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Top 25 Online Master’s in Emergency and Disaster Management for 2020


An emergency management master’s online program is the perfect opportunity to advance one’s career. Emergency management professions are among the fastest-growing in the nation with a projected increase of 20% over the next ten years. More than 100 colleges around the globe are now offering emergency management online masters programs to prepare professionals for leadership positions in the field.

An online master’s degree in emergency management is ideal for those who want to advance in the field. Certain key skills can only be taught within a structured program. There are political and socio-economic elements to consider during emergency management (such as the complexity of Homeland Security) and the courses will cover these topics thoroughly. The online master’s degree in emergency management allows the individual to pursue a leadership position since he or she will know how to ensure continuity of operations during emergency situations.

A master’s degree in emergency management online is also a good choice for those with a background in emergency services. Those that come from backgrounds in rapid response fields such as fire and police often benefit from this type of degree to move onto another type of position. At the end of the degree program, the individual may be able to pass the Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) examination and gain access to more career opportunities. With courses being online, the enrollee can still continue working while earning the graduate degree.

Ranking the Best Online Master’s in Emergency Management

To rank the best emergency management master’s degree programs available online, Security Degree Hub editors searched for fully online and hybrid programs from accredited, trusted institutions of all kinds. For the actual ranking, our concern is value, meaning that students can trust the programs to offer a real improvement on their career prospects. That’s why programs are ranked according to cost, salary potential, and student reviews.

1. University of Florida

When looking into the best online masters in emergency management to help with your career goals, you may discover the Master of Fire and Emergency Services from the University of Florida. The degree program focuses on teaching students to mitigate hazards, plan for emergencies, and respond to disasters. Students will have the skills and capabilities to take on leadership roles in a fire department, police department, or in a federal agency.

The University of Florida differs from other programs by emphasizing leadership skills as they apply to emergency situations. The school recognizes that leaders play a critical role in disaster preparedness and emergency response. As a result, the program helps students develop the skills they need to lead others when working in disaster relief, emergency planning, or related fields.

Highlight: The University of Florida offers an online certification that students can consider for enhancing a degree.

Degree: Master of Fire and Emergency Services

2. Northeastern University

Northeastern University offers a Graduate Certificate in Emergency Management online that allows students to develop the skills they need to evaluate a crisis and take appropriate measures to help within a local community. The degree program uses real-world examples to help students gain an understanding of the appropriate ways to handle different situations as well as the mistakes to avoid when addressing an unexpected disaster.

The way Northeastern University differs from other programs is the certification. The degree program is a type of certificate program designed for students who have completed a bachelor’s degree. The classes can also be added to a master’s degree in Homeland Security, so students will want to clarify their specific goals for their degree before determining that the certification is a good choice for their goals.

Highlight: Northeastern University collaborates with homeland security centers and facilities to ensure that the certification program is up-to-date.

Degree: Graduate Certificate in Emergency Management

3. Georgetown University

The MPS in Emergency and Disaster Management from Georgetown University is one of the best online masters in emergency management for students who plan to focus on addressing unexpected disasters and emergencies. The degree program offers a comprehensive education in modern emergency management and the risks that may arise in modern society.

Georgetown University offers online and on-campus programs for the master’s degree in Emergency and Disaster Management. The flexible scheduling and the options available to students make it easy to keep up with obligations or responsibilities while working on a master’s degree. It also focuses on modern communication strategies to ensure that students are able to connect to appropriate professionals and organize relief efforts in an emergency situation.

Highlight: Georgetown University helps students gain hands-on experience with internships and off-site trips.

Degree: MPS in Emergency and Disaster Management

4. Arizona State University

The MA in Emergency Management and Homeland Security for Arizona State University prepares students to take on challenges when emergencies arise. It teaches students the leadership skills and the practical skills they need to organize disaster relief, prepare communities for potential emergencies that occur in the local environment, and mitigate man-made issues from unexpected situations.

Arizona State University focuses on collaboration as part of the degree program. Students are expected to collaborate with faculty, peers, and practitioners in their local community to gain hands-on experience that helps with long-term goals. The degree program recognizes the value of teamwork when dealing with emergencies and natural disasters, so it provides a comprehensive understanding of different ways to communicate and engage with others to reach a common goal.

Highlight: Arizona State University’s MA in Emergency Management and Homeland Security is rated at the most innovative online degree program by U.S. News and World Reports.

Degree: MA in Emergency Management and Homeland Security

5. California State University, Long Beach

California State University in Long Beach offers an online MS in Emergency Services Administration that focuses on teaching students organizational leadership. The online degree program recognizes the importance of proper organization in leadership positions as well as the importance of communication for senior-level professionals in emergency management. The program focuses on teaching students the skills they need to lead others when an emergency occurs as well as measures to keep up with preparations in local communities to prevent emergencies.

The way that California State University in Long Beach stands out is the interdisciplinary approach it takes to teaching students about emergency services. It does not only focus on ensuring that students have leadership skills. It also prepares students to analyze different situations and develop a plan of action to address the underlying concerns. It ensures that students have the ability to respond effectively when an emergency arises.

Highlight: California State University in Long Beach offers faculty advising to students throughout their studies through web-based technology.

Degree: MS in Emergency Services Administration

6. National University

The MS in Homeland Security and Emergency Management from National University is one of the best online degrees for students who want to work in homeland security or emergency management roles. The degree program teaches students ethics and leadership as it applies to emergency situations and the planning to prevent emergencies in a local environment.

National University is the largest nonprofit university in San Diego and it sets high standards for student achievement. Due to the high expectations for students, the online program is considered one of the best options for students who want to work in emergency management and disaster relief. It also recognizes the potential for man-made risks and prepares students to address emergencies that relate to actions from groups or individuals.

Highlight: National University offers an accelerated program with classes that last for four weeks.

Degree: MS in Homeland Security and Emergency Management

7. University of Nevada Las Vegas

The University of Nevada at Las Vegas offers an MS in Emergency and Crisis Management that focuses on giving students a well-rounded education. The degree program recognizes that students need practical skills to handle emergencies that may arise in different localities as well as theoretical skills to handle problems that may arise in the future. It recognizes that emergency planning is only part of the process to limit risks to local communities and it provides the skills students need to think critically about situations before planning a solution.

The way that the University of Nevada at Las Vegas stands out is the focus on flexibility. The degree program is designed around working adults and it focuses on ensuring that students are able to take the courses. The majority of the class material is available to students online. It also requires five campus visits on the weekends to ensure that students are able to work around personal schedules or obligations.

Highlight: The University of Nevada at Las Vegas offers interaction with professors through email, telephone conversations, or the school’s web-based application.

Degree: MS in Emergency and Crisis Management

8. Virginia Commonwealth University

The MA in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness from Virginia Commonwealth University offers an interdisciplinary education to students. The online degree program recognizes that emergencies may range from terrorist attacks and human activities to natural disasters. It teaches students the theoretical knowledge they need to analyze different situations that may arise as well as the practical skills to take on leadership roles in an emergency situation.

Virginia Commonwealth University teaches students the skills they need to organize groups during an emergency. It also recognizes that a variety of ethical challenges may arise during a crisis and helps students understand the importance of ethics when working in emergency response or related fields. Students will have the ability to take on challenging roles during a crisis when they finish the degree program.

Highlight: Virginia Commonwealth University emphasizes research as a method of teaching students to prepare for the problems they may face when working in a challenging career.

Degree: MA in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness

9. Thomas Jefferson University

Thomas Jefferson University offers an MS in Disaster Medicine and Management that prepares students for a career in law enforcement, firefighting, or other disaster relief services. The degree program focuses on preparing students to address man-made and natural disasters that may arise throughout their careers. The program recognizes that students may face challenges related to volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters, as well as problems associated with human behaviors like terrorism and disruptions to major power grids. It prepares students to address a myriad of crises that may cause harm to communities.

