In a growing world, emergencies are becoming increasingly common. Unfortunately, emergencies happen daily at different levels: Pandemics like the 2020’s coronavirus, natural disasters, acts of terror, mass-shootings, etc. Emergency management professionals are in high demand to respond to these situations by preparing plans and procedures that will be used in emergencies. These seasoned professionals also handle emergencies in real-time by coordinating with government agencies to direct resources, personnel, and equipment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Emergency Managers earned median pay of $74,590 in 2019 with a growth rate of 5%. If you are looking into making Emergency Management as a career, having a bachelors will get you started, but getting a Master’s in Emergency Management Online will qualify for you for senior-level roles in this lucrative field. In this guide, we will walk you through all aspects of an Online Master’s in Emergency Management.

Is Emergency Management Degree worth it?

Yes, absolutely. Emergency Management is a field that is growing, just like any other profession. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, competition for jobs in this field is expected to be strong. And a degree, primarily a master’s in emergency management online, will help career prospects.

Featured Online Programs

Southern New Hampshire University

PROGRAM: Online MS in Management – Emergency Management

Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with more than 3,000 on-campus students and over 60,000 online students, making us one of the fastest-growing universities in the country. Founded in 1932, we’ve been relentlessly reinventing higher education ever since and have gained national recognition for our dedication to helping students transform their lives and the lives of those around them.

We’re proud to provide affordable, accessible education that students can pursue on our 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH, over our innovative online platform or at our regional centers in Manchester, Nashua, Portsmouth and Salem, NH, and Brunswick, ME.

SNHU has earned the Best Buy and Best of Business – Best Online Degree awards and is consistently ranked as a top Military Friendly® School by G.I Jobs®.

Best Master’s in Emergency Management Online for 2023

Here are the top 10 Online Masters in Emergency Management programs for 2023:

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College Name & AddressTuitionGraduation Rate
Oklahoma State University
107 Whitehurst, Stillwater, Oklahoma 74078
California State University, Long Beach
1250 Bellflower Blvd, Long Beach, California 90840
Nova Southeastern University
3301 College Ave, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33314
George Town University
37th and O St NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20057
Arizona State University
1475 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, Arizona 85257
Southern New Hampshire University
2500 North River Road, Manchester, New Hampshire 03106
Jacksonville State University
700 Pelham Road North, Jacksonville, Alabama 36265
Adelphi University
South Ave, Garden City, New York 11530
Arkansas State University
2105 E. Aggie Road, Jonesboro, Arkansas 72401
Eastern Kentucky University
521 Lancaster Ave, Richmond, Kentucky 40475
American Public University System
111 W Congress St, Charles Town, West Virginia 25414
University of Maryland Global Campus
3501 University Blvd East, Adelphi, Maryland 20783
Lander University
320 Stanley Avenue, Greenwood, South Carolina 29649
John Jay College of Criminal Justice
524 W 59th St, New York, New York 10019
Saint Leo University
33701 State Road 52, Saint Leo, Florida 33574

Source – Integrated Post Secondary Education Data System & University Data
*Tuition rates are for in-state and per year. Program specific rates may apply.
**NA – data not available

Understanding Master’s in Emergency Management Online

An Online Master’s Program in Emergency Management, like other graduate-level programs, consists of many courses. Typically, 30-35 credits are needed for graduation at many universities. Emergency Management also involves learning Operations and Project Management, Communication, and Leadership. In this section, we will go through the full details of the programs.

Concentrations of Master’s in Emergency Management Online Programs

Emergency Management is a diverse field with many concentrations. Emergencies can happen anywhere, and there are a lot of varieties of emergencies. Examples include:

Natural disasters

hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, etc.


terrorist activities, mass shootings, chemical disasters, etc.


fire, industrial failures, etc.

Given the broad nature of emergencies, the study of Emergency Management is also comprehensive.

The main branches of emergency Management are:

Disaster Management – Read about Disaster Management Master’s Degree Online.

Crisis Management – Read about Master’s Degree in Crisis Management and Response.

