When you think of people who save lives in emergency situations, doctors, firefighters, and police officers come to mind. Behind the scenes, professionals in emergency management direct front-line personnel and resources. Their work plays an essential part in treating those affected by human-made or natural disasters.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that positions in emergency management will grow by 8% from 2016 through 2026, outpacing the average growth for all professions in the United States. By earning your online bachelor’s degree in emergency management, you will have ample job opportunities in an exciting, life-saving career.
Choosing a Program
Online emergency management degree programs take a holistic approach to education. Courses teach you valuable skills, such as leadership, mitigating harm, and coordinating with various government and private relief agencies. These classes give you the skills necessary to respond to any emergency situation.
Depending on your program, you may have the option of choosing a concentration. In a business continuity concentration, you learn how to help businesses prevent economic losses following a disaster. If you want to work in state or local government, you can specialize in homeland security. This concentration covers the threat of terrorism and how to prevent it. When researching these and other concentrations, pay close attention to how they align with your career goals and interests.
Your program may require unique graduation requirements, such as an internship or capstone project. Both internships and capstone projects allow you to create a professional portfolio that can bolster your resume.
For career information, skip down:
Online Bachelor’s in Emergency Management Degree Program Ranking Guidelines
We selected the degree programs based on the quality of program and range of courses provided, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation.
The Best Online Bachelor’s in Emergency Management Programs
1 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Daytona Beach, Florida
Founded in Daytona Beach, Florida in 1925, ERAU offers a bachelor’s of science in emergency services. Students can specialize in aviation emergency management or fire and emergency services. Graduates also receive a National Fire Academy certificate.
ERAU’s online bachelor’s degree in emergency management covers topics including human behavior, investigation and analysis, and occupational safety. Through ERAU’s partnerships, students can complete research projects with the Dallas/Fort Worth Fire Training Research Center and the Aircraft Fire Fighting Working Group.
Online students pay the same per-credit tuition rate as on-campus students. Discounted tuition rates are available for active military and those serving in the reserves, as well as for their spouses and dependents. Students may transfer credits from accredited institutions, but must complete at least 30 credits through ERAU.
ERAU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of College and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and the International Fire Services Accreditation Congress (IFSAC), and is certified by Fire Emergency Services Higher Education (FESHE).
With more than three hundred years of experience between them, Philadelphia University and Thomas Jefferson University combined in 2017. Newly formed Jefferson offers a bachelor’s of science in health services management degree that develops management and leadership skills and prepares students for careers in a variety of healthcare roles.
The curriculum covers topics such as cross-cultural communication and diversity, public policy and planning, and emerging issues in healthcare. The program’s professional education core comprises seven courses that prepare students for the workforce, regardless of their field. Course topics include principles of management, economic decision-making, and leadership theory.
Students earn the emergency management degree online in two to three years. Although the program requires 120 credits, the intensive, eight-week courses allow students to complete program requirements quickly.
Jefferson makes admissions decisions on a rolling basis. Transfer students can bring credits earned with a grade of C or better. All online students pay the same tuition rate, regardless of residency, and students who enroll in at least six credits per term are eligible for financial aid.
Jefferson is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
3 Ohio Christian University
OCU offers a bachelor’s of arts in business with a concentration in emergency management. The online program trains students to lead during disasters. Graduates contribute during every stage of disaster management and recovery, including providing immediate relief and rebuilding and redeveloping communities.
In addition to understanding emergency management strategies, concepts, and theories, students earning OCU’s online emergency management degree learn to apply business concepts and improve business operations. This combination of skills is ideal for professionals involved in the rebuilding and redevelopment phase of disaster response. Business courses cover subjects including macroeconomics, ethics, and management. Concentration courses focus on disaster response and recovery, natural and manmade disasters, understanding trauma, and human conflict.
