Best Online Master’s in Emergency Management Programs

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Emergency management is a field dedicated to protecting resources and ensuring public safety in the event of a catastrophe, such as an earthquake, hurricane, floods, terrorist attack, or any other crisis. Emergency management directors develop contingency plans for all potential disasters, train personnel to effectively respond to public needs, and oversee the implementation of these procedures when disasters actually strike. These directors often work for government agencies at the local, state, and federal levels, although some may find jobs in the private sector.

Most emergency management careers are attainable with a bachelor’s degree, and job-seekers with a master’s degree are considered top job candidates for management-level positions. Many students who want to earn a master’s in emergency management choose to do so online. The curriculum for these programs will cover the latest tools, resources, and organizational strategies used to plan for and respond to emergencies of different magnitudes, from localized disasters to state or nationwide crises. Students can further bolster their career prospects by focusing their studies on specific areas of emergency management, such as homeland security or public health.

Read on to learn more about what you can do with a master’s degree in emergency management and what kind of career opportunities you can look forward to once you have your degree.

WILL AN ONLINE MASTER’S IN EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT PROGRAM PROVIDE ME WITH THE SKILLS I NEED TO ADVANCE MY CAREER?

Online master’s in emergency management programs are designed to prepare students for the demanding nature of their chosen profession. The curriculum uses case studies to explore effective ― and ineffective ― response strategies for different emergencies. Other key areas of focus include logistics, organizational leadership, and post-response evaluation procedures. Graduates leave school prepared to lead emergency response teams in a range of time-sensitive scenarios.

WILL AN ONLINE MASTER’S IN EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT PROGRAM WORK WITH MY SCHEDULE?

Online master’s in 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.

WHAT JOBS CAN I GET WITH MY MASTER’S IN EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT?

Graduates who leave school with a master’s in emergency management will qualify for most top entry-level positions, as well as some managerial roles. Students who earn specialized emergency management master’s degrees will also be top candidates for niche roles in their field of expertise. Some of the most popular career pathways for these degree-holders include emergency management directors, information systems managers, logistical support personnel, and social and community services managers.

WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE MASTER’S IN EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS?

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 master’s in emergency management programs in the United States. If you are considering an online master’s in emergency management, be sure to contact admissions specialists at different colleges and universities to learn more about their specific master’s degree requirements and offerings.

See Methodology
Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost % Enrolled Online Location Description
1 Georgetown University RANKING SCORE 78.86 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 15% LOCATION Washington, DC

Based in Washington, D.C., Georgetown University offers a master of professional studies in emergency and disaster management. The 33-credit program prepares learners for careers in disaster recovery planning and emergency preparedness. The program explores the full disaster recovery process, especially in the U.S.

The curriculum includes 11 courses emphasizing critical thinking skills, risk perception awareness, and project management. For the capstone component, students complete a special project approved by faculty. Classes convene in the fall, spring, and summer semesters. Students can complete the flexible online program asynchronously in 2-3 years. Students interested in synchronous courses can enroll in hybrid classes to meet their learning needs.

Applicants must submit a resume, personal statement, and official college transcripts. Georgetown University receives accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

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2 University of Florida RANKING SCORE 77.58 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 43% LOCATION Gainesville, FL

Founded in the 1800s in Gainesville, the historic University of Florida now offers the master of fire and emergency sciences program. Administered by UF’s College of Design, Construction, and Planning, the program helps students build the leadership skills needed to perform emergency duties.

Learners take 11 courses during the spring and fall semesters. To graduate from the 33-credit program, students must submit a research report detailing a major recovery issue such as pre- and post-disaster mitigation planning. Graduates qualify for careers at high-level institutions including FEMA, the Red Cross, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Interested applicants must submit a resume, three letters of recommendation, and GRE scores, as well as possess a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. The University of Florida receives accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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3 University of South Florida RANKING SCORE 74.47 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 34% LOCATION Tampa, FL

The University of South Florida's master of public health program boasts several concentrations, including global disaster management, humanitarian relief, and homeland security. The 46-credit program comprises eight courses that train students to manage humanitarian crises and assist with recovery efforts. To conclude the program, learners complete a special project and take a comprehensive exam focused on humanitarian emergencies.

