Online Master’s In Emergency Management Programs

A master's in emergency management can lead to new and exciting career opportunities. Here, we list the top online emergency management programs.

Updated September 21, 2022

Reviewed by ACO Rankings Team
Online Master’s In Emergency Management Programs

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Emergency management professionals prevent disasters and other hazards. An emergency management degree equips learners with education and training in key areas including disaster mitigation, response, and community resilience.

Emergency management master's degree-holders work at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and municipal governmental agencies. These professionals also find employment with private and nonprofit organizations. They assume roles such as emergency management specialist and emergency management director.

Emergency management workers receive good compensation for their efforts. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that emergency directors with a bachelor's and five years of experience earn $74,590 in median annual salary. This guide provides more information about emergency management programs, career opportunities, and scholarship funding.


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Emergency Management Career Outlook


How do I start a career in emergency management?

A master's program provides education and hands-on experience such as internship opportunities. Those without experience may want to consider programs such as FEMA Corps to build professional experience.

Is emergency management a good career?

Emergency managers play a vital role in protecting and serving their communities. They earn a good wage and may experience a 4% job growth rate between 2019-2029, according to BLS projections.

What kinds of jobs can you get with an emergency management degree?

An emergency management degree-holder qualifies for roles including emergency management coordinator, planner, and specialist. FEMA also notes that graduates become business continuity planners.

What is the difference between emergency management and disaster management?

Emergency management focuses on assessing, mitigating, and responding to hazards, disasters, and other emergencies. Disaster management focuses primarily on response and recovery during and after these events.

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Why Get a Degree in Emergency Management?

Emergency management professionals bear significant responsibilities. An advanced emergency management degree equips them with the proficiencies needed for their public service roles. Emergency managers and specialists typically need a bachelor's degree and work experience in an area such as emergency management, law enforcement, or fire safety.

A master's degree suits those with emergency management experience wanting to advance to leadership roles. It also enhances employment prospects for those entering the field with less experience. Employers value the advanced skills and on-the-job training that the best online emergency management degrees provide. Students can build real-world experience through internships and by volunteering with FEMA Corps, Peace Corps, or AmeriCorps VISTA.

How Much Does an Emergency Management Degree Cost?

Emergency management degree costs depend on factors such as institution, location, and format. Students can expect to pay between $499-$1,483 per credit, or about $15,968-$48,939 total for an online emergency management master's degree.

Virtual learning increases access to programs nationwide. The learning format also provides flexibility for working professionals wanting to advance their education. Enrollees save on the cost of relocation, transportation, childcare, and related expenses. Many schools now offer a flat tuition for students learning exclusively online, thereby saving on more expensive out-of-state tuition.

Colleges offering a generous financial aid package and interest-free payment plans help make the degree more affordable. Prospective students affiliated with the military or law enforcement benefit from tuition discounts at some schools. An emergency management degree may prove a worthy investment given the well-paying jobs and favorable job growth projected for graduates.

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How Much Do Emergency Management Majors Make?

Wages for emergency management degree-holders vary based on factors such as occupation, sector, and employer. March 2021 PayScale information highlights the most popular emergency management specialist employers: FEMA, public health departments, and the U.S. Air Force. PayScale reports that FEMA pays the highest salaries to these professionals, with a $71,280 annual salary.

FEMA currently hires for positions such as reservists, emergency management specialists, and supervisory emergency management specialists. Many positions require advanced education or experience, and pay reflects this level of professional accomplishment.

Emergency management directors with advanced education and the most experience can earn median annual salaries greater than $141,230, according to the BLS. Local and state governments pay the least with $67,060 and $64,710, respectively. Employers in the professional, scientific, and technical services sector pay the most at $106,420. The median pay for all emergency management directors stands at $74,590 per year.

Courses in Emergency Management

An evolving field such as emergency management requires employees well-versed in the latest trends, developments, and best practices. The curriculum for an online emergency management degree varies by program. Students can expect to complete between 30-36 credits beyond the bachelor's degree.

Some programs offer fully online learning. Others offer the best of both worlds with a blend of in-person and online learning. Coursework explores topics including risk identification and assessment; emergency management leadership; and continuity of operations, recovery, and emergency management.

Degree-seekers may use an internship or capstone project to demonstrate mastery of learned concepts. See below for three other courses in many emergency management degrees, representative of a sample curriculum.

Certifications and Licensure for Emergency Management

Certifications provide emergency management workers with credentials that verify their professional competencies. States may establish certain requirements for first responders and emergency management staff. Various national organizations offer the following key certifications.

The International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) offers these two certifications to advance emergency management managers' careers. Candidates pay a certificate. The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials International awards the CPE credential to public safety communications professionals including agency executives, managers, and supervisors. Candidates must complete two 12-week online courses and a culminating capstone to earn CPE designation. The International Board for Certification Services and Management awards the CEDP designation to emergency personnel from various backgrounds, including municipalities, law enforcement, and emergency management agencies. Candidates pay a fee and must pass a 100-150 question multiple-choice exam focused on emergency management, disaster preparedness, and safety and environment.

Scholarships for Emergency Management

Students use scholarship funding to help defray the cost of earning an online emergency management degree. The sponsoring organization establishes eligibility criteria, which may include academic performance or financial need. Below, we list three scholarship opportunities for emergency management students.

