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An online doctorate in emergency management will prepare you for executive and academic positions in the growing field of emergency management. Due to the rise of terrorism and the growing frequency of natural disasters like wildfires, hurricanes, and floods, emergency management has grown into a thriving profession over the past decade. Transformed by 9/11, the field continues to develop, and the need for high-level, administrative professionals grows steadily. To meet this need, several universities offer online doctoral programs in emergency management.

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for executives in emergency management will remain steady. Several of the occupations a Ph.D. in emergency management prepares you for continue to add jobs at rates well above the national average. Medical and health service managers, for example, command salaries near $100,000 a year and run public health agencies in an industry growing by 20% through 2026. College professors in emergency management also outpace the national growth-rate average.

Online Doctorate in Emergency Management Programs

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Online Doctorate 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.

Our Methodology

Here at TheBestSchools.org, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.

Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.

While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.

  • Academics
  • Affordability
  • Online Enrollment

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The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.

Additionally, because we value a personal touch and the professional experience of our staff and Academic Advisory Board, we vet all results and adjust rankings as necessary based on our collected knowledge of schools and degree programs. Depending on the ranking, we may obtain additional input from AcademicInfluence.com, subject matter experts, prior TBS ranking lists, or other sources we deem relevant to a particular ranking.

Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology

About Our Ranking Factors

Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.

Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.

We chose the following factors for our rankings because of their influence on learning experiences and graduate outcomes. However, students should always balance our rankings against their personal priorities. For instance, a learner who needs a fully online program may prioritize online flexibility more than our rankings do. Our rankings are designed to help you make a decision — not to make a decision for you.

Academics - 75%
Affordability - 15%
Online Enrollment - 10%

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The Best Online Doctorate in Emergency Management Degree Programs

#1 Best Online Doctorate in Emergency Management Programs

Jacksonville State University

  • Jacksonville, AL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The doctor of science in emergency management program at Jacksonville State University offers an online option. The public university provides flexible enrollment options to meet the needs of diverse degree-seekers. Doctoral students work closely with faculty mentors and career advisors.

The doctoral program incorporates advanced emergency management coursework. After passing comprehensive examinations, doctoral candidates begin working on an original dissertation project. Graduates with a doctorate pursue roles in research, academia, and leadership.

Online doctoral students at the accredited institution pay for their degree with scholarships, fellowships, and loans. Prospective applicants can contact the program for more about financial aid and admission requirements.

Jacksonville State University at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 6,329

Online Master's Programs: 14

Online Doctoral Programs: 2

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 18-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $9,600

Average Tuition
In-state
$9,720
Out-of-state
$19,440
Retention Rate
76%
Admission Rate
55%
Students Enrolled
9,021
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
70% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#2 Best Online Doctorate in Emergency Management Programs

Capella University

  • Minneapolis, MN
  • 4 years
  • Online

The doctor of emergency management program at Capella University uses an online learning format. With its flexible format, the private university helps degree-seekers complete a doctorate. Doctoral students engage in advanced research and benefit from support services.

The doctoral program incorporates advanced emergency management coursework. Doctoral candidates move through the program by passing exams and researching a dissertation project. As the terminal degree in emergency management, the doctoral program trains graduates for roles in academia, research, and industry.

Online doctoral students can pay for their degree with scholarships, fellowships, and other forms of financial aid. Contact the emergency management program to learn more about financial aid, enrollment options, and start dates.

Capella University at a Glance:

Online Master's Programs: 76

Online Doctoral Programs: 60

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 27-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $14,767

Average Tuition
In-state
$14,148
Out-of-state
$14,148
Retention Rate
40%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
37,859
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#3 Best Online Doctorate in Emergency Management Programs

Walden University

  • Minneapolis, MN
  • 4 years
  • Online

The Ph.D. in criminal justice program at Walden University appeals to doctoral students seeking an online route to their degree. Thanks to a flexible format, the private institution makes it easier to complete a doctorate. Doctoral students also benefit from research support, career advising, and library access.

The online emergency management program requires doctoral coursework. After passing comprehensive examinations, doctoral candidates propose a dissertation topic and conduct research in their specialty area. With a doctorate in emergency management, professionals work in academia, research, and leadership roles.