Admissions criteria include completion of a bachelor's degree with a "B" average, GRE scores, and a statement of purpose and objectives, highlighting the student's experience in public health. A reduced rate tuition program offers discounts to out-of-state students. The University of South Florida's College of Public Health receives accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health. The University of South Florida receives accreditation from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and schools.

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4 Boston University RANKING SCORE 72.41 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 19% LOCATION Boston, MA

Boston University offers a master of science in healthcare emergency management program. The 36-credit program delivers synchronous coursework through Adobe Connect. Full-time students typically graduate from the program in 12 months; part-time students can finish in two years. The curriculum explores the disaster life cycle and the medical consequences of man-made and natural disasters. Students receive hands-on training from faculty members and earn credit for internships. Learners complete a research practicum and thesis in designing or conducting crisis management to conclude the degree.

Applicants should possess a bachelor's degree in public health, emergency management, or natural science, and submit GRE scores, letters of recommendation, a resume, and a personal statement. Boston University receives accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

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5 California State University-Long Beach RANKING SCORE 70.14 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 17% LOCATION Long Beach, CA

The Long Beach campus of California State University oversees the master of science in emergency services administration, administered by the College of Continuing and Professional Education. The MS in emergency services administration takes an interdisciplinary approach to the research and theory of disaster management. Students complete courses in communications, analytical research, and information literacy. A cybersecurity course emphasizes hacking and information security.

The program's asynchronous course delivery allows students to study at their own pace. Learners must complete 33 units to graduate from the online master's in emergency management program. The culminating capstone requires either creating a project or writing a thesis paper.

Applicants must submit a resume, three letters of recommendation, and a letter of intent, and possess a minimum 3.0 GPA. California State University-Long Beach receives accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

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6 Liberty University RANKING SCORE 63.59 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 96% LOCATION Lynchburg, VA

Liberty University's master of public administration program consists of six cognates, including disaster management, which explores terrorism and hazard mitigation. The core public administration curriculum emphasizes communication and leadership skills. Students can complete the degree asynchronously and may choose to conclude the program with an optional thesis statement.

The 36-hour program teaches students the principles of public administration and its importance in disaster relief efforts. Graduates can pursue careers as homeland security officers, emergency management directors, and emergency preparedness administrators.

Applicants must submit official college transcripts and may transfer up to 18 hours from an accredited institution. The unique eight-week course format offers multiple start dates throughout the year. Liberty University receives accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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7 University of Maryland-Baltimore County RANKING SCORE 60.58 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 17% LOCATION Baltimore, MD

The University of Maryland-Baltimore County campus supervises the UMBC emergency health services master's program. Students entering the 30-credit program choose from three tracks: administration, planning, and policy; preventative medicine and epidemiology; and education.

Each track covers a unique aspect of the emergency services agenda. The administrative policy and planning track preparing professionals for leadership roles requiring skills in planning, research, development, and organizational operations, with concentrations in emergency management. The preventive medicine track focuses on public health methods, as applied to health in situations such as disasters and refugee relief, promoting involvement in activities aimed at the prevention of injuries and large scale spread of disease, and the growing field of community paramedicine. The education track suits providers, researchers, policy makers, and administrators wishing to pursue ISD certification.

The online program features both synchronous and asynchronous courses, with hybrid/on-campus course options in all three tracks. Students can request a research capstone (non-thesis) or thesis version of the program.

Under the guidance of the program advisor, students may concurrently enroll in the Emergency Management Post-Baccalaureate Certificate for those interested in emergency management, which can be obtained as a stand-alone option, or as part of any of the M.S. degree tracks.

Applicants must have a minimum 3.2 GPA in their undergraduate studies. Students with a GPA lower than 3.2 must submit GRE scores when applying for acceptance into the program. On average, full-time students complete the program in two years, while part-time students may take up to five years to fulfill program requirements.

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8 Nova Southeastern University RANKING SCORE 60.32 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 51% LOCATION Fort Lauderdale, FL

The master of science degree in disaster and emergency management program at Nova Southeastern University takes two years to complete. The 36-credit hour program features six tracks in maritime safety, cybersecurity, criminal justice, public health, fire administration, and environmental hazards. To complete a specialization track, students take five courses totaling 12 credits. Students must also complete two interprofessional elective courses in a topic such as social aspects of terrorism or public health informatics. Core courses reinforce the management and leadership skills needed to rebuild communities after disasters. Online courses feature synchronous and asynchronous classes.

Application requires a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 and two letters of recommendation. GRE/MAT scores are recommended. NSU's policy allows up to 12 transfer credits. In-state and out-of-state students pay the same tuition, and discounted tuition is offered to full-time first responders and veterans. Nova Southeastern University receives accreditation from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

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9 University of Nebraska Medical Center RANKING SCORE 60.28 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 20% LOCATION Omaha, NE

The University of Nebraska Medical Center offers a master of science in emergency preparedness program, emphasizing four areas of emergency preparedness: protection, prevention, response, and recovery. Each area encompasses its own three-credit course. These four courses form the core component of the master's degree in emergency management online. The curriculum follows the ideals practiced by the Federal Department of Homeland Security, including worker safety and information management. Students also take courses in biostatistics and terrorism. The 36-credit program boasts a flexible asynchronous format. Full-time students can complete the program in two years or less.

The admissions department prefers applicants with a bachelor's degree. Applicants must also submit GRE scores, three letters of recommendation, and a minimum 3.0 GPA. In-state and out-of-state students pay the same tuition. The University of Nebraska receives accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

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10 Virginia Commonwealth University RANKING SCORE 57.00 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 11% LOCATION Richmond, VA

Virginia Commonwealth University launched the master of arts in homeland security and emergency preparedness in 2005, following the tragic events of 9/11. The HSEP Master's degree was the first degree in the nation to combine studies of homeland security and emergency preparedness.

Students benefit from faculty members with expertise in various disciplines. The interdisciplinary program develops the skills needed to become a leader in homeland security and emergency preparedness. Topics such as survey on terrorism explore the political aspects of terrorism and how it affects globalization.

The 36 hour distance education program is fully online--students can complete the degree from anywhere in the world. Courses address the most pressing topics in the field, including Cybersecurity, Terrorism, Intelligence, Emergency Management, Public Health, Constitutional Issues, and others. The three-hour capstone seminar encompasses a research project with extensive writing and analytical research components.

Degree candidates must submit a resume, GRE scores, and official college transcripts with a minimum 2.75 GPA. Virginia Commonwealth University receives accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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11 Adler University RANKING SCORE 56.55 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 36% LOCATION Chicago, IL

Located in Chicago, Ill., Alder University offers an MA in emergency management leadership in two formats: completely online, and through their executive format, which is a blend of online learning with evening or weekend courses held in Chicago. Both degree program formats are catered towards students who are looking to become psychological first aid providers.

Faculty members of the graduate studies program are primarily emergency management professionals who have experience working in natural and man-made disaster situations. As such, the curriculum focuses on real-world examples that teach students how to create disaster response plans, develop leadership techniques to conduct trainings, and work with different health organizations in emergency situations. These skills are taught through courses that total to 37 credits. Web classes in this emergency management master's online program are taken over the course of eight weeks. Online students typically complete this graduate degree in around two years, working full-time jobs as they do so.

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12 Arizona State University-Tempe RANKING SCORE 56.44 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 95% LOCATION Tempe, AZ

Arizona State University-Tempe offers an online master of arts in emergency management and homeland security program. The 33-credit hour program consists of 11 courses that outline the principles of hazards management and public safety. Students can select a specialization in biosecurity and threat management, community resilience, emergency management, or homeland security. Graduates can pursue diverse careers in agricultural inspection and medical and health services.