Scholarships for Emergency Management
Scholarship Amount Who Can Apply

International Association of Emergency Managers Scholarship

$1,500+ IAEM offers this scholarship to help cultivate graduate students well-prepared for the disaster management field. Candidates submit an application that includes school transcripts and two essays.

CIA Graduate Scholarship

Up to $25,000 per year The CIA offers a generous needs-based financial package for graduate students pursuing various majors. Candidates need a minimum 3.0 GPA and must pass minimum requirements to join the CIA.

Niche Scholarship

$2,000 Niche offers monthly scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students pursuing any major at a college. Candidates create an account and submit an application.

Online Master's in Emergency Management Programs 2022

#1

Arizona State University

School Information
Location Scottsdale, Arizona
Admission Rate 64%
Graduation Rate 4%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 98% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Arizona State University's academic offerings include high-quality online undergraduate and graduate programs. The Scottsdale-based institution offers 126 online degrees, including 48 online master's programs. Degree-seekers at the school choose from graduate programs in many fields, including a master's in emergency management and homeland security. Busy students often benefit from the online emergency management program's enrollment options and complete academic requirements around their schedule.

Learners gain transferable skills and prepare for positions in the field during core coursework and emergency management classes. Experiential learning opportunities help graduate students gain practical skills and prepare to impress employers after graduation. Master's degree-seekers typically graduate with their emergency management degree in 1-2 years. Admissions advisors help individuals understand the application requirements for their prospective program.

The school charges online learners affordable tuition rates, making graduate studies more accessible. The institution's graduate tuition rates average $6,384 for in-state students and out-of-state learners. The institution holds accreditation, which means enrollees can submit the FAFSA to receive federal grants and loans. At the school, 86% of students obtain financial aid to pay for their degree.

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#2

Arkansas Tech University

School Information
Location Russellville, Arkansas
Admission Rate 95%
Graduation Rate 38%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 50% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

A master's degree from Arkansas Tech University can lead to new career opportunities and increased responsibilities. Students learn from experts during the master's program in emergency management and homeland security, which uses a rigorous curriculum. The school offers advisors, IT professionals, and other support staff for online learners. Master's students learn through video lectures, assignments, and class discussions.

Online students can qualify for grants and scholarships to pay for tuition. In addition to this online emergency management program, Arkansas Tech University offers eight other master's degrees.

Arkansas Tech University Facts:

Number of Online Students: 5,885

Online Master's Options: 9

Tuition for Grad Students: $5,256 in-state; $10,512 out-of-state

Average Per-Student Aid: $7,728

Average Price With Aid: $10,537

The school holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

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#3

Lander University

School Information
Location Greenwood, South Carolina
Admission Rate 43%
Graduation Rate 45%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 45% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Lander University is a public school located in Greenwood, South Carolina. Experts in the field teach graduate students in the accredited emergency management program. The school's advisors, IT support professionals, and other support staff help distance learners meet degree requirements. The online programs maintain a high academic standard by connecting students and faculty in virtual learning environments.

Graduate students use financial aid such as loans and scholarships to cover tuition expenses. The school reports a 43% admission rate.

Lander University Numbers:

Total Online Students: 1,442

Online Master's Program Totals: 3

Graduate School Tuition: $8,856 in-state; $16,844 out-of-state

Average Aid Per Student: $11,185

Average Price With Aid: $13,009

The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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#4

Millersville University of Pennsylvania

School Information
Location Millersville, Pennsylvania
Admission Rate 79%
Graduation Rate 56%
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 25% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Millersville University of Pennsylvania offers a respected master's-level emergency management program. While many of the institution's students pursue their degree on campus, 1,935 students attend online classes. Many online programs feature flexible scheduling options that benefit working professionals.

The master's degree in emergency management features a rigorous curriculum, helping degree-seekers develop foundational knowledge in the field. Faculty mentors help graduate students customize the program based on their professional goals. The online program prioritizes flexible scheduling and specialized industry skills development. Graduates of the emergency management program often land competitive roles in their field. Master's students can take advantage of the institution's career services to prepare to transition from their studies into the workforce.

Learners pursuing a master's degree from the school can access support services including career advising and financial aid counseling. Students at the school benefit from affordable tuition rates and institutional funding, which can reduce out-of-pocket expenses. Additional financial aid options include private scholarships and fellowships.

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#5

Adelphi University

School Information
Location Garden City, New York
Admission Rate 74%
Graduation Rate 73%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 21% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Adelphi University offers an online master's program for distance learners. The New York school enrolls 1,450 students in its online classes. The institution's online options include an MS in emergency management. The accredited curriculum offers a rigorous education valued by employers. The degree strengthens knowledge and skills for careers in emergency management. The university reports a student-to-faculty ratio of 11-to-1, giving learners one-on-one time with faculty.

Prospective students can learn more about online support services at the college's website. Students pay affordable tuition rates and receive financial aid. These options help master's students pay for their degree with less debt. The college has a graduation rate of 73% for its programs.

Adelphi University at a Glance:

Total Online Enrollment: 1,686

Number of Online Master’s Programs: 5

Graduate Tuition: $41,920/year in-state and out-of-state

The school is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

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