Ph.D. In Emergency Management Online


Updated April 10, 2023 is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Are you ready to find your fit?

Who Gets a Ph.D. in Emergency Management & What to Expect

Students interested in pursuing a specialized career in emergency management can consider enrolling in a Ph.D. in emergency management online program. Students who can think critically, problem-solve under pressure, and communicate effectively thrive in these programs. Professionals with a master's degree can enjoy higher salary potential and a variety of career opportunities, but doctorate-holders enjoy even higher earning opportunities and job possibilities, including research-oriented roles and higher education positions.

5 Reasons to Pursue an Online Ph.D. in Emergency Management

Students pursuing their Ph.D. in emergency management online enjoy a variety of attractive benefits. Many students pursue a doctorate to take advantage of higher salary opportunities and promotions. Some students desire to move into more specialized roles or change jobs. Doctoral students also develop their skills and knowledge to an expert level.

  1. High Salary Potential
    Doctoral graduates enjoy access to the most lucrative pay brackets in their field since they hold the highest possible education for emergency management professionals. These professionals can make more than $100,000 each year, depending on their chosen career path.
  2. Promotion Opportunities
    Some doctoral students choose to advance their degree to pursue promotion opportunities with their current organization. Employers often view candidates with unique education or experience favorably.
  3. Skill Development
    Earning a doctorate exposes students to the most expert-level skills in their field. By enrolling in a doctoral option, students can expand their skill set and knowledge base, setting them apart from other professionals.
  4. New Job Opportunities
    Students often choose to pursue a doctorate to switch to a new company or job opportunity. Professionals looking to make a significant change within their careers should ensure they stand out among other candidates.
  5. Specialized Roles
    Doctorate-holders can focus their careers on more specialized roles. Careers in higher education and research often require professionals to hold a doctorate since they should have additional knowledge and skills in their specific interest area. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Featured Online Programs

Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.

What Can I Do With an Online Doctorate in Emergency Management?

Students pursuing their Ph.D. in emergency management online can explore various subfields and career paths. Doctoral students can focus their degree outside of a Ph.D. if they pursue a doctor of emergency management (DEM) or a doctor of public administration (DPA). DEM programs prepare graduates for careers in operations, management, and leadership roles. DPA programs focus on the field's civic and governmental aspects. Most graduates of doctoral-level emergency management programs turn towards research-oriented or higher education careers.

Common Career Paths and Salaries

Graduates with a Ph.D. in emergency management can explore an array of prestigious job opportunities, allowing them to take advantage of high salary opportunities along the way. Graduates can pursue careers as risk management directors, emergency management specialists, emergency room directors, emergency preparedness managers, and college professors. Salary opportunities across these professions range from $60,000 to more than $117,000 annually.

Emergency Management Specialist

Emergency management specialists dedicate their careers to minimizing the impact of disasters by focusing on immediate response efforts and preventative measures. They also plan emergency response programs to educate communities. Average Annual Salary: $58,858

Risk Management Director

In charge of monitoring staff operations, budget development, and business planning, risk management directors direct and plan risk management programs. They also review and analyze risk data in order to uncover potential losses and lead staff members through efficient and effective uses of programs to promote quality processes. Average Annual Salary: $117,685

College Professor

Postsecondary teachers in the emergency management discipline teach college-level students how to succeed in the emergency management field upon graduation. Average Annual Salary: $78,470

Emergency Management Director

Emergency management directors are in charge of administrative and clinical efforts in emergency room departments, promoting communication between clinical employees and making sure patients are well taken care of and their records are maintained. Average Annual Salary: $74,420

Emergency Preparedness Manager

In charge of organizing response plans for potential emergency situations in various workplace settings, emergency preparedness managers evaluate potential threats and risks and develop innovative solutions and plans. Average Annual Salary:$65,867

Source: BLS and PayScale

6 Skills and Competencies

Students earning their Ph.D. in emergency management online develop a variety of useful skills and competencies to prepare them for successful careers.