Students complete the program in as few as two years. Courses last five to six weeks and are available entirely online and at OCU’s campuses in Ohio and Georgia. Online and on-campus students pay the same tuition rate, and military personnel qualify for discounted tuition.
OCU is regionally accredited by the Ohio Board of Regents.
4University of Central Missouri
Founded in Warrensburg in 1871, UCM offers a bachelor’s of science in crisis and disaster management. Students earning the emergency management bachelor’s online can concentrate in areas such as hazardous materials and business continuity.
The multidisciplinary, 120-credit program covers topics such as preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation. Students complete a practicum that involves structured field experience. Students can earn credit through certificate programs including business continuity, environmental hazards, and emergency services management.
All online students pay the same discounted tuition rate, regardless of residency. During the 2015–2016 academic year, 90% of UCM students received financial aid. UCM accepts transfer credits from accredited institutions.
Online courses are delivered through Blackboard and follow the same schedule as on-campus classes. Online courses are asynchronous; students complete coursework at their convenience but are responsible for meeting deadlines.
UCM is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS).
5 Arkansas State University
Founded as a high school in 1909, A-State has more than 81,000 alumni and offers a bachelor’s of science in disaster preparedness and emergency management. This online bachelor’s degree in emergency management trains students to prepare for and mitigate emergencies and to plan for response and recovery.
The program requires 120 credits, which full-time students typically complete in four years. Students must be accepted by clinical agencies for practicum experiences. Because class sizes are limited, prospective students are encouraged to speak with an advisor early in their studies to ensure they complete necessary prerequisites.
A-State accepts transfer credits and awards up to 30 credits for professional training, military service, and volunteer service. Online students who are U.S. citizens pay the same in-state tuition rates. Online students are eligible for transfer scholarships, grants, and loans. Approximately 90% of A-State students receive financial aid.
A-State is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission North Central Association (HLCNCA), and the Council for the Accreditation of Emergency Management Education (CAEME).
6 Union Institute and University
With campuses in Ohio, Florida, California, and Vermont, Union offers flexible programs in online, on-campus, and hybrid formats. Union’s bachelor’s of science in emergency management services prepares students to handle dangerous situations and critical incidents.
Graduates become leaders and organizers who analyze organizations and situations to improve response times and save lives. The curriculum covers critical incident management and response, emergency services administration, and natural disasters and defense planning. Students can concentrate in organizational leadership or criminal justice management.
Students can apply up to 90 previous credits toward the 120-credit degree, including up to 50 experiential credits. Students can complete the program on a full-time or part-time basis, and classes begin every eight weeks. Students can apply many program credits toward a master’s degree.
Students earning the online emergency management degree pay the same tuition rate, regardless of residency. Union offers a deferred payment option, financial aid, scholarships, grants, and fellowships.
Union is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
7 Bellevue University
Founded in 1965, Bellevue was one of the earliest accredited schools to offer online degrees. The university’s bachelor’s of science in emergency management prepares students to address the increasing number of natural and manmade disasters.
Courses cover topics such as natural disasters, terrorism, and emergency communications and planning. Students learn to design exercises to educate and train others in disaster response. The program culminates in a capstone project, during which students plan, implement, and assess a disaster scenario.
Flexible online courses allow students to complete coursework on their own schedule. After completing 60 credit hours, online students can pursue the accelerated cohort option, in which groups of students work together to complete the program over 18 months. Students earning the emergency management degree online complete 127 credit hours, 30 of which must be earned through Bellevue and 12 of which must be in upper-division, major coursework.
Although online tuition is more expensive than on-campus tuition, all online students pay the same tuition rate, regardless of residency. Discounted tuition rates are available for active military personnel, and Bellevue offers scholarships, grants, loans, and work study opportunities.
Bellevue University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
Founded in 1920, IU was the first Catholic women’s college in the Philadelphia area. The university has admitted men since 2005 and now offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs. IU’s bachelor’s of science in emergency planning and management prepares students to address the physical, psychological, and economic needs of disaster survivors.
