The World Health Organization estimates that 160 million people are impacted by natural disasters each year. These disasters are made worse by thousands of terrorist attacks, accidents, and other incidents worldwide. From first responders to agency administrators, the emergency management field provides daily opportunities to prepare and respond to disasters. The best emergency management programs balance the preparation, executive, and recovery aspects of the discipline.
What is a Bachelor’s in Emergency Management?
A bachelor’s degree in emergency management is an interdisciplinary program. This degree helps students learn how to plan for, respond to, and mitigate disasters and emergencies. Students can expect to focus on areas like:
- disaster preparedness
- response coordination
- risk assessment
- recovery strategies
Students studying this degree learn how to manage crises effectively. These might include natural disasters like hurricanes and earthquakes, public health emergencies, or man-made incidents such as terrorist attacks. They learn to develop and implement emergency plans and work with government agencies. During chaotic times, they work with communities to keep people safe and well.
The curriculum typically covers a wide range of subjects, including:
- crisis communication
- hazard identification
- resource allocation
- the legal and ethical considerations of emergency management
It often includes hands-on experiences and simulations to provide students with practical skills and real-world insights.
How Do I Apply for a Bachelor’s in Emergency Management?
Emergency management schools including in our top 10 list emphasize affordability and accessibility through their programs. A few programs require completion of an associate degree in a relevant field. Most schools are simply looking for high school graduates who are committed to stepping into dangerous situations. Applicants submit high school and college transcripts along with standardized test scores. Faculty and staff in rated programs consider relevant work experience, extracurriculars, and previous courses when looking for promising students.
You don’t have to limit your school choices based on where you live. Many top programs are available online. A combination of online degree options and scholarships reduces the barriers to entry to colleges with emergency management degrees.
What Can I Do with a Bachelor’s in Emergency Management?
Pursuing a bachelor’s degree in emergency management opens doors to a wide array of career opportunities. Student can tailor their degree program to align with their dedication to disaster preparedness and response. As a graduate in this field, you’ll be well-prepared for roles such as Emergency Management Director. Emergency Management Directors serve as visionary leaders. Their job responsibilities may include:
- orchestrating disaster response plans
- ensuring resource allocation
- collaborating with government agencies like the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Homeland Security and Emergency Management
Emergency management degree programs also prepare graduates to become Emergency Planners. Emergency Planners create and use strategies to safeguard communities against various crises.
Students with a talent for data analysis and decision-making in high-pressure situations may be interested in a career as an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Specialist. These professionals operate within EOCs to manage:
- information flow
- resource deployment
- communication during emergencies
Another popular role is a Hazard Mitigation Specialist. In this job, the main goal is to reduce the effects of disasters by planning ahead and evaluating risks carefully.
You can also explore opportunities in public health as an Emergency Preparedness Coordinator. In this role, you’ll ensure that healthcare facilities are prepared to respond to public health crises. Graduates also have the option to venture into the private sector, assisting corporations in crisis management. Emergency Management is a career path that combines purpose, resilience, and the opportunity to be a true hero in times of need.
How Much Can I Earn with a Bachelor’s in Emergency Management?
A bachelor’s degree in emergency management is a career booster for experienced professionals. The programs that made our list encourage military veterans, first responders, and healthcare professionals to shift toward relief and response jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that jobs for emergency management degree graduates pay well. Directors earned an average of $76,730 in May 2021, far exceeding the $38,640 average salary for occupations studied by the BLS. The estimated job growth for emergency management degree jobs between 2021 and 2031 is 3%, due to the consistent need for experienced leaders. Emergency management graduates need not restrict themselves to director positions, nor enter school with years of experience. The best bachelor’s degrees in the field require internships that show the importance of steady leadership in:
- community organizations
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40% Potential salary after graduation
30% Individual program accreditation
30% Overall affordability
Want to learn more about how we gather that information? Please feel free to visit our dedicated methodology page for a step-by-step breakdown. We’re an open book!
If you’re interested in emergency management then check our list of the 10 Best Bachelor’s in Emergency Management!
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Average Net Price
The University of Alaska Fairbanks was founded in 1917. The UAF combines a diverse student body with an affordable education. The freshman class of 2022 included 19% Native American students, students from eight countries, and an average age of 25 years. There are 545 regular and adjunct faculty and 2,498 staff. UAF features nine colleges and schools that offer 187 degrees and certificates including a bachelor’s in emergency management.
The College of Business and Security Management offers a Bachelor of Security and Emergency Management. Students can choose from six concentrations:
- cybersecurity and information technology management
- emergency management
- emergency medical and public health management
- fire administration
- homeland security
- law enforcement management
The unique combination of online and in-person learning supports the needs of working professionals. Applied learning is at the core of each concentration area, so students can have real-world experiences in their area of interest. Course offerings include:
- Emergency Planning and Preparedness
- Training and Management Development
- All-hazards Risk Analysis
The University of Alaska Fairbanks also offers state-focused courses like Human Security in Alaska in its curriculum.