1. Research Skills
Emergency management professionals must boast excellent research skills, especially at the doctoral level. Many graduates with their doctorate in emergency management go on to pursue research-focused careers.
2. Ethical Decision Making
Students pursuing their Ph.D. in emergency management online should be able to make decisions with ease. They should also be able to consider the most ethical resolutions. Ethical decision-making ensures emergency management professionals always provide the highest quality of care.
3. Communication Skills
Professionals working in emergency management should be able to communicate effectively across many audiences since their jobs relate directly to the care and well-being of others.
4. Critical-Thinking Skills
Emergency management doctoral students develop their critical-thinking skills throughout their curriculum. Since emergencies and disasters can be unpredictable in terms of scope, students must learn how to think quickly under pressure.
5. Problem-Solving Skills
Many of the responsibilities that emergency management professionals face revolve around solving problems effectively and efficiently.
6. Risk Identification
Throughout the curriculum, students learn how to identify potential risks and threats and make suggestions for ways to prevent those risks.

Emergency Management Ph.D. Program Requirements and Outcomes

Applicants dedicated to earning their Ph.D. in emergency management online need a master's degree from an accredited institution. While admissions processes and application requirements vary by school, some similarities exist. Doctoral programs require applicants to meet minimum GPA requirements, usually between 3.0 and 3.5. To demonstrate their minimum GPA and prior coursework, applicants should submit their official transcripts. All applicants must complete and submit their admissions applications and pay any associated application fees.

Applicants to emergency management programs do not typically need to provide GMAT or GRE scores. However, applicants may need to submit other supplemental admissions materials, including admissions essays, recommendation letters, and a resume or cover letter. Students typically earn their Ph.D. in around three years, focusing on coursework for two years and their dissertation requirement for one year.

Common Courses

Students pursuing their Ph.D. in emergency management online take many courses that provide useful skills and knowledge. Courses explore emergency management systems; emergency management policy and the administration of emergencies and disasters; contemporary issues in emergency management; risk management; and operations and planning. Coursework allows students to develop their critical thinking, problem-solving, and ethical decision-making skills throughout the curriculum.

Other Requirements

To successfully complete a doctoral program or any other degree, students must satisfy coursework requirements. Doctoral programs, however, feature extra requirements that students must complete before earning their degree. A dissertation is a key piece of a Ph.D. program. Students must complete research seminars dedicated to their dissertation along with their actual written product. Students must also complete a comprehensive exam at the end of their program to effectively demonstrate their competencies, skills, and knowledge of emergency management.

Dissertation Research Seminars

During their doctoral program, emergency management students typically must complete 1-3 dissertation research seminars. These seminars allow students to build their confidence and skills early on in their program, helping them focus on their dissertation topic as they develop a research plan and attend a residency to gain in-person experience.

Comprehensive Exam

Comprehensive exams allow students to demonstrate their skills, knowledge, and competencies in a culmination of everything they learned throughout their program. These exams typically occur at the end of the program.


A written document summarizing extensive research about a specific topic, students must complete a dissertation to demonstrate their knowledge of the emergency management field. Research and initial coursework allow students to settle on a topic. Once they complete their required coursework, degree-seekers can apply what they learned to their final written piece.

Emergency Management Professional Organizations

Professional organizations in the emergency management field allow professionals to take advantage of unique opportunities specific to their chosen career path. Emergency management includes emergency medical technicians, police officers, firefighters, and employees dedicated to providing safe environments and disaster and emergency relief to communities all over the world.

Joining a professional organization allows emergency management professionals to connect with other professionals in their field. These networking opportunities can help professionals cultivate job opportunities and lasting professional relationships that can lead to referrals during an individual's career.

Some organizations hold events and seminars that allow professionals to expand their skills and knowledge in the field. These events and seminars also open up more networking opportunities for members. By participating in professional development, networking events, and volunteering opportunities, members can make the most of their membership.

International Association of Emergency Managers

This nonprofit promotes the emergency management profession by working with members to support their goals of saving lives and protecting property from disasters and emergencies.

National Emergency Management Association

NEMA operates as the professional association for emergency management directors from every state, all territories, and the District of Columbia. NEMA exists as a source of support, information, and expertise for professionals in the emergency management field.

International Disaster Emergency Service

This nonprofit helps people from around the world using a Christian perspective and approach. The organization offers a variety of volunteer projects and training opportunities.

The International Association for Preparedness and Response

This membership organization functions as a nonprofit for all phases of emergency management and disaster preparedness. The organization promotes support for disaster services.

International Association of Fire Chiefs

The leading organization for emergency responders and firefighters around the world, this group leads the field in emergency medical services and firefighting.

Keep up with the latest

Never miss a detail on the news, trends, and policies that could directly impact your educational path. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Do this for you

Explore your possibilities- find schools with programs you’re interested in and clear a path for your future.