This online emergency management degree is designed for working professionals and offers courses in terms lasting seven to eight weeks. The accelerated, hybrid program structures coursework to meet the needs of busy students. IU accepts up to 72 transfer credits and awards credit for life, work, and military experience. Transfer students can complete the 126-credit program in as few as two years.
All students pay the same tuition rates, and IU offers an installment plan and financial aid. Discounted tuition rates are available for military members, veterans, and their families.
IU is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and has been recognized by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
9 Everglades University
Boca Raton, Florida
Founded in 1990 as American Flyers College, EU is based in Boca Raton, Florida. The university’s BS in crisis and disaster management provides a collaborative learning environment for working professionals.
Students gain management and business skills necessary to make critical decisions during and after times of crisis. Courses cover topics including communication, planning and response, and emergency preparedness. The flexible program comprises 16-week classes and offers monthly start dates.
The 123-credit curriculum includes 54 credits in upper-division major courses, which cover topics such as terrorism and homeland security, hazard analysis and risk assessment, and crisis and disaster psychology. The program culminates in a capstone course.
Students complete the online emergency management degree in as few as 41 months, and students who transfer credits may graduate more quickly. EU limits students to 12 credits per semester, but students who maintain a cumulative 3.0 GPA may take up to 18 credits per semester. All undergraduate students pay the same tuition rate, and financial aid is available.
EU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SASCOC).
10 Adelphi University
Garden City, New York
Adelphi was founded as a prep school in 1863, and by 1929, it was the first private, co-educational school on Long Island. In 2007, the bachelor’s of science in emergency services administration became the university’s first completely online program.
Designed by established emergency services professionals, the program trains students to deal with natural and manmade disasters. Coursework covers conflict management, legal aspects of emergency services, organizational behavior, and principles of management. Students complete two capstone courses.
The online bachelor’s degree in emergency management requires 120 credits, and students can apply up to 60 prior learning credits toward the degree. Adelphi awards prior learning credit for police academy courses, EMT certification, and military training. The university accepts transfer credit, but students must complete at least 30 credits through Adelphi. Students who earn the maximum number of prior learning credits can complete the degree in as few as four semesters.
All online students pay the same tuition rates, which are lower than on-campus rates. Arkansas and North Carolina residents are not eligible for Adelphi’s online programs.
Adelphi University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSACS).
11 Bethel University
Bethel was founded in the 1840s as a Presbyterian seminary and now has seven campuses across Tennessee. Bethel began offering online programs in 2007. The university’s bachelor’s of science in emergency services management provides flexibility for students with personal and professional commitments.
The 128-credit program requires 45 major credits in areas such as management of terrorist incidents, risk analysis and threat assessment, and financial management of emergency response organizations. The program prepares students for leadership positions in emergency services while minimizing degree completion time.
This online bachelor’s degree in emergency management is designed for working professionals who have at least 30 hours of college credit. Students can transfer up to 80 credit hours, and Bethel awards credit for military service and police training. Applicants with fewer than three years of work experience must submit two letters of recommendation, an essay, and a resume.
The per-credit tuition rate includes all course fees, technology fees, and textbooks. Bethel offers loans, grants, and scholarships and provides tuition assistance for veterans and active military personnel.
Bethel University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
12 Arkansas Tech University
ATU’s internationally recognized bachelor’s of science in emergency management prepares students to become leaders in the field. The online emergency management degree requires a capstone course and an internship or practicum. Courses cover topics such as living in hazardous environments, emergency management doctrine, and the social dimensions of disaster.
Most students complete the program in four years, though students can earn the degree more quickly by taking more credits per semester or by studying during the summer. ATU accepts transfer credits earned with at least a 2.0 GPA from students in good standing with their previous school. Transfer credits must be approved by the student’s academic advisor, the department head, and the college dean.
