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Online Degrees and Schooling in Emergency Management

Find out about online emergency management courses and in which degree programs they're most commonly offered. Get course descriptions, program info and online requirements to make an informed decision.

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Essential Information

Online degree programs in emergency management prepare students for dealing with natural and man-made hazards, and include schooling in phases of emergency and disaster management, prevention, risk assessment, mitigation and recovery.

Many online programs in this field are offered by private distance learning schools, but some public universities also have degree options. Students may be able to earn their degree totally online, but some require practicums.

Bachelor's degrees in emergency management offered online may be degree completion programs, which means that students must have already completed an associate's program or an equivalent amount of general education coursework prior to admission.

Students interested in a master's program must have a bachelor's degree to be eligible for admittance. Schools who offer undergraduate and graduate programs in this field may also require students to have work experience as an emergency responder.

Common Coursework

Bachelor's degree and master's degree programs in emergency management typically focus on similar areas of study with few exceptions. The most notable difference is that master's programs offer more courses in planning for disasters, while bachelor's programs focus more on emergency response and also include general education coursework.

Examples of common online courses in emergency management programs include the following:

  • Emergency and Disaster Theory
  • Hazard Mitigation and Resilient Communities
  • Organizational Crisis Management
  • Psychology of Disaster
  • Crisis Action Planning
  • Weapons of Mass Destruction Incident Command
  • Chemistry of Hazardous Materials
  • Explosive Incident Assessment
  • Emergency Response to Terrorism

Distance learners in a graduate program may have to complete a capstone project or an on-site supervised experience in an emergency response organization. Some undergraduate programs require a comprehensive research project as a culminating experience. Bachelor's degrees can usually be earned by full-time students in four years and master's degrees take about two years.

Learning Environment

Unlike campus-based programs, online schooling in emergency management generally offers the flexibility to study when it is convenient for students - although courses typically do have scheduled due dates for coursework. Experts in emergency management from around the world, coming from a variety of fields, are able to participate in online programs. Experienced faculty can teach and mentor students while actively working in emergency management full-time, offering students their current, real-world knowledge.


Career Information

An online degree in emergency management is applicable to many fields and careers. For example, graduates of such schooling can develop emergency plans for government agencies. Likewise, many for-profit and non-profit organizations require employees who have had relevant training in crisis management and disaster situations. Graduates with online degrees in emergency management can find employment in the following industries:

  • Basic Chemical Manufacturing
  • Waste Treatment and Disposal
  • Emergency Relief Services
  • General Medical and Surgical Hospitals
  • Management, Technical and Scientific Consulting Services

Online programs in emergency management typically cover emergency response and planning, and may require students to complete practicums although most programs are completely online. These programs prepare graduates for careers developing emergency plans in various industries, including for hospitals and emergency relief services.

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