ASU partnered with King's College in London, England and UNSW Sydney in Australia to create a global educational experience. Through the PLUS Alliance, students can take online courses delivered by these international universities. Full-time students can complete the online program in one year.

Admissions criteria include a bachelor's or master's degree in criminology, public service, public administration, or another closely related field. Applicants must also provide official transcripts with a minimum 3.0 GPA, letters of recommendation, and a written statement.

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13 CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice RANKING SCORE 56.05 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 38% LOCATION New York, NY

John Jay's College of Criminal Justice caters to students interested in completing a master's in emergency management online. The master of science in emergency management program covers capital and operational budgeting, terrorism, and politics. The 36-credit program consists of core courses, electives, and a management analytics cluster. Upon completion of the first 24 credits, students must take a comprehensive exam to continue in the program.

Students with a minimum program GPA of 3.5 may select the thesis track, earning up to six credits for completing a thesis prospectus and document. The program features six accelerated eight-week sessions that allow students to create a flexible schedule to meet their needs. Dedicated students can finish the program within two years.

Applicants must submit college transcripts with a minimum 3.0 GPA. John Jay College of Criminal Justice receives accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

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14 Oklahoma State University RANKING SCORE 54.45 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 32% LOCATION Stillwater, OK

Oklahoma State University's master of science in fire and emergency management program provides a comprehensive hybrid curriculum. The program requires nine hours of on-campus attendance, fulfilled by taking one-week courses at the Stillwater, Oklahoma location.

The program began in 1996 as a degree concentration and officially became its own program in 1999. Today, students may choose one of two tracks in the hybrid program: the 30-hour non-thesis track or the 32-hour thesis track. Courses explore analytical theories regarding emergency research and management, and take courses in research design, disaster recovery, and the politics of disaster.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree in a fire- or emergency-related field, and submit college transcripts with a cumulative 3.0 GPA. OSU receives accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

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15 Marywood University RANKING SCORE 54.40 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 18% LOCATION Scranton, PA

Located in Scranton, PA, Marywood University's master of public administration program offers six concentrations: general public administration, nonprofit management, homeland security and disaster management, health services administration, social work, and criminal justice. The homeland security concentration caters to students pursuing an emergency management master's degree online.

The program prepares students for administrative roles within the public sector. The 30-credit program emphasizes the development of practical and research skills. Asynchronous online courses allow students to complete coursework at their own convenience.

In-state and out-of-state students pay the same tuition rate, and receive free textbooks. The affordable program also boasts a simplified application process that does not require students to submit test scores or pay an application fee. The master of public administration program receives accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration.

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16 University of Louisville RANKING SCORE 54.35 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 16% LOCATION Louisville, KY

Situated in the heart of Louisville, Kentucky, the University of Louisville created a unique program for criminal justice enthusiasts. The master of science in criminal justice (justice administration) emphasizes the relationship between the criminal justice system and several concentrations, including homeland security and emergency management.

The 36-credit hour program explores topics including theories of crime and delinquency, or the motivation behind criminal activities. Students complete 12 courses to fulfill the degree requirements. Online students advance through their courses asynchronously, in accelerated terms of six weeks each.

Full-time students can finish the program in less than two years. The school offers three intensive semesters that allow students to complete the required course load in one year. Students may transfer up to six credit hours from an accredited institution. The admissions process requires the completion of a bachelor's degree, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and a personal essay. The University of Louisville receives accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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17 Adelphi University RANKING SCORE 52.73 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 20% LOCATION Garden City, NY

Adelphi serves over 7,000 undergraduate and graduate students across their degree programs in Garden City, NY and over the internet. Those studying through the college's eCampus can earn their emergency management master's degree online. This MS in emergency management program is particularly well-suited for students seeking leadership roles in organizations that focus on natural disaster relief, homeland security, and terrorism mitigation.

