If you’re comfortable taking charge in a crisis, then consider pursuing one of the best online Master’s in emergency management degrees.
When the call goes out for emergency response in a disaster, these heroes take command. Even before a catastrophe, emergency managers or directors are often busy developing contingency plans for various situations. They must be excellent both at logistics and at managing various personalities, particularly in high-stress scenarios.
Let’s dive into this degree more deeply and see what it offers.
What Is a Master’s in Emergency Management Degree?
A Master’s degree in emergency management is best thought of as an overseer degree for emergency services. Whether it’s fire, police, or medical, every emergency response team needs someone calling the shots.
As such, these degree programs train their students to effectively respond to the public’s needs and manage lots of people at once. It also teaches students to remain calm under pressure.
While the majority of emergency manager positions can be obtained with a bachelor’s degree, Master’s degrees are great because they make you even more employable. They also prepare you to attain even higher administrative or management positions.
How Much Can You Earn With a Master’s in Emergency Management Degree?
An emergency management director, which is a position that only requires a bachelor’s degree, earns about $74,000 per year. Those with Master’s degrees in the field will be able to bargain for even higher salaries and take more advanced managerial positions. They can expect to have salaries closer to the typical maximum of around $141,000.
This industry will enjoy about a 5% job growth rate over the next ten years. Society will always need capable emergency responders and people to lead them. It’s unlikely that the need for this profession will ever go down, even as emergency response systems get better.
What Is Required for a Master’s in Emergency Management Degree?
An online Master’s in emergency management degree will make heavy use of case studies. Students will study previous disasters to understand what solutions worked and did not in the past. Other classes will focus on logistics, organizational leadership, or even evaluation procedures after responses.
Online degrees may or may not incorporate an on-campus element, depending on the focus and program in question. This may involve traveling to a hospital or fire station for work-study opportunities.
Regardless, most Master’s degree programs in this field require that applicants have some experience in emergency services. Those with bachelor’s degrees in the field will have an easier time being admitted.
What Are the Best Master’s in Emergency Management Degrees?
OSR uses six data points: three school-wide and three program-specific. For school-wide, OSR uses Student Satisfaction, Admission Rates, and the number of programs the school offers online. For program-specific, OSR checks the Median Debt of graduates from that program, how many degrees are offered within that program’s umbrella department, and what percentage of students at that school graduated from that department.
The six statistics are displayed by each school. The sliding bar under each statistic represents how that school compares to other US institutions. “Not reported” means a school did not release that information to the US Department of Education. A more detailed description of the OSR process can be found on the methodology page.
Now let’s check out the 10 best Master’s in Emergency Management degrees!
Saint Leo University
- Tuition: $9,990(in state) / $9,990(out of state)
- Eight-week terms
- 36 credit hours
- Fire Science Administration specialization available
School WideStudent Satisfaction74.00%Admission Rate58%Programs offered online22
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in Department8Popularity at School19.10%100%OSR Score
Saint Leo University offers an emergency management program that’s perfect for both government and private sector director positions. It focuses on theoretical knowledge and practical skills alike without requiring on-campus education, resulting in a broad and comprehensive education in disaster prep and response. It can also be completed on an accelerated time frame if you want to complete your education quickly.
American Public University System
- Tuition: $6,300(in state) / $6,300(out of state)
- $0 application fee
- Eight-week classes
- 36 credit hours
School WideStudent Satisfaction73.20%Programs offered online45
Program LevelMedian Debt$30,967Programs in Department4Popularity at School17.72%95%OSR Score
The American Public University System has a program that provides graduates with the critical thinking and decision-making skills necessary to excel in an emergency management position. Classes focus on both theory and the economics of emergency response scenarios, helping you learn to make the most of limited resources. Opportunities for networking are high, given that all classes are taught by certified emergency managers.