Doctoral students qualify for fellowships, scholarships, and federal financial aid programs at the accredited institution. Reach out to the program to learn more about financial aid opportunities, admissions requirements, and start dates.

Walden University at a Glance:

Online Master's Programs: 39

Online Doctoral Programs: 20

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 17-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $12,039

Average Tuition
In-state
$10,428
Out-of-state
$10,428
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
48,420
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

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Choosing an Online Emergency Management Program

Emergencies take many forms and the field of emergency management trains students to plan for and respond natural disasters, health outbreaks, and manmade attacks. The field takes an interdisciplinary approach, with courses in subjects diverse as law enforcement, disaster relief, national security, and public health. Emergency management doctoral degree online programs also offer classes dedicated to administrative skills, including communication, public speaking, leadership, and critical thinking. Together, these subjects create an exciting program designed to create leaders ready to handle a variety of situations.

Doctorate emergency management online programs differ widely, so do your homework. Many schools offer them as part of criminal justice or homeland security programs, while others grow out of MBAs. Make sure you understand the requirements of each program that interests you. Many Ph.D. programs require a thesis or dissertation, while others call for a practicum experience. Furthermore, some programs offer concentrations in areas like public health, counter terrorism, or fire science, while others simply blend these subjects into the degree itself. The diversity of these programs means that you can find a program that suits your career interests.

What Else Can I Expect From an Online Doctorate in Emergency Management Program?

Because emergency management doctoral programs take interdisciplinary approaches, they tend to vary widely. Some programs concentrate on one area, such as administrative skills, while others focus heavily on disaster preparedness. Most, however, include classes like those on the list below.

Curriculum for an Online Doctoral Degree in Emergency Management

  • Emergency Management Systems:
    This course explores the infrastructure of emergency management, including communications and agencies. Because it focuses on theory and incident command, it provides great training for jobs in emergency management.
  • Contemporary Issues in Emergency Management:
    The latest trends and challenges in emergency management form the basis for this class. It looks at the use of social media and other communications, risk-based planning, and jurisdictional issues, making it particularly useful to administrators and other leaders in any emergency management area.
  • Risk Management:
    This course focuses on how to mitigate the risk of natural and manmade threats, with particular emphasis on threat identification. The topic helps anyone going into emergency management but especially those in risk assessment.
  • Finance and Budgeting for the Public Sector:
    This course examines the administrative side of emergency management, including determining who is responsible for paying for disasters and ensuring administrators have access to appropriate resources. The course serves as exceptional training for anyone on the leadership side of a government agency.
  • Dissertation Research:
    Doctoral education almost always includes a dissertation, and this class prepares you for the research. It features help at uncovering resources, identifying sources, and organization.
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Careers with a Doctorate in Emergency Management

Online doctorate in emergency management programs position you to step into a wide range of fields. You might take a position as a college professor, lecturing to classes on homeland security, or work in public health, traveling the world to prevent disease outbreaks. You could work for FEMA or take a job with a private corporation, keeping their operations safe from natural and manmade disasters.

  1. Emergency Management Director:
    Emergency management directors work for local, state, and federal government agencies preparing communities to handle natural and manmade disasters. They run tests, implement strategies, oversee training, and maintain communication networks. A doctorate in the field prepares you for jobs at the highest administrative levels.
    • Median Annual Salary: $72,760
    • Projected Growth Rate: 8%
  2. Post-Secondary Teacher:
    Emergency management remains in its relative infancy as a subject, and demand for experts who can teach and train others continues to grow. College professors in emergency management instruct the next generation, conduct research, and help write policy. A doctorate gives you an advantage in landing a position.
    • Median Annual Salary: $76,000
    • Projected Growth Rate: 15%
  3. Medical and Health Services Manager:
    These individuals typically run public health agencies, a field that overlaps with emergency management. Executive-level jobs often require a master's or better, and a Ph.D. positions you perfectly as a candidate.
    • Median Annual Salary: $98,350
    • Projected Growth Rate: 20%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics


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Featured Image Credit: Juan Sebastian Cuellar Rodriguez | EyeEm | Getty Images


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