The 38-credit degree consists of courses taken across Adelphi University's University College and Robert B. Willumstad School of Business, and finishes with a capstone research project. All students in this interdisciplinary program have the option to specialize in one of the following tracks: environment, homeland security, or health. To further meet students' individual academic and career goals, Adelphi University also offers a Certificate in Emergency Management worth 18 credits for those looking to take fewer courses. The credits taken toward the certificate can also be applied to the master's degree in emergency management online program.

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18 Jacksonville State University RANKING SCORE 52.12 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 63% LOCATION Jacksonville, AL

Jacksonville State offers bachelor's, master's, and doctor of science degree programs to students on their campus in Jacksonville, Ala. as well as online. Their MS in emergency management degree in particular focuses on crisis management skills and hazard assessment knowledge. Students must complete 30 total credits to attain their master's degree, 21 of which are specific to the emergency management degree program and nine of which are electives that students can select from 15 different courses.

There is no requirement for any on-campus attendance or internship credit, so all aspects of this online master's in emergency management can be completed remotely and during any time of day. For those looking for a smaller time commitment, a 15-credit Graduate Certificate in Emergency Management is offered through Jacksonville State University's online degree program selections as well. All of these web-based learning options at Jacksonville State are facilitated through the Blackboard eLearning platform.

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19 Millersville University of Pennsylvania RANKING SCORE 51.80 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 27% LOCATION Millersville, PA

Millersville's online masters degree in emergency management is a program geared toward all students regardless of their undergraduate major. The degree is facilitated through the school's Center for Disaster Research and Education, which combines courses taught by faculty, emergency management experts, and disaster studies researchers to offer a rich interdisciplinary education. Graduates of Millersville's master of science in emergency management (MSEM) degree have gone on to pursue jobs in the energy sector, at consulting firms, and in health services, among other occupations.

For those looking to complete their graduate degree while working, Millersville University's Center for Disaster Research and Education instructors primarily conduct their online classes in the evening, allowing students to fit their studies into their existing work schedules. This flexible, 30-credit program is composed of courses that can be completed on a full- or part-time basis. As students complete their degree remotely, they can access resources such as remote office hours, professional organizations, and an online library reserve.

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20 National University RANKING SCORE 51.72 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 82% LOCATION La Jolla, CA

Natural University takes an interdisciplinary approach to its master of science in homeland security and emergency management program. The veteran-founded university tackles issues of security and emergency management as they relate to natural and man-made disasters. Learners explore the world of national security and terrorism in the 54-quarter unit program. Course topics include infrastructure protection, domestic terrorism, and global lessons in security.

National University's undergraduate students can participate in a special transition program that grants quarter unit credits for coursework. Interested students should speak to a program advisor to learn more about the MSHSEM program. Students enrolled in the university's dual BS/MS in homeland security and emergency management may qualify for special privileges typically offered by each respective program.

The university allows students to transfer up to 13.5 quarter units into the program. The school follows a rolling admissions process, and students can apply year-round. National University receives accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

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21 Arkansas State University RANKING SCORE 51.46 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 76% LOCATION Jonesboro, AR

The MS degree in disaster preparedness and emergency management offered through Arkansas State's College of Nursing and Health Professions is ideal for students who are looking to involve themselves in a career that focuses on disaster planning, response, and recovery. While Arkansas State University is based out of State University, Ark., students in this program can opt to take their courses remotely through the school's web platform, A-State Online.

All undergraduate majors are eligible to apply, but one unique feature to Arkansas State's online master's in emergency management is that all applicants must be interviewed by an adviser in-person or over the internet before being admitted to this graduate degree. Students who are accepted into the program can then enroll in courses. To finish their degree, students are also required to complete an internship, research project, or thesis. These various courses and learning experiences in the emergency management master's online program total to 36 credits by the time of graduation.