Columbia Southern University
- Tuition: $3,480(in state) / $3,480(out of state)
- Several start dates
- 36 credit hours
- Can be completed in one year
School WideStudent Satisfaction74.80%Programs offered online17
Program LevelMedian Debt$34,684Programs in Department2Popularity at School27.33%92%OSR Score
Columbia Southern University provides an MS in Emergency Services Management that emphasizes communication and managerial skills. It overviews the disaster cycle and provides the foundational knowledge needed to run both human and mechanical parts within an emergency response team. It features an extremely flexible schedule, with students being able to complete classes as slowly or quickly as they desire.
- Tuition: $10,170(in state) / $10,170(out of state)
- 7.5-week classes
- 33 credit hours
- Several start dates each year
School WideStudent Satisfaction72.20%Programs offered online51
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in Department3Popularity at School5.76%86%OSR Score
Arizona State University’s program is number one in the nation for homeland security. All classes are taught from experienced faculty both in homeland security and in general emergency services. Several internship opportunities and nonprofits are available for particularly exceptional students, although everyone will enjoy ASU’s notably-effective career center.
Arizona State University
- Tuition: $6,144(in state) / $6,144(out of state)
- 48 quarter credits
- Minor specialization allowed
- Waivable $50 application fee
School WideStudent SatisfactionNot ReportedAdmission Rate63%Programs offered online45
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in Department2Popularity at School7.94%77%OSR Score
Capella University helps you develop the skills you need to lead teams during crisis situations through a high-quality class list and capable teachers. It has a curriculum that focuses on both fundamental and contemporary resource management and emergency issues. The curriculum requires an integrative project, so it’s mostly rather than entirely online.
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Trident University International
- Tuition: $6,120(in state) / $6,120(out of state)
- Multiple start dates each year
- Generous 24 credit transfer limit
- 48 quarter credits
School WideStudent Satisfaction75.40%Admission Rate68%Programs offered online7
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in Department2Popularity at School< 1%68%OSR Score
Walden University offers a degree in terminal justice and emergency management, making it perfect for any type of management director position. It incorporates legal and ethical classes, so future emergency management directors will be equipped in every way possible, especially in scenarios of human-caused catastrophes. The focus on the human element makes this program stand out among other emergency management Master’s degree programs.
- Tuition: $11,586(in state) / $11,586(out of state)
- Can be completed in one or two years
- 31 credit hours
- Capstone course rather than a thesis
School WideStudent Satisfaction66.20%Programs offered online20
Program LevelMedian Debt$41,000Programs in Department2Popularity at School3.43%67%OSR Score
Lander University offers a wide array of classes focusing on subjects such as transportation logistics, insurance adjustment, and government planning and public administration. This program is an ideal choice not only for emergency management directors but for leaders in all government sectors. It also features an extremely flexible schedule, so it’s ideal for working professionals.
- Tuition: $11,800(in state) / $22,500(out of state)
- 36 credit hours
- Two start dates each year
- Thesis required for graduation
School WideStudent Satisfaction75.00%Admission Rate48%Programs offered online2
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in Department1Popularity at School< 1%65%OSR Score
The University of Nebraska provides a degree in emergency preparedness, which is similar but slightly different from a general emergency management degree. It’s focused more on understanding the causes of disasters, particularly in the medical sphere, and incorporates classes focused on biosecurity. The flexible online format is delivered through four core courses and based on areas established by the department of homeland security.
University of Nebraska Medical Center
- Tuition: $8,451(in state) / $24,219(out of state)
- No GRE scores required
- 39 credit hours
- Word-experience opportunities
School WideStudent Satisfaction58.60%Programs offered online3
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in Department1Popularity at School< 1%63%OSR Score
Adelphi University’s emergency management program emphasizes the need for terrorism preparedness in a post-9/11 world. It includes a graduate certificate to make all students much more attractive to prospective employers. Adelphi was also one of the first universities to offer degrees in this area, as it became clear that skilled emergency managers would be needed in the modern era.