Online Degrees in Emergency Management

Earning an emergency management degree online shows you how to get ready for and reduce the impact of a disaster. This can be an event such as natural disasters, hazardous spills, and security threats. Courses also focus on how to roll out and look at ways to respond and recover in a few different settings. 

Did You Know?

48% of American lack the supplies that they can use in the event of a disaster.

What Is Emergency Management?

Emergency management is how to prepare for, mitigate, respond to, and recover from an emergency or disaster. This includes training, conducting drills, and testing equipment. Emergency management does not try to stop disasters. Instead, it looks at how to lessen the impact of those events.

Emergency Management Degree Online: Basic Information

When you earn your emergency management degree online, you will see that programs focus on teaching you how to plam and lead disaster relief efforts. Therefore, course work shows you leadership theory, techniques, and best practices. It includes the history and development of emergency management and the impact that terrorism has on the world today.

Other topics include a focus on critical threats to people and businesses, as well as both natural disasters and ones that are man-made. Therefore, course-work teaches you how to make strategies to get ready for and mitigate losses when there is an emergency.

Different Emergency Management Degree Concentrations

There are a number of different specialties or concentrations when it comes to online emergency management degrees. Each of those programs focus on teaching you how to coordinate resources, look at risk, and manage the consequences of what happens, but each of the specialties may have its own focus.

Let's take a peek at some of these specialties.

  • Homeland Security and Emergency Management
  • Health Administration with Concentration in Emergency Management
  • Fire and Emergency Management
  • Emergency and Disaster Management
  • Public Safety and Emergency Management

Common Online Emergency Management Courses

Less risk and a safe public are the goals of all first responders. While you earn your emergency management degree online, courses show you how to plan and use strategies for preparedness, response, and recovery in some different settings.

Some of the common courses you may take include these subjects.

  • Principles of Emergency Management
  • Emergency Planning and Preparedness
  • Disaster Response and Recovery
  • Applied Emergency Management
  • Emergency Management Systems
  • Risk Management Application
  • Application of Emergency Management Theory
  • Emergency Management Policy and Administration of Emergencies and Disasters
  • Emergency Operations and Techniques
  • Mitigation Planning

Courses and structure vary from school to school. Therefore, check with individual institution for its course requirements and design. In addition, courses will vary based on the level of emergency management degree you want.

Different Degree Levels of Emergency Management Degrees

When you research emergency management online degrees, you will typically see five different levels that you can earn. Each has the goal of showing you how to prepare for and respond to emergencies and disasters. However, the higher the degree that you wish to earn, the harder the courses may be.

For instance, an Emergency Planning and Preparedness PhD level course will require more research and critical analysis than a bachelors level course with the same name.  

Associates Degree

An online emergency management associates degree shows you the basics of responding to disasters in many industries. Most schools ask that you’ve earned a high school degree, GED, or equivalent. Some schools have stricter admissions requirements than others do. But you might find that most ask that you maintained a 2.0 GPA or up, and you may need to send your high school transcripts.

Most full-time students can earn their associates degree in two years. However, that depends on the set-up of each program and its course availability.

Bachelors Degree

Online bachelors degree in emergency management coursework introduces you to the four phases of emergency management. These four phases are how well are you prepared, how do you respond, how do you run damage control, and how do you come back from it. Most schools have similar admissions requirements to associates degree programs. This includes having earned a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent diploma. You may also have to turn over your high school transcripts.

To earn your bachelors degree, normally you need to pass a number of general education courses, as well as your core courses in emergency management. Typically, you need to earn a total of 120 credits. Normally, this takes full-time students four years to do. However, you should check with the school to learn more about its admissions and graduation rules.


Online certificates in emergency management ask that you’ve earned a bachelors degree from an accredited university. Some schools also require that you earned your degree with at least a 2.5 GPA.

Typically, certificate programs provide a chance to study the aspects of leadership in emergency management. Most schools require that you complete four to six courses. Normally, students earn their certificate in one to two years. However, every school is different and has its own requirements.

Masters Degree

When you earn a masters degree in emergency management online, courses show you how to get ready for critical threats in life and business. Each school has its own admissions requirements. However, most ask that you earn a bachelors degree with a 2.3 GPA or higher from an accredited school before you can apply.

Most masters degree programs are made for part-time students who work full-time. Therefore, the length can change from school to school. However, most students can earn their masters degree in two to four years.

Doctorate Degree

An online emergency management doctorate degree program seeks to give you a full grasp of the many aspects of preparing for and leading disaster relief. Most schools require that you’ve earned a masters degree from an accredited university with a 3.0 GPA or higher.

Most online doctorate degrees are made for part-time students who work full-time. But there are some PhD programs designed for full-time students. After completing all of the required coursework, you usually need to propose, write, present, and defend a dissertation in front of a board of faculty. Most students earn their PhD in three to five years.

Possible Careers in Emergency Management

After earning your emergency management degree online, there are a few careers that you can pursue. One of these jobs is an Emergency Management Director, which can include this list of various job titles.

  • Emergency Management Consultant
  • Emergency Management Program Specialist
  • Emergency Planner
  • Emergency Services Director i
  • Emergency Preparedness Coordinator

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects to see a 6% increase in the number of emergency management directors for the ten years 2014 to 2024.ii In 2015, the average median salary for emergency management directors was $67,330.iii

Take the Next Step!

Interested in earning an emergency management degree online? Click on any of the sponsored listings on this page to find program descriptions, courses, and admissions rules for each school. You can even reach out to schools directly for any more details you may need to make your decision.

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