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22 University of Alaska Fairbanks RANKING SCORE 47.34 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 80% LOCATION Fairbanks, AK

The University of Alaska Fairbanks designed the master of security and disaster management program for current and future industry professionals. Applicants do not need a bachelor's degree in emergency management or a related field to enter the program. The school allows applicants to fulfill prerequisites in emergency planning and preparedness, and community planning in emergency management.

The 30-credit program stresses the importance of proper surveillance protocols through courses in human security, vulnerability, and protection. Students with graduate-level credits from the FBI National Academy or National Fire Academy can transfer up to six credits into UAF's program.

The program adheres to strict admission requirements. Applicants with a GPA lower than 3.25 must complete the Watson-Glaser critical thinking test, and applicants with a GPA lower than 2.75 must submit GRE test scores. UAF's master of security and disaster management program receives accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

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23 University of Nevada-Las Vegas RANKING SCORE 45.19 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 23% LOCATION Las Vegas, NV

The University of Nevada-Las Vegas created the master of science in executive crisis and emergency management program for working professionals that cannot find the time to attend traditional classes. The hybrid program combines online courses and classes with an on-campus component. Students attend on-campus courses over six extended weekend sessions. Learners attend the weekend sessions as part of a student cohort group.

The program prepares students to apply practical skills and theory to real-life emergencies. Theory-based courses such as the science of catastrophes and the evolution of terror give students in-depth crisis management knowledge. Learners complete 36 credits in two years, culminating in a final research project worth three credits.

To meet admission requirements, applicants must submit a resume detailing their professional experience, and provide GRE scores. The University of Nevada-Las Vegas receives accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

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24 Pace University-New York RANKING SCORE 44.69 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 28% LOCATION New York, NY

Located in New York City, Pace University's faculty members bring to the program years of experience working for the FBI and FEMA. These instructors prove crucial to the school's master of arts in management for public safety and homeland security professionals program.

Pace University created an extensive leadership program for students pursuing an emergency management master's degree online. The University partnered with the Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS) to design the program's curriculum. Through this alliance, Pace University students gain special access to the CHDS library and courses exploring the U.S. Constitution, ethical issues, and public sector management.

The 33-36-credit program takes two years to complete. Students interested in earning extra credit can pursue an additional three-credit course. To graduate, students must pass a comprehensive exam or construct a research project.

Admission to the program requires a bachelor's degree, two letters of recommendation, a resume, and a personal statement. Pace University receives accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

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25 Eastern Kentucky University RANKING SCORE 44.55 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 80% LOCATION Richmond, KY

Eastern Kentucky University administers an online master's in safety, security, and emergency management program, emphasizing a concentration in emergency management. EKU delivers an online program with no on-campus requirements. Students complete all assignments asynchronously. The flexible schedule allows students to balance, work, family, and school obligations.

Program instructors hail from diverse backgrounds in the public and private sector. Students aspiring to a career in security can pursue the homeland security concentration. The emergency management concentration teaches students the key aspects of emergency response and coordination. Students also learn how to manage teams of aid workers. A course exploring the management of national disasters examines the rules and regulations surrounding relief efforts.

Exceptional students may waive certain admissions requirements. Applicants with a GPA of 3.0 or higher do not need to submit GRE scores. Eastern Kentucky University receives accreditation from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

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Timeline
18 months to 2 years
Program Costs (when available)
$8,000 to $15,000 in annual tuition
Concentrations
Homeland Security, Information Systems Management, Public Safety, Public Health, Law Enforcement/Fire Protection, Logistics
Accreditation
Council for the Accreditation of Emergency Management Education (CAEME)

Master vs Bachelor of Emergency Management

Emergency management is considered a “recession-proof” industry, due to the constant need for emergency response and disaster relief services. The additional emphasis on homeland security in recent years has also increased the number of jobs in emergency management. A recent article from EmergencyManagement.com noted that some experts project the field to grow by as much as 20% in the next few years.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the unemployment rate for master’s degree-holders across all industries is 2.4%; by comparison, bachelor’s and associate degree holders face an unemployment rate of 2.8% and 3.8%, respectively. Using BLS data, the following table lists the growth projections for some common career pathways in emergency management.