Residents of Arkansas and states bordering Arkansas receive discounted tuition rates. ATU offers several scholarships for emergency management majors.
Arkansas Tech University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and the Council for the Accreditation of Emergency Management Education (CAEME).
13 SUNY College of Technology at Canton
Canton, New York
Founded in 1906, SUNY Canton offers 13 online degrees and more than than 400 online courses. The university’s bachelor’s of science in emergency management prepares students to develop exercises and use technology to manage and mitigate disasters.
Students train with the latest software, including Graphical Information System and Virtual Emergency Operations Center, which the majority of states and federal agencies utilize. Students complete both tabletop and functional exercises and take courses in risk and hazard impact studies, principles of management, professional ethics, and incident command. Graduates analyze and respond to natural and manmade disasters and assume leadership roles across fields, industries, and agencies.
Students earning the emergency management degree online complete seven-week courses. New York residents pay discounted tuition rates, and all online students receive discounts over on-campus tuition. SUNY Canton accepts transfer credits and awards credit for prior life experience.
SUNY Canton is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
14 Barry University
Founded as a women’s college in 1940, Barry is a Catholic university known for its flexible programs. The university’s online bachelor’s of science in emergency management builds on previous experience in fields such as public administration and sociology and prepares students to manage natural and manmade disasters.
The curriculum covers leadership development, emergency management for homeland security, hazard mitigation and management, and psychological issues of disaster preparedness and recovery. During a capstone course, students review and apply knowledge gained during the program. Students earning the emergency management bachelor’s degree online enroll in eight-week courses. Graduates pursue positions mitigating the chaos of emergency situations.
Students can reduce costs and completion time by transferring previous credits and by earning up to 30 credits for work and life experience. All undergraduate students pay the same tuition rates, regardless of residency, and 90% of Barry students receive financial aid. Barry is a member of the Yellow Ribbon Program, which reduces tuition costs for veterans.
Barry University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
15Indiana Institute of Technology
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Founded in Fort Wayne in 1930, Indiana Tech offers programs at several campuses in Indiana and Kentucky. The school provides online, career-focused degrees, including a bachelor’s of science in emergency response management. The online emergency management degree explores topics including risk assessment, emergency planning, and incident command to train students for careers with state agencies and the U.S. military.
The 120-credit program comprises general education requirements, business and management courses, and major courses. The curriculum covers emergency planning, disaster response operations and management, legal and ethical aspects of emergency response and management, and a capstone course. Graduates manage the immediate aftermath of emergencies and the rebuilding process.
All online students pay the same tuition rate, and Indiana Tech offers grants and scholarships. Students can reduce the cost of the degree by transferring up to 90 previous credits. Students who have completed an associate degree with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 qualify for a merit scholarship.
Indiana Tech is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
Online Bachelor’s in Emergency Management Careers
Emergency managers work as emergency responders and risk prevention specialists in both private and public sectors. Like in other career fields, experience and education can help you advance in your career. The occupations below represent only a sample of the possible careers you may pursue after completing your emergency management degree online.
- Emergency Management Director: Emergency management directors oversee the work of all emergency personnel in their organization. They create procedures for responding to emergencies. When disaster strikes, they act as the public face of their organization, speaking to the media and advising people on how to stay out of harm’s way. Many emergency management director positions ask applicants to have both a bachelor’s degree and significant work experience.
- Median Annual Salary: $70,500
- Projected Growth Rate: 8%
- Management Analyst: These analysts research ways to improve efficiency and effectiveness in an organization. In an emergency management context, these analysts use data and research to improve emergency response and procedures. They propose ways to save lives in an emergency and help communities recover from a disaster.
- Median Annual Salary: $81,330
- Projected Growth Rate: 12%
- Top Executive: Top executives work diligently to ensure that their organization meets its goals. In many companies and organizations, a bachelor’s degree represents the minimum education required to apply.
- Median Annual Salary: $103,950
- Projected Growth Rate: 8%
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics