Earning an Emergency Management Masters’ online is one of the best ways to advance your career while still holding down a full-time job. A master’s degree in Emergency Management puts you on the front lines when it comes to helping communities get back on track after a natural disaster or other catastrophic events. An online Emergency Management Master’s degree gives you the tools you need to work hand in hand with both the public as well as the Emergency Management teams to make sure the situation stays under control and that the citizens of the area are taken care of.
By enrolling in an Emergency Management Masters degree program, you are able to work in your existing career and still attend class. If you are already working an Emergency Response roll, the Emergency Management Masters’ degree will provide additional support to the experience you are already earning. With your Masters’ degree, you will have the credentials you need to apply for advanced management positions within your community as well as with organizations like the Salvation Army who work to assist people during natural disasters. Being part of a smooth-running Emergency Management team can result in a very rewarding, long-term career.
Methodology: Ranking the Best Online Master’s in Emergency Management
To rank the best online emergency management master’s degrees, Best Master’s Programs editors researched fully online and hybrid programs from trusted, accredited institutions all over the US. From there, programs were ranked according to their price, salary potential, and student satisfaction, using data from IPEDS and Niche.
1. Virginia Commonwealth University
Virginia Commonwealth University’s Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs offers a Master of Arts (MA) degree program in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness that recognized among the country’s best online Masters in Emergency Management degree program. Students can complete this 36 credit unit, graduate emergency management program as either a full-time or part-time student. Coursework included in Virginia Commonwealth University’s emergency management program includes criminal justice, international affairs, risk assessment, intelligence & counterintelligence, homeland security, and emergency preparedness, to name a few.
Virginia Commonwealth University was originally established as the medical division of the Hampden-Sydney College in 1838. The university’s urban campus serves more than 31,100 students. More than two dozen professional programs and graduate degrees are considered the finest in the United States by US News.
Program: MA in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness
2. Tulane University
Tulane University offers a Master of Professional Studies degree in Emergency Management that can be finished entirely online. Students enrolled in Tulane’s best online Masters in Emergency Management degree program graduate and enter the workforce as operations specialists, safety managers, public response managers, or a federal coordinating officer, among others. Tulane permits up to nine eligible credits to be transferred up approval. Classes for this graduate emergency management degree include cyber threats, business continuity, risk management, event security, and approaches to counter-terrorism, among others.
Tulane University was originally established as a medical school in 1834 but became a full-fledge university several years later. The university’s urban campus in the Big Easy covers more than 100 acres and serves more than 13,900 students. A dozen governors of Louisiana are alumni of Tulane University.
Program: MPS in Emergency Management
3. Jacksonville State University
The School of Human Services & Social Sciences at Jacksonville State University offers an MS in Emergency Management that can be completed through the school’s distance learning platform. JSU’s best online Masters in Emergency Management degree program requires the completion of 30 semester hours of graduate coursework in disaster response, hazard mitigation, foundations in emergency management, disaster recovery, plus a capstone project, among other classes. Jacksonville State University allows for up to six eligible credits to be transferred upon approval by the graduate school’s dean.
Jacksonville State University was established as a state teaching school in 1883. The school’s small-city campus is home to more than 7,500 students vying for degrees offered by the university’s six colleges/schools. The school motto of Jacksonville State University is ‘The Friendliest Campus in the South.’
Program: MS in Emergency Management
4. Arkansas Tech University
Arkansas Tech University offers one of the state’s best online Masters in Emergency Management degree programs with its Master of Science (MS) degree in Emergency Management and Homeland Security (EMHS). This 36-semester credit degree program’s curriculum includes coursework in Leadership, Research Design, Principles of Emergency Management, and Emerging Technology in EMHS, among others. Degree candidates can opt to complete the program with a thesis or a practicum research program. The university requires degree candidates to complete a minimum of 27 credits to be completed at Arkansas Tech University.
Arkansas Tech University (ATU) is a public institution of higher learning that was established by the state’s general assembly in 1909. ATU’s rural campus in Russellville covers more than 500 acres and serves more than 9,500 students. Arkansas Tech University operates a second campus in Ozark that primarily confers associate degrees.
Program: MS in Emergency Management and Homeland Security
5. Thomas Jefferson University
Thomas Jefferson University offers one of the country’s best online Masters in Emergency Management degree programs offering a Master of Science (MS) in Disaster Medicine and Management that is available entirely online. Depending on a student’s course load, this graduate degree in emergency management can be completed in one to three years. Degree candidates must complete 36 semester credits in classes like public health implications of disasters, applied research methods, psychological aspects of disasters, and logistical management, among others. Additionally, the program requires a capstone experience to meet its requirements.
Thomas Jefferson University (TJU) was established in 1824 as a medical school More than 7,700 students attend classes on the school’s 90+ acre campus or online studying for more than 150 degrees offered by the university four colleges/schools. Thomas Jefferson University operates three academic facilities in the Philadelphia area.
Program: MS in Disaster Medicine and Management
6. Southern New Hampshire University
Southern New Hampshire University offers an MS in Management degree program with a focus on emergency management that is available 100% online. Students graduate from Southern New Hampshire University’s best online Masters in Emergency Management degree program and enter the workforce as a crisis recovery manager, a global response communicator, or a disaster program specialist, among others. This program requires the completion of 36 semester credits in coursework, including Business Research, Emergency Planning, Applied Emergency Management, Resource Planning, and a capstone project regarding managing critical issues.
Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) is a private school that was established in 1932 as a business school. SNHU operates with an open admissions policy, which requires only a high school diploma or GED to apply. More than 90,000 students attend classes offers by Southern New Hampshire University; about 90% are online. SNHU operates additional satellite academic facilities in Maine and Salem, NH.
Program: MS in Management – Emergency Management
7. Grand Canyon University
Grand Canyon University offers one of the country’s best online Masters in Emergency Management degree programs with its Master of Science (MS) in Leadership degree that focuses on Homeland Security and Emergency Management. This all-online graduate degree program in emergency management from Grand Canyon University allows for up to twelve eligible credits to be transferred, upon approval by the dean. Coursework for GCU’s emergency management degree includes Leadership, Organizational Development, Economics, and Human Issues, plus a culminating capstone project regarding leadership in emergency management, to name a few.
Grand Canyon University (GCU) is a for-profit institution of higher learning that was established in 1949. GCU operates as a non-denominational Christian school but was established by the Southern Baptist Convention. More than 115,000 students study for degrees offered by Grand Canyon University, with more than 90,000 students studying through the distance learning options. Grand Canyon University offers more than 190 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
Program: MS in Leadership – Homeland Security and Emergency Management
8. Saint Leo University
Saint Leo University offers a MS in Emergency and Disaster Management that can be completed entirely online. This country’s best online Masters in Emergency Management degree program from Saint Leo University requires degree candidates to complete 36 semester credits. These credits include classes like social dimensions of disaster, hazard mitigation, risk identification, politics and policies, financial management, and critical incident management, to name a few. The emergency graduate degree offers a specialization in Fire Science Administration and an accelerated format for students interested in finishing in under two years.
Saint Leo University (SLU) was chartered in 1889 and is named for Pope Leo the Great. The university’s rural campus in the Sunshine state and the school’s online programs serve nearly 12,000 students. Saint Leo University was one of the first universities offering distance education to military members during the Vietnam War.
Program: MS in Emergency and Disaster Management
9. Adelphi University
Adelphi University offers an MS in Emergency Management that is ranked among the country’s best online Masters in Emergency Management degree programs. Adelphi’s 39 semester credit program is designed to be completed in about 30 months. Coursework includes health management in disasters, emergency management law, management theory, business continuity planning, statistical methods, plus a capstone project and presentation in emergency management. Students graduate prepared for a career as healthcare emergency specialists, environmental emergency managers, or homeland security officers, to name a few.
Adelphi University is a private institute of higher learning that was established in 1896. The university operates campuses throughout the NYC area. The school’s multiple campuses and online platform serves more than 7,700 students. Adelphi University holds the distinction of being the oldest university located in what is considered suburban Long Island, NY.
Program: MS in Emergency Management
10. Arizona State University
Arizona State University offers an MA in Emergency Management & Homeland Security that can be completed entirely online through the university distance learning platform. Students enrolled in ASU’s best online Masters in Emergency Management degree program are required to complete eleven classes for a total of 33 semester credits to meet program requirements. US News recognizes ASU’s graduate online emergency management program as the top program in the nation. Degree candidates can opt for one of five concentrations in Homeland Security, Emergency Management, Community Resilience, Biosecurity, and Cybersecurity Policy.
Arizona State University (ASU) is a public institution of higher education that was established in 1885. The university operates multiple campuses and academic centers through the Tempe and Phoenix area. The school’s campuses are home to more than 50,100 students. By enrollment standards, Arizona State University is recognized among the largest of all universities in the nation.
Program: MA in Emergency Management and Homeland Security
11. Northeastern University
Northeastern University offers a Graduate Certificate in Emergency Management that is recognized as one of the northeastern US’s best online Masters in Emergency Management degree certificate program. Coursework for NEU’s graduate certificate in emergency management includes strategic planning, continuity of operations, essentials of emergency management, critical infrastructure, plus a culminating capstone project in emergency management. Credits for this program can be transferred to towards a Master of Arts (MA) degree in Homeland Security. Students complete this program in one to two years, depending on if they attend full-time or part-time.
Northeastern University was established in 1898 as a research institute of higher education. The university is world-known for its successful cooperative education initiative where students can earn full-time salaries while studying. More than 27,100 students study for degrees offered by Northeastern University Northeastern University offers degree candidates more than 150 study abroad opportunities.
Program: Graduate Certificate in Emergency Management
12. Lander University
Lander University offers an MS in Emergency Management that is ranked among South Carolina’s best online Masters in Emergency Management degree programs. Most working learners finish Lander University’s MS in emergency management degree in under two years. The program requires students to complete 31 semester credits, including a capstone course. Coursework includes Intro to Emergency Management, Mitigation & Preparedness, Response & Recovery, and Emergency Management Technology, plus a capstone course. Lander University accepts up to nine eligible transfer credits.
Lander University was established as a higher learning institute in 1872. While Lander University began as a private Methodist school, it became public about 25 years later. More than 3,100 students attend classes on the school’s Greenwood campus. The university holds the distinction of being the 2nd smallest of all publicly funded universities.
Program: MS in Emergency Management
13. Georgetown University
Georgetown University offers an MPS in Emergency and Disaster Management that is available entirely online or on-campus. This 33 semester credit best online Masters in Emergency Management degree program is typically completed in two to five years, depending on the student’s available time commitment. Foundation and core classes include Critical Decision Making, Project Management for Disaster and Emergencies, Risk Perception Awareness, GIS for Disaster management, plus a capstone project in emergency management.
Georgetown University was established in 1815 as Georgetown College. The university’s campus overlooking the Potomac River is home to more than 18,900 students. The school operates with an affiliation with the Roman Catholic Jesuit Church, but most students at Georgetown University are not from Catholic backgrounds. The first head of the Roman Catholic Church in the US, John Carroll, founded the school.
Program: MPS in Emergency and Disaster Management
14. California State University, Long Beach
California State University, Long Beach offers an MS in Emergency Services Administration (ESA) that is considered one of California’s best online Masters in Emergency Management degree programs. Cal State Long Beach’s graduate degree in emergency management requires students to complete 32 semester units. These classes include applied research methods, strategic planning, emergency management/planning, risk and crisis intervention, emergency leadership planning, plus a capstone project.
