69,000 $76,000

Source: PayScale

All of these careers are projected to have at least 40% salary growth after 20 years in the workforce. Disaster recovery coordinators experienced the highest rate of growth, with an 84.2% projected increase in salary between early-career and late-career.

Career and Further Education Opportunities

Students who earn a bachelor's in emergency management will leave school qualified for dozens of positions in the field; those with specialized degrees and work experience will be particularly well-positioned for this competitive and demanding profession. Below, we've covered four of the most common professional pathways for emergency management graduates.

Emergency Management Directors: These professionals oversee teams who operate at different stages of emergency preparedness and response. They create comprehensive contingency plans designed to mitigate threats against human life, property, and natural resources. They also help with relief efforts when emergency situations occur.

Logisticians: These professionals specialize in organizing supply chain needs for companies and organizations. In emergency management, logisticians coordinate transportation, medicine, medical equipment, and other relief services. They also develop strategies for delivering essential goods and provisions in the wake of disasters, attacks, and other emergencies.

Computer and Information Systems Managers: Computer and information systems managers oversee the day-to-day computing and IT operations at companies and organizations. They meet with government officials and other leaders to determine specific tech needs, and then perform upgrades and introduce new systems to help their organization operate efficiently.

Information Security Analysts: These tech professionals run software programs and perform tests to evaluate the security of an organization's computing systems. They are trained to handle hackers, cyberterrorists, and other online criminals, along with viruses, malfunctioning equipment, and other technical issues that can compromise information security.

Occupation Median Annual Salary
Emergency Management Directors $67,330
Logisticians $72,460
Computer and Information Systems Managers $131,600
Information Security Analysts $90,120

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Professional Organizations

Making connections and learning as much as you can about emergency management is crucial to your professional success. Professional organizations offer a great entry point for students who want to learn more about their chosen career path. Below, you'll find information about three of the country's most prominent organizations established for emergency management professionals. These organizations host networking events, provide online training, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates.

  • National Emergency Management Association: Founded in 1974, NEMA is a nonprofit professional organization that strives to bolster public safety "by improving the nation's ability to prepare for, respond to, and recover from all emergencies, disasters, and threats to our nation's security." NEMA routinely works with federal agencies and members of Congress in order to reach this goal. The organization also sponsors two annual conferences. Member benefits include continuing education workshops and networking opportunities.
  • International Association of Emergency Managers: Representing more than 6,000 members worldwide, the IAEM is dedicated to improving emergency response and disaster relief procedures across the globe. The organization emphasizes the need for multinational cooperation when addressing events that affect multiple countries, such as large-scale natural disasters or global public security threats.
  • The International Association for Preparedness and Response: This organization works to facilitate collaboration and cooperation between emergency management personnel, volunteer organizations, and relief agencies. Individual membership is available for as little as $20 per person, and members are invited to take part in training seminars, workshops, and networking events.

Despite the relative affordability of online programs, most students still need financial assistance. Students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to learn more about loans, grants, and other opportunities offered through the U.S. government. Additionally, private grants and scholarships are widely available through nonprofit organizations, companies, and other sources. Check out our collection of resources below to learn more about financial aid options.


Approximately two-thirds of today's college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.


Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.


Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you'll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn't always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.


Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for women trying to balance the demands of work, family, and earning their degree. We've curated a list of valuable scholarships specifically for women.


Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family's financial future. We've compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.


Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.

Rankings Archive

Best Online Emergency Management Programs of 2017
Rank School Location
1 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide Daytona Beach, FL
2 University of Central Missouri Warrensburg, MO
3 Ohio Christian University Circleville, OH
4 Philadelphia University Philadelphia, PA
5 Bellevue University Bellevue, NE
6 Trine University-Regional/Non-Traditional Campuses Fort Wayne, IN
7 Arkansas State University-Main Campus Jonesboro, AR
8 Union Institute & University Cincinnati, OH
9 Arkansas Tech University Russellville, AR
10 Bethel University McKenzie, TN
11 Adelphi University Garden City, NY
12 Barry University Miami, FL
13 Immaculata University Immaculata, PA
14 SUNY College of Technology at Canton Canton, NY
15 Everglades University Boca Raton, FL
Best Online Emergency Management Programs of 2016
Rank School Location
1 Upper Iowa University Fayette, IA
2 Adelphia University Garden City, NY
3 Arkansas State University Jonesboro, AR
4 Ohio Christian University Circleville, OH
5 Union Institute & University Cincinnati, OH
6 Immaculate University Immaculate, PA
7 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Daytona Beach, FL
8 Arkansas Tech University Russellville, AR
9 Barry University Miami, FL
10 Everglades University Boca Raton, FL