And many universities that offer an Online Master’s in Emergency Management program, also offer some of the below concentrations:

Area of FocusDescriptionCareers
Fire ScienceFire Science is a study of fire and its behavior. Students that enroll in studying fire science will learn about fire investigation, prevention, protection, and safety. Fire Science degrees help students learn about the usage and maintenance of firefighting equipment, fire codes, and laws, emergency medical training, etc.

Students that have a master’s degree in fire science qualify to become Fire Chiefs and other senior roles within this field.

This concentration of emergency management is usually offered as a master’s degree in fire and emergency management.

Here are some universities that offer these programs:
Here are some universities that offer master’s degrees in fire science.

Anna Maria College
Arizona State University
Waldorf University
Liberty University
Fire Chiefs
Fire Inspectors
Forensic Scientists
Arson Investigators
Emergency Managers
Homeland SecurityHomeland security is one of the essential branches of Emergency Management. Created after the September 11 attacks, this branch enables graduates to gain knowledge in crime intelligence, strategic planning, the psychology of terrorists, technical knowledge, weapons of mass destruction, information dissemination, etc. Many graduates end up working for the Department of Homeland Security at the Federal government, Drug Enforcement Agency, etc.

This concentration of emergency management is usually offered as an online masters in emergency management and homeland security. Here are some universities that offer these programs:

Auburn University at Montgomery
Northeastern University
Tulane University
Homeland Security Officers
Response and Recovery Managers
Security Analysts
Intelligence Analysts
Defense Analysts
Biosecurity and Threat ManagementBiosecurity is a field where professionals are tasked with protecting, mitigating, and preparing measures against the threat of biological agents and hazardous elements. In this field, students are equipped with skills to manage and mitigating threats to society, nations, and the world. Graduates learn technical skills such as using geographical information systems (GIS), pandemic control, along with management and leadership skills to handle threats in emergencies.

Here are some universities that offer master’s in Biosecurity and Threat Management

Arizona State University
University of Maryland Global Campus
Threat Analysts
Vulnerability Managers

Curriculum for Master’s in Emergency Management Online

Emergency Management is a field that involves many aspects. The emergency management curriculum can be divided into three categories:

  • Management – Management teaches students about decision making, resource planning, organizational leadership, project management, etc. These skills are useful for students to be leaders in the planning phase and also in emergencies.
  • Core – In this category, students learn about the ins and outs of emergencies—things like Risk Assessments, Disasters Mitigation, Legal, Intelligence gathering, etc.
  • Practicum – Practicum involves learning students working and learning at an emergency management organization or under an emergency manager to learn from real-world examples. This is where online students differ from on-campus students. But most universities provide hands-on training by simulating emergencies, focus on planning and preparedness, train students on strategy for a response to an emergency.

Here are some of the courses you will find in an online master’s degree in emergency management:

Risk ManagementRisk management in emergency management involves exploring detailed information about hazards, analyzing the risk, and vulnerabilities in various establishments. It also includes modeling, measuring, and assessing risk levels and coming up with strategies to mitigate those risks.
Business Continuity PlanningThe study of Business Continuity involves learning and creating plans to implement operation continuity after a disaster and ensuring that organizations continue to perform services even after an emergency. Students also learn about evacuation and relocation in the aftermath of a crisis.
Emergency Management LawStudents will learn about the legal aspects and implications of emergency management. Students will familiarize themselves with the legal resources and the boundaries of what they can and cannot do during emergency management.
Applied Emergency ManagementIn this course, students learn about emergency management principles and planning strategies. And they will use this knowledge to explore various emergency scenarios and how to apply the emergency management principles to those scenarios.
Security ManagementSecurity Management is a crucial aspect of Emergency Management. This course exposes students to various challenges and responses to scenarios that include the security of public places like shopping malls, airports, etc. This course also teaches about surveillance technologies, communication information security, etc.
Crisis CommunicationCommunication is key to any situation. This is especially true in emergencies. In this course, students will learn about strategies and methodologies when communicating with others in the emergency response teams. Time of the essence in most emergencies and this course trains students on effective communication and tactics involved.

Admission Requirements for Master’s in Emergency Management Online

Applicants to an Online Master’s in Emergency Management degree must satisfy certain entrance requirements that are specific to the program offering school. The requirements vary from school to school, and most schools will need the following:

Bachelors Degree

Students must have earned an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution with a minimum of 3.0 GPA. But most schools accept applications from students that do not have a 3.0 GPA as long as they provide professional potential.


Students should submit transcripts from their undergraduate degree programs. Most schools want this submission in an unopened official transcript.

Statement of Purpose

Students should write a statement describing why they want to enroll in this program, their career goals, and academic and professional background.


Students should submit two letters of recommendation. Letters should write by other past teachers, mentors, people of significant influence in the student’s life.

Timeline for Master’s in Emergency Management Online

The timeline to finish a Master’s in Emergency Management Online varies from program to program. However, the average length of these programs is two years.

Accreditation for Master’s in Emergency Management Online

Many schools strive to get accreditation as get accredited by an independent body attests to the quality of the programs being offered by the school. Read about what accreditation is and why it matters in our accreditation guide.

When choosing an online master’s in emergency management, it is essential to choose a program that has been accredited by a national or regional accreditation body. Here is a list of bodies that accredit emergency management programs:

Disaster Management Master’s Degree Online

Disaster Management is a subject that deals with preparing and recovering from disasters, relocation of the affected people, and handling rapid response. Students that enroll in a Disaster Management Master’s Degree Online can learn about the economics of disaster recovery, history, response, and recovery. Students also gain knowledge in how to plan a recovery, providing relief and case analysis of crisis and disaster.

Careers for Disaster Management Master’s Graduates

Graduates from a Disaster Management Masters can expect to work in governmental agencies, large corporations that have disaster recovery teams, humanitarian organizations, and international agencies such as Red Cross, World Health Organization, etc. Below are some career titles for graduates:

  • Business Continuity Managers
  • Emergency Managers
  • Response and Recovery Managers

Here are some universities that provide a Disaster Management Master’s Degree Online:

American Military University offers an Online Master of Arts in Emergency and Disasters Management that can be finished online. The program focuses on the history, response, recovery, and economics within the emergency and disaster management field. Students learn about Mission planning, providing relief and recovery efforts from expert faculty that have worked as emergency managers before. Admission requirements include an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution. Graduation requirements include earning 36 credits. The cost per credit is $370. Active-duty service members, their spouses/dependents, National Guard members and Reservists pay tuition that is capped at $250/credit.

2. Jefferson University

Jefferson University offers an Online Master’s program in Disasters Medicine and Management. The program is a partnership between the university and the Department of Emergency Medicine of the Albert Einstein Health Network. This program is designed to educate medical, public safety, and defense professionals to handle the effects of natural and human-made disasters. The program can be completed online, barring a 6.5-day on-campus session during summer. The program also provides a Dean’s Scholarship of $121 or $167 off per credit. The tuition for each credit is $1,190.

Master’s Degree in Crisis Management and Response

Crisis Management is a branch of Emergency Management that deals with preventing crises, handling crisis to reduce the impact, and preparing for a crisis. An Online Master’s in Crisis Management Degree trains students in all phases of crisis management that includes the pre-crisis phase, during the crisis phase, and the post-crisis phase. Students learn about developing strategies involved in dealing with sudden negative events and their consequences. Students get hands-on experience about every aspect of dealing with a crisis, such as communication, rapid response, de-escalation tactics, risk mitigation, etc.

Careers for Crisis Management and Response Graduates

Graduates from a Master’s Degree in Crisis Management and Response can expect to work in governmental agencies, first responder groups, media companies, and department of homeland security-related agencies. Below are some of the career titles:

  • Emergency Management Directors
  • Crisis Managers
  • Emergency Managers
  • Response and Recovery Managers

Here are some universities that provide an Online Masters in Crisis Management and Response:

University of Nevada at Las Vegas offers a Master’s Degree in Emergency and Crisis Management degree that can be completed entirely online. The program focuses on training students with leadership skills for current and future emergency and crisis management. Students go through the exercise of creating and analyzing emergency plans. The program’s admission requirements include having an undergraduate degree with at least a 2.75 GPA, a GRE score. Graduation requirements include achieving 36 credits. Tuition is $297.25 for in-state students.

Career and Salary Outlook for Graduates of Emergency Management Online

Having a master’s degree in emergency management greatly enhances for professionals in this field. Graduates typically work for governmental agencies, hospitals, professional services, etc. Individuals with a master’s degree in emergency management may qualify for leadership roles as well. Here are some career titles that emergency management graduates may qualify for.

Job TitleMedian SalaryJob Growth (2018-2028)
Emergency Management Directors$74, 5905%
Top Executives$104,6906%
Budget Analysts$76,5404%
Fire Inspectors$60,2308%
Intelligence Analysts$81,9834%

SourceBureau of Labor and,

How to Pay for Master’s in Emergency Management Online Degree

The cost of higher education is increasing rapidly. And paying for graduate education is more expensive on bachelor’s degrees. Many organizations offer various kinds of financial aid, scholarships, and assistance for graduate students. Read more about financial aid, scholarships, and other forms of financial help for online master’s students on best financial guide.

Scholarships for Emergency Management Students

Several institutions offer scholarships, financial aid, and other forms of assistance to emergency management students. Here are some of those organizations:

  • The Margate-Coconut Creek Firefighters Benevolent Scholarship: Margate-Coconut Creek Firefighters Benevolent Scholarship is focused on improving the fire service through the study of fire science and emergency management. This scholarship is awarded to residents of Broward County, FL, twice a year for individuals looking to become a firefighter, EMT or a paramedic. The award amount is $500, and deadlines for applications are December 31 and June 30.
  • Michael J. Latta EMS Scholarship Fund: The Michael J. Latta EMS Scholarship Foundation was established to support Emergency Medical Services by finding intelligent, hardworking, and dedicated individuals to work in the EMS field. The deadline for the scholarship application is July 15, and the award amount varies.
  • Platinum Educational Group Scholarship: The Platinum Educational Group set up this scholarship program for students entering into EMS, Nursing, and Allied Health fields. The award amount is $1000, and the deadline for applications is June 1.
  • Women in Defense Scholarship: The Women in Defense Scholarship is set up to encourage women to work in careers related to the national security or defense. This award is for females in undergraduate or graduate programs, have a minimum GPA of 3.25. The award amount is $1000, and the application deadline is March 31.
  • International Association of Emergency Managers: The International Association of Emergency Managers sponsors a scholarship to nurture, promote, and develop disaster preparedness by educating students in the emergency management field. The award amount is $1500, and the application deadline is June 30.

Resources for Online Master’s in Economics Students

  • Certified Business Continuity Professional (CBCP) – Graduates from Emergency Management ca further enhance their careers by getting certified as Business Continuity Professionals. The CBCP certification is for individuals that demonstrate knowledge and experience in business continuity and recovery industries. Applicants for this certification should possess at least 2-years of experience and should demonstrate experience in 5 subject matter areas in this field. The certification process involves a prerequisite exam and a course. Here are more details.
  • Certified Emergency Manager (CEM): Emergency Managers can increase their career prospects by becoming a Certified Emergency Manager. The certification process includes passing 100-question multiple-choice questions about Emergency Management. Here are more details.
  • International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM): The IAEM is an association that has more 6,000 members world-wide is a non-profit education organization that represents Emergency Management professionals. Students with an online master’s in emergency management degree can become members and benefit immensely from networking with fellow professionals for career opportunities, domain knowledge enhancement, conferences, workshops, and much more.
  • American Society of Public Administration (ASPA): ASPA is another organization that graduates from benefit from, by becoming members. ASPA is an organization that is for professionals in Public Administrations. Emergency Managers, Homeland Security personnel, Firefighters, etc. can become members to gain from networking and professional development opportunities. ASPA provides a lot of electronic resources to its members, conducts workshops, seminars, etc. All of which will add value to knowledge and exposure for Emergency Management graduates.
  • Disaster Recovery Institute International (DRI): Disasters Recovery Institute is the oldest and largest non-profit organization that helps other organizations around the work to prepare them for disasters and recovery. DRI consists of more than 15,000 professionals in 100 countries. DRI provides many courses, certifications, and other knowledge resources for Emergency Management professionals.

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