California State University (Cal State Long Beach), was established as a public higher learning institution in 1949. This space-grant university is also a member of the CSU – the California State University system. The university’s urban campus in Long Beach is home to more than 37,900 students. Cal State Long Beach holds the distinction of having one of the state’s most diverse student populations.
Program: MS in Emergency Services Administration
15. Anna Maria College
Anna Maria College offers an MPA with a specialization in Emergency Management that is available entirely online. Anna Maria College’s best online Masters in Emergency Management degree program prepares students for rewarding careers as crisis response managers, emergency planners, disaster recovery specialists, emergency management consultant or risk mitigation specialists, to name a few. Program requirements mandate students to complete 36 semester credits in classes that include ethical theory, strategic management, executive leadership, public policy, management policies in government, and strategic planning, among others.
Anna Maria College was established in 1946. Anna Maria College remains affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church and serves more than 1,100 students on the 185+ rural acre campus in Paxton in Central Massachusetts, near Worcester. The school offers nearly 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs delivered either on-campus, online, or a combination of both delivery methods.
Program: MPA in Emergency Management
16. Regent University
Regent University ‘s Robertson School of Government offers a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree with a specialization in Emergency Management and Homeland Security that is ranked among Virginia’s best online Masters in Emergency Management degree programs. Students can complete the degree in only four semesters as a full-time student, or up to four years, part-time. Core coursework includes Christian Foundations of Government, Public Budgeting, Organizational Theory, Research Methods, Principles of Public Administration, plus an internship related to emergency management. Classes for Regent University’s online emergency management degree program are provided in eight-week sessions.
Regent University was established in 1977. This interdenominational evangelical Christian Church is home to more than 6,400 students vying for the more than 60 degrees offered. Regent University began as the Christian Broadcasting Network. Regent University’s alumnus includes governors, justices, mayors, actors, musicians, and athletes.
Program: MPA in Emergency Management and Homeland Security
17. University of Florida
The University of Florida offers an MS in Fire and Emergency Services (MSFES) that prepares students for rewarding careers as fire department managers, red cross workers, homeland security officers, crisis and intervention managers, plus a host of consulting opportunities across a number of sectors. This best online Masters in Emergency Management degree program from UF mandates the completion of 33 semester credits across a broad section of eleven fire and emergency management classes.
The University of Florida was established as a land grant university under the Morrill Land Grant Act in 1853. The school’s suburban campuses cover more than 2,000 acres and serve more than 55,800 students. US News has recognized the University of Florida among the top ten public institutions of higher education in the United States.
Program: Master of Fire and Emergency Services
18. Millersville University
Millersville University offers an MS in Emergency Management that is recognized among the nation’s best online Masters in Emergency Management degree programs by bestcolleges.com. Students graduating from Millersville University’s graduate degree in emergency management enter the workforce as emergency managers, disaster response technicians, operations coordinators, or business development managers. The curriculum includes crisis communication, GIS applications, disaster response, terrorism, and theoretical perspectives of emergency management, to name a few.
Millersville University was established in 1855 as a public institute for teaching training as a result of the Free School Act of PA. The university’s suburban campus in Millersville serves more than 7,100 students and covers more than 200 acres and is located about 90 minutes from Philadelphia, PA. Students studying at Millersville University enjoy a small student to faculty ratio of 18 to 1.
Program: MS in Emergency Management
19. Eastern Kentucky University
Eastern Kentucky University’s School of Safety, Security & Emergency Management offers a Master of Science (MS) degree program in Safety, Security, and Emergency Management (SSEM) that is considered among the state’s best online Masters in Emergency Management degree programs. EKU’s graduate degree emergency management program offers students three concentrations in Homeland Security, Occupational Safety, and Emergency Management and Occupational Safety. EKU’s program requires degree candidates to complete 36 semester credits to graduate, of which 18 credits are devoted to core curriculum requirements.
Eastern Kentucky University was established as a public institution of higher education in 1874. Eastern Kentucky University operates multiple campuses in the state, plus more than 35 degree programs online. The university’s campus in Richmond is home to more than 15,500 students. US News recognizes Eastern Kentucky University among the top 30 regional public schools in the southern US.
Program: MS in Safety, Security, and Emergency Management
20. University of Nebraska Medical Center
The University of Nebraska Medical Center’s College of Public Health offers a Master of Science (MS) degree program in Emergency Preparedness that is available online. The University of Nebraska Medical Center’s best online Masters in Emergency Management degree program has been developed for those students or working learners who currently hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution of higher education. The school offers an academic or practice track – each requiring 36 semester credits and the completion of a master’s thesis.
The University of Nebraska Medical Center was established as a private medical school in 1880. Several years later, UN Med became part of the University of Nebraska System and now has an estimated regional economic impact of nearly $5 billion. More than 4,000 students attend classes at UN Med. The University of Nebraska Medical Center led the first of the US clinical trials regarding COVID-19.
Program: MS in Emergency Preparedness
21. University of Alaska Fairbanks
The University of Alaska Fairbanks offers a Master of Security and Disaster Management (MSDN) degree program that can be completed 100% online. This best online Masters in Emergency Management degree program is a member of FEMA’s higher ed program. Coursework for UA Fairbanks’ graduate degree in emergency management includes vulnerability & protection, human security, legal aspect of homeland security, and disaster management policy, plus electives for one of five concentrations. These concentrations include cybersecurity, disaster management, arctic security, business continuity, and strategic leadership.
The University of Alaska Fairbanks was established as a land-grant university under the Morrill Land Grant Act in 1917. Additionally, UA Fairbanks is a space-grant and sea-grant school that serves more than 8,100 students. The University of Alaska Fairbanks is situated only two hundred miles below the Arctic Circle.
Program: Master of Security and Disaster Management
22. National University
National University offers an MS in Homeland Security and Emergency Management that is recognized as one of the state’s best online Masters in Emergency Management degree programs. Students graduate from National University’s graduate online degree in emergency management and enter the workforce as emergency managers, intelligence analysts, prison wardens, homeland security officers, or customs and border patrol officers, to name a few. NU offers discounts for tuition for service members and their dependents.
National University is a private institute of higher learning with more than 20 campuses in California, at a facility in Nevada and through the school’s distance learning platform. National University was established in 1971 to develop programs designed for adult learners. Nearly 24,000 students attend classes offered by National University and is considered the city’s largest nonprofit school.
Program: MS in Homeland Security and Emergency Management
23. University of Nevada Las Vegas
The University of Nevada Las Vegas offers an MS in Emergency and Crisis Management (ECEM) that is available 100% online. This best online Masters in Emergency Management degree program from The University of Nevada Las Vegas requires the completion of 36 semester credits in classes that include human considerations, community preparedness, crisis management, the science of catastrophe, intergovernmental affairs, response and recovery, and risk assessment, plus, a culminating project in crisis management.
UNLV was established in 1957. UNLV is a land-grant institution of higher education with a campus about a mile from the famous Vegas strip. UN Las Vegas (UNLV) is home to more than 31,100 students attending classes on-campus and online. UNLV consistently ranks among the nation’s top schools in terms of diversity. The first classes were held in an unused high school classroom in Las Vegas.
Program: MS in Emergency and Crisis Management
24. Nova Southeastern University
Nova Southeastern University offers an MS in Disaster and Emergency Management recognized among the country’s best online Masters in Emergency Management degree programs by several academic ranking services. Nova Southeastern Universityoffers tuition discounts for this program for first responders and military personnel and veterans. This graduate emergency management degree from NEU offers students several academic concentrations – Firs Administration, Public health, Criminal Justice, Cyber Security, and Maritime Safety and Security.