Profession Number of Jobs (2014) Projected Growth Rate (2014-24)th>

Increase in Number of Jobs (2014-24)
Emergency Management Directors 10,500 6% +700
Logisticians 130,400 2% +2,500
Computer and Information Systems Managers 348,500 15% +53,700
Social and Community Service Managers 138,500 10% +13,200

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

O*Net Online notes that most emergency management professionals hold a bachelor’s degree. The latest data indicates that roughly 15% of emergency management directors have a master’s degree, while 52% of employees in this role have a bachelor’s. For this reason, candidates with a master’s in emergency management are well-positioned to advance in the field.

Earning a Living

In addition to favorable employment rates and enhanced job opportunities, candidates with a master’s degree in emergency management are projected to earn higher salaries than their counterparts with lesser degrees. Your actual salary, however, will naturally depend on your job title, where you work, and other specific variables. The next table examines salary expectations for different emergency management occupations at four key career benchmarks.

Profession Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-10 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 $50,000td>

$63,000 $69,000 $76,000

As the table reveals, all five professions saw at least 40% salary growth between the entry-level and late-career stages. Disaster recovery coordinators experience the highest gain ― an increase of roughly $48,000, or 84.2%, in annual earnings. Intelligence analysts and logistics managers ranked next with career salary gains of $45,000 (60.3%) and $26,000 (52%) per year, respectively.

Career Opportunities

Students who graduate with a master’s degree in emergency management are qualified for dozens of jobs at the local, state, and federal levels. Your eligibility for specific jobs will depend on a few factors, including degree specialization and work experience. Below, we’ve covered four common careers for master’s degree holders.

Emergency Management Directors: Emergency management directors lead teams that are responsible for developing and implementing procedures for different situations that pose a threat to human life, property, and natural resources. They carefully investigate all of the factors and potential hazards of their contingency plan, and thoroughly evaluate plans that have been enacted in order to make future improvements.

Logisticians: Logisticians are responsible for coordinating supplies, transportation, human support, and other resources used in emergency response procedures. They conduct thorough inventory checks and work to improve the supply chain of their agency or organization in order to prepare for time-sensitive emergency scenarios.

Computer and Information Systems Managers: Also known as information technology (IT) managers, these employees develop, coordinate, and utilize computer-based tools and programs used in emergency response and disaster relief. They also oversee periodic system upgrades and monitor online traffic to ensure that their IT systems are safeguarded from security breaches and other outside threats.

Social and Community Service Managers: Social and community service managers plan, coordinate, and oversee various social services and community programs. In emergency situations, these managers often work on the front lines to help individuals affected by disasters and arrange for support from larger agencies.

Occupation Median Annual Salary
Emergency Management Directors $67,330
Logisticians $72,460
Computer and Information Systems Managers $131,600
Social and Community Service Managers $63,530

Professional Organizations

Making professional connections and learning about different approaches to emergency management is crucial to developing as a professional. These 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.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

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.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

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 COLLEGE STUDENTS

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.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR WOMEN

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.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

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.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

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 Master's in Emergency Management Programs of 2017
Rank School Location
1 Millersville University of Pennsylvania Millersville, PA
2 Adelphi University Garden City, NY
3 Philadelphia University Philadelphia, PA
4 Arizona State University-Skysong Scottsdale, AZ
5 Arkansas State University-Main Campus Jonesboro, AR
6 Adler University Chicago, IL
7 Lander University Greenwood, SC
8 Arkansas Tech University Russellville, AR
9 Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH
10 Jacksonville State University Jacksonville, AL

Best Online Master's in Emergency Management Programs of 2016
Rank School Location
1 Millersville University of Pennsylvania Millersville, PA
2 Philadelphia University Philadelphia, PA
3 Arkansas State University Jonesboro, AR
4 Arkansas Tech University Russellville, AR
5 Lander University Greenwood, SC