Thomas Jefferson University stands out by offering different formats for flexible class schedules. Students can take the classes fully online to work around a complicated schedule or situation. The program is also available on-campus for students who want a more traditional experience with their degree programs. The flexibility gives students a variety of options so they can focus on obtaining their degrees.

Highlight: Thomas Jefferson University offers accelerated courses so students can complete the degree program in as little as one year.

Degree: MS in Disaster Medicine and Management

10. University of Nebraska Medical Center

The University of Nebraska Medical Center offers an online MS in Emergency Preparedness program. The degree program offers students the fundamental skills they need to handle emergency situations and help communities prepare for potential concerns that may arise. Since the degree program focuses on preparedness, it helps students recognize the steps they can take to help communities limit the problems from natural disasters or man-made emergencies.

The University of Nebraska Medical Center stands out from other programs by working within the medical school. It recognizes the potential for disasters and emergencies to cause injuries or ailments, so it offers a unique perspective on emergency preparedness through the medical aspects. Students are able to learn about leadership skills, preventing emergencies, and preparing for unavoidable situations by obtaining the online degree.

Highlight: The University of Nebraska Medical Center offer scholarships to help with the costs of a graduate degree program.

Degree: MS in Emergency Preparedness

11. Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University offers one of the best online masters in emergency management with the MS in Leadership with a concentration in Homeland Security and Emergency Management. The online degree program emphasizes communication skills and teamwork, as well as leadership skills. It recognizes the importance of teamwork when dealing with disasters and emergencies, and strives to ensure that students are ready to collaborate to accomplish a common goal.

The way that Grand Canyon University stands out is the focus on self-discipline as well as leadership. It strives to teach students self-leadership through self-awareness and reflection. That allows students to develop effective analytical skills and to gain the self-discipline to handle emergency situations without losing focus. It also ensures that students are calm and capable when taking on a leadership role during a disaster.

Highlight: Grand Canyon University offers eight-week courses for an accelerated degree program.

Degree: MS in Leadership – Homeland Security and Emergency Management

12. Tulane University

The MPS in Emergency Management from Tulane University is one of the best online programs for students who want to work in emergency services and management. The degree program focuses on the goals of students who are planning to take on front-line roles in emergency preparedness and disaster relief. It gives students a strong foundation to address concerns and take on challenging roles in their careers.

Tulane University stands out by offering a flexible scheduling solution. Students can take a fully online course or take a course that combines online and on-campus classes. That flexibility gives students the opportunity to address personal concerns related to their degrees and focus on reaching personal goals. It also ensures that students can focus on their own learning styles when working on a degree.

Highlight: The faculty at Tulane University help students network and develop useful relationships for their careers.

Degree: MPS in Emergency Management

13. Nova Southeastern University

Nova Southeastern University offers an MS in Disaster and Emergency Management that prepares students for the challenges of taking on a leadership role in emergency situations. The program teaches students the theories they need to apply to different situations and disasters that may arise on a local or international level. It gives students the fundamental skills to handle different situations and ensures that they are prepared for the rigors of addressing emergencies or disasters.

Nova Southeastern University differs from other programs by focusing on teaching students to take proactive measures during an emergency situation. It ensures that students are calm under pressure and can handle the challenges of making decisions during a disaster. It also focuses on interprofessional studies that give students different perspectives on course materials. That ensures that students learn the ways that different professionals may handle a problem and helps them learn to interact and cooperate with different individuals.

Highlight: Nova Southeastern University requires students to take on a community internship or a research practicum to gain hands-on experience.

Degree: MS in Disaster and Emergency Management

14. Millersville University

When you want to find the best online masters in emergency management, Millersville University’s MS in Emergency Management is a good choice for your goals. The degree program focuses on teaching students effective leadership skills as well as methods to coordinate among different professionals to complete tasks and address concerns that may arise during a natural disaster or a man-made emergency. Students also learn effective planning to prepare for emergencies that may arise.

Millersville University stands out from other programs by developing student skills to plan for emergencies, develop strategies to address the situation, and coordinate efforts to provide relief from disasters or emergencies. It gives students a strong foundation in the theories and practical skills they need to take on leadership roles within emergency management services. Students will have the ability to work in public and private organizations.

Highlight: Millersville University is among the top-ranked colleges for its online master’s degree in emergency management.

Degree: MS in Emergency Management

15. Arkansas Tech University

The MS in Emergency Management and Homeland Security from Arkansas Tech University is one of the best online masters in emergency management for students who plan to work in the public or private sector. The degree program focuses on research and ensures that students are capable of identifying potential concerns and preparing for the situations before it causes major damage or problems within a local community. It gives students a strong foundation to prepare for a career in homeland security or emergency management services.

Arkansas Tech University stands out by offering flexible solutions for students in the emergency management and homeland security master’s degree program. The students can work around a flexible schedule using online classes or on-campus classes. It also allows students to combine online and on-campus classes to fit their specific needs and situations. The flexibility ensures that students are able to keep up with obligations or responsibilities while obtaining a degree.

Highlight: Arkansas Tech University allows students to transfer credits from a qualified and accredited university.

Degree: MS in Emergency Management and Homeland Security

16. Regent University

The MPA in Emergency Management and Homeland Security at Regent University is an excellent program for students who want to work in homeland security or disaster relief services. It prepares students to take on the role of safeguarding a community and preparing for potential disasters that may arise in the local environment. The degree gives students the skills to assess and prepare for emergencies or threats that may harm a community.

Regent University stands out from other programs by focusing on modern risks and concerns. It does not limit emergency management to natural disasters. It also prepares students to handle terrorism or man-made threats that may impact a local community. The focus on ensuring that students have a well-rounded view of the threats that may arise to impact the local community ensures that students are able to act quickly during a crisis.

Highlight: Regent University presents information in the classes from a Christian perspective.

Degree: MPA in Emergency Management and Homeland Security

17. Eastern Kentucky University

The MS in Safety, Security, and Emergency Management from Eastern Kentucky University is a good choice for students who want to work in careers that focus on disaster and emergency preparedness and response. The degree program takes a multidisciplinary approach to the area of safety and emergency management to ensure that students are able to take on leadership roles. It recognizes the value of collaboration and cooperation, so it teaches students different aspects of safety and security as it applies to different perspectives.

Eastern Kentucky University stands out by offering three different tracks or concentrations. Students can study occupational safety, corporate security operations, or emergency management and disaster resiliency. The ability to choose a concentration that fits personal goals and specialized fields of study ensures that students are able to obtain a career that fits their long-term plans. It gives students more opportunities to specialize in a career.

Highlight: Eastern Kentucky University offers a non-degree certification to students who have a bachelor’s degree and may not be ready to go through the entire master’s degree program.

Degree: MS in Safety, Security, and Emergency Management

18. Jacksonville State University

Jacksonville State University offers an MS in Emergency Management that prepares students for a career in emergency preparedness and disaster relief. The degree program emphasizes analytical skills and management skills to prepare students for the challenges of taking on a leadership role in emergency situations. It gives students the practical skills they need to address concerns in a local community that may arise due to a natural disaster, an unexpected emergency, or a man-made situation.

Jacksonville State University stands apart from other programs by focusing on a flexible online format. It gives students access to materials without ever visiting the campus. The flexible classes are designed to work around the needs of working adults and it gives students the ability to engage in class materials when it fits their personal schedules.

Highlight: Jacksonville State University allows students to transfer up to six credits into the program from an accredited university.

Degree: MS in Emergency Management

19. University of New Haven

The University of New Haven offers an MS in Emergency Management degree program. The online program highlights the theories behind emergency preparedness and disaster relief. It complies with FEMA standards and ensures that students are ready to handle the challenges of taking on a leadership role during an emergency situation. The program teaches students to handle natural disasters that may arise as well as threats from terrorists or other man-made emergencies.

The University of New Haven differs from other programs by optimizing work-life balance. Students can take as few as one course per term to keep up with their materials. They can also take more courses if they prefer due to the flexible online format. Since it allows students to optimize work-life balance, it is a good option for individuals who may have job responsibilities or personal obligations that limit their time to study for a degree.

Highlight: Students can apply to the University of New Haven without a GMAT or GRE score.

Degree: MS in Emergency Management

20. Lander University

The MS in Emergency Management from Lander University is one of the best online masters in emergency management for students who want a flexible degree program. The online program ensures that students gain the theoretical and practical knowledge they need to provide expert emergency management advise during a challenging situation. It gives students the ability to respond to disasters and emergencies in a calm manner so that they can address concerns and start working on relief efforts.

Lander University takes an interdisciplinary approach to emergency management and encourages students to study multiple fields and industries to prepare for the challenges they may face when working in disaster relief or emergency management. Students may study topics that range from leadership and business to psychology and organizational management. The focus on combining different industries ensures that students are able to identify and assess a situation before developing a detailed plan of action.

Highlight: Lander University allows students to complete a degree in one year by taking extra courses, or they can complete the degree in two years by taking two courses per term.

Degree: MS in Emergency Management

21. University of Alaska Fairbanks

The University of Alaska at Fairbanks offers a Master of Security and Disaster Management degree program online that helps students accomplish their career goals. The program emphasizes operational and strategic skills that may apply to current job responsibilities or new opportunities when students are looking into a career change. The degree program helps students prepare for the rigors of taking on a leadership role during emergency situations.

The University of Alaska at Fairbanks stands apart by building on a student’s experience and previous education. It takes a multidisciplinary approach to emergency management and uses a student’s experiences to enhance their understanding of important topics. It also teaches practical skills that help students take on challenging leadership positions and keep up with the organization of disparate groups. It emphasizes teamwork and cooperation as part of the curriculum.

Highlight: The University of Alaska at Fairbanks is the only school in Alaska with a program designed for security and disaster management.

Degree: Master of Security and Disaster Management

22. Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire UniversityThe MS in Management with a concentration in Emergency Management from Southern New Hampshire University teaches students to mitigate disasters and address potential risks. It ensures that students are able to analyze risk factors and prepare local communities for potential emergencies based on the level of risk. It also teaches students the different methods used to safeguard the public. The emphasis on emergency preparedness and risk management plays a critical role in preventing emergencies from harming the public.

Southern New Hampshire University differs from other programs by emphasizing preparedness and disaster response. It teaches students to handle different situations based on their roles within a company or organization. It also recognizes that the degree program may be used in the private sector to help businesses identify and mitigate risks that arise within a company.

Highlight: Southern New Hampshire University allows students to graduate within 15 months of starting the online program.

Degree: MS in Management – Emergency Management

23. Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University offers an MS in Emergency and Disaster Management online that prepares students for the challenges of addressing a crisis situation. The degree program offers students the theoretical knowledge they need to recognize a disaster before it causes severe damage or problems. It also offers the practical skills students need to develop a plan of action to handle problems as they arise.

The way Saint Leo University differs from other programs is the focus on minimizing risks and leading organizations during a crisis. The program helps students take measures to prepare organizations, businesses, or communities for disasters. It also teaches students to lead others through a crisis or a disaster to ensure that the risks are limited.

Highlight: Saint Leo University offers an accelerated program for students who want to graduate early.

Degree: MS in Emergency and Disaster Management

24. Adelphi University

The online MS in Emergency Management from Adelphi University prepares students for a challenging career. The degree program focuses on giving students a broad perspective on emergency management and the methods of handling a crisis situation. It also ensures that students are able to identify risk factors and take measures to limit the risks through proper preparation.

Adelphi University differs from other programs by giving students access to experienced professionals. The professors bring their personal experiences to the classroom and give students the practical skills they learned through active participation in disaster relief or emergency management. The program is fully online, so students are able to work at their own pace to complete course material.

Highlight: Adelphi University works with active-duty and veterans of the military to help with their educational goals.

Degree: MS in Emergency Management

25. Anna Maria College

Anna Maria College offers an online MPA in Emergency Management. The degree program focuses on teaching students the skills they need to offset the number of people harmed in natural disasters, human conflict, or unexpected emergencies. The degree program teaches students the proper methods to identify and assess threats before developing a realistic plan to help communities get through the situations.

Anna Maria College stands apart from other schools by emphasizing fundamental leadership and management skills. It helps students develop the skills they need to take on leadership roles during a crisis. It also teaches management skills to ensure that students are able to work with a team or cooperate with different professionals.

Highlight: Anna Maria College helps students network with professionals in their fields to further enhance their knowledge and gain opportunities for their careers.

Degree: MPA in Emergency Management

How Much Can I Make with an Emergency Management Master’s?

A master’s in emergency management salary is lucrative due to the special nature of the jobs – it’s one of the highest-paying security careers out there. Emergency management director jobs are available to those who graduate with a graduate-level degree. A crisis and disaster management salary for supervisory positions will be an average of $74,000 per year. The top earners within the field can make upwards of $140,000. The top-paying disaster and emergency management salary jobs are found at professional, technical, and scientific industries. Emergency management directors at these types of businesses make around $101,000 per year.

Other top-paying industries are academic settings, such as colleges and professional schools in need of emergency management services. Government employees bring in a slightly less emergency and disaster management salary with annual earnings around $65,000. Another high paying masters in emergency management salary are positions within the field of environmental health. Environmental health managers are in charge of minimizing environmental impacts and make an average of $78,000 per year. Emergency management specialist jobs are also well paying with averages of $55,000 and more.

What Kinds of Jobs are there in Emergency Management?

Jobs in emergency and disaster management offer a lot of options for the graduate. The professional can find jobs that involve working for the government, an academic institution, a private organization, or a medical facility. Government emergency management services jobs are available at the local, state, and federal level. Jobs in emergency and disaster management include emergency services coordinator, emergency management director, and environmental health manager.

An emergency services coordinator manages different response teams, such as fire, police, and EMTs, during a natural disaster or emergency. The coordinator helps organizations develop emergency plans and trains employees on how to follow any contingency procedures.

An emergency management director works with public safety agencies to provide emergency services to communities. The director will review public plans for emergencies and make changes as needed. The director is also needed to keep a record of procedures and make sure communications get to group response teams.

Environmental health managers are responsible for evaluating different environmental risks. The manager reviews a company’s policies to ensure they remain in compliance with current environmental standards. During an emergency, the manager helps implement procedures to reduce overall impact on the environment.

Are there Emergency Management Jobs in the Private Sector?

Private sector emergency management jobs have grown substantially over the last several decades. Private companies are providing disaster relief efforts as a way to improve public relations and make a positive impact on their communities. Private emergency management jobs may mean coordinating efforts with non-profit organizations and public agencies to provide services to those within a disaster area. In addition, healthcare organizations offer a chance to secure private sector emergency management jobs.

When working for a hospital, the professional develops plans in case of a variety of emergencies. As an example, he or she will have plans for patient safety in case of a power outage. The professional will look at different potential emergencies, such as hostage situations and hazardous spills, and know exactly what procedures to follow if any of these situations were to arise.

Private emergency management jobs are also available to those who are interested in consulting work. The consultant could be hired on a temporary or per project basis to advise a private company on what type of emergency procedures should be put in place.

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Securitydegreehub.com is an advertising-supported site. Clicking in this box will show you programs related to your search from schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other information published on this site.