Nova Southeastern University (NSU) was established as a private higher learning institution in 1964. Nova Southeastern University operates several academic facilities through Florida that serve more than 20,200 students. The school’s campus was once a naval outlying military field. Within the last decade, Nova Southeastern University now operates a satellite facility in Puerto Rico offering graduate and postgraduate degree programs.
Program: MS in Disaster and Emergency Management
25. University of New Haven
The University of New Haven’s Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences offers a Master of Science (MS) degree program in Emergency Management that can be completed entirely online. The University of New Haven’s best online Masters in Emergency Management degree program does not require a GMAT or GRE score to apply. UNH’s graduate degree in emergency management requires the completion of 36 semester credits over 24 months. Coursework for this degree program includes Catastrophe Readiness, Hazard Mitigation, and Holistic Disaster Recovery, to name a few.
The University of New Haven is a higher education institution established in 1920 as a satellite facility of Northeastern University. The university operates two nearby campuses, one on the beautiful Long Island Sound. Nearly 7,000 students attend classes offered by the University of New Haven from the five colleges/schools that comprise the university. The University of New Haven is recognized by the Princeton Review among the top schools in the northeastern US.
Program: MS in Emergency Management
How Much Can I Make with an Emergency Management Masters?
Having a Masters degree in Environmental Management can earn you, on average, approximately $70,000 per year. You have a variety of choices, however, that will impact how much you make on a yearly basis. As a program manager for a non-profit or and environmental scientist, you may be able to earn around $55,000 to $58,000 per year. On the high end of the pay scale, you can apply for positions as an Environmental Health & Safety Manager and make an average yearly salary of just over $100,000. These numbers are also subject to a few other factors that you need to consider.
First, you need to consider your location. A larger city will be able to pay you more per year simply because they have more money to set aside for the position. Second, your level of experience in terms of dealing with the public and catastrophic events will also be key. Lastly, your level of education and willingness to return to school are both very important. Having dealt with natural disasters or catastrophic events as a volunteer or as part of an EMS team is extremely beneficial. This type of experience makes you a valuable asset and will often be a good bargaining tool if you are trying to earn a specific salary. The knowledge you receive with a Masters’ degree is extremely valuable and will work to enhance your career for many years to come.
What Kinds of Jobs Are Available in Emergency Management?
A Masters degree in Emergency Management can open the door to many different employment opportunities. This includes working with local Emergency Management Services within your community. Environmental Health and Safety managers are always being sought out, especially if candidates have experience working with both man-made and natural disasters. An Emergency Management Masters degree offers valuable management tools that allow you to work with both the public and private sectors, bringing them together to work as one cohesive unit.
Non-profit organizations such as the Salvation Army are always looking for staff members who have both experience and the educational background to meet the needs that often arise if a natural disaster occurs. These individuals must have managerial skills as well as be efficient problem-solvers. They must be able to think and act quickly, taking control of situations that escalate without any notice. These types of scenarios make it possible for someone with a Masters in Emergency Management to find employment in almost any industry.
Are There Emergency Management Jobs in the Private Sector?
A graduate who has earned a Masters in Emergency Management can find work in almost any industry. Emergency situations are not limited to environmental or natural disasters. They can include oil or chemical spills as well as an outbreak of an infectious disease. In the private sector, controlling an emergency situation is just as important as if it had taken place in a public space. Emergency management teams and directors who are familiar with a particular industry are essential at minimizing risks and taking control of a dangerous situation.
Individuals who have made a career in a specific industry can enroll in an online Masters of Emergency Management degree program and learn everything they need to know about what type of emergencies they may encounter. This degree gives the knowledge they need to step into action if the need arises. They will be able to tailor their solutions to the emergency at hand within their own industry, maintaining policies and protocols along the way. Every industry is different and safety guidelines vary. Understanding what should be done and implementing those steps is crucial, especially in an emergency situation.