Students can also participate in the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) Student Chapter at UAF. Almost 100% of graduates are employed after completing their degree. Popular career paths include:
- Emergency Management
- Disaster Response Coordination
- Emergency Medical Services
- Department of Homeland Security
- Law Enforcement
Graduates of the program can boost their career prospects by advancing to a Master of Science in Security and Disaster Management.
University of Central Florida
Average Net Price
Located in the heart of sunny Florida, the University of Central Florida (UCF) stands as a beacon of excellence in higher education. With its sprawling campus, diverse student body, and wide array of academic programs, UCF has carved a distinctive niche in the world of universities.
UCF has over 70,000 students and 12,000 employees. It is the largest university in Florida and one of the biggest in the country. They also provide a top-value education with 62% of their students graduating with no educational debt from UCF. They offer 240 different degree programs including a bachelor’s in emergency management.
The Bachelor of Science in Emergency Management draws on the school’s proximity to military bases and government agencies to train future leaders. The Emergency Management degree program provides foundational knowledge through core courses like:
- Intergovernmental Administration
- Hazard Mitigation and Preparedness
- Disaster Response and Recovery
Every student is required to complete a public administration internship approved by the College of Community Innovation and Education.
Emergency Management students are required to choose a minor to complement their studies. Popular minor choices are public administration and nonprofit management. Students can take courses online or on campus based on their personal needs. Graduates are ready to pursue entry-level positions in areas like government and education. They can also obtain the Certified Emergency Manager credential to enhance their resume.
Jacksonville State University
Average Net Price
Jacksonville State University (JSU) is where academic excellence meets Southern charm. Nestled in the heart of Alabama, JSU has been a leader in higher education since 1883. With a rich history, diverse student body, and a commitment to fostering both personal and intellectual growth, JSU boasts a unique blend of tradition and innovation. Originally a teacher’s college, the school has expanded its degree programs to include a Bachelor of Science in Emergency Management.
The Bachelor of Science in Emergency Management includes a 30-credit core with explorations of subjects like Populations at Risk and Disaster Response. Students select from the Public Safety Telecommunications or Homeland Security minors as they advance through the program. Each minor is a six-course track covering topics such as Introduction to Crisis Intervention, for PST students, and Social Dimensions of Disaster, for HS candidates.
The Department of Emergency Management provides a natural next step for BS graduates with a master’s program in emergency management. They are one of the few programs in the country that also offer an emergency management doctoral degree. JSU also offers a Cybersecurity micro-credential and a Graduate Certificate in Emergency Management.
Undergraduate and graduate students enhance their knowledge of emergency management through the on-campus Center for Disaster and Community Resilience. The Emergency Management Coalition of Eastern Alabama, housed at the university, connects students with local, state, and national organizations.
Average Net Price
Located in the heart of Springfield, Missouri, Drury has been making its mark for over a century. From its historic Stone Chapel, immortalized on the silver screen, to its innovative global education programs, Drury is a university that inspires and transforms. The founders of Drury University – then known as Springfield College – wanted to create a version of Yale University in Springfield, MO. The early classes attracted a broad range of students, including women, Native Americans, and immigrants.
The Drury GO online Bachelor of Science in Emergency Management is accessible to working students with evening and online courses.
Students must complete their general education courses plus a 39-credit core to develop a full range of sought after emergency management skills. Aspiring managers learn about disaster recovery, financial basics, and public information management. BS candidates also explore how to apply for grants and funding for relief programs. A required internship helps Drury students learn from corporate and government experts in disaster response.
Students can also take advantage of concurrent credit opportunities within the Department of Continuing Professional Studies. They allow emergency management undergraduates to enroll in up to six credit hours of graduate coursework from the Master’s in Public Service and Safety Leadership program. This saves students planning on pursuing a graduate degree both time and money.
University of Nebraska at Omaha
Average Net Price
The University of Nebraska Omaha has achieved both academic and athletic success in the 21st century. The Mavericks men’s hockey team took the nation by storm by reaching its first national tournament semifinal in 2015. There are over 15,000 students representing 66 different countries. UNO has demonstrated their commitment to community engagement with over 301,000 hours of service donated to a variety of community projects. In fact, over 675 classes feature a community engagement component. Over 600 community organizations have formed partnerships with UNO in a variety of focus areas, including emergency management.
The Bachelor of Science in Emergency Management at UNO is a flexible program with online and on-campus program options. Students are prepared to work in both the private and public sectors. Core courses include:
- Preparedness Planning and Risk Mitigation
- Disaster Response and Recovery
- Emergency Management Strategies and Communications: National Incident Management System
Emergency Management students complete 30 credits of core courses before advancing to areas of concentration. Each student selects two concentrations from 16 options, including:
- Aviation Administration
- Logistics Management
- Tribal Management and Emergency Services
- Natural Disasters
- Criminology and Criminal Justice
- Information Technology and Communication
Students admitted to the University of Nebraska Omaha need strong grades to pursue the Bachelor of Science in Emergency Management. The program requires a 2.5 GPA from undergraduates and transfers prior to a declaration of major. The College of Public Affairs and Community Service issues a pre-major designation for students who have GPAs between 2.0 and 2.49 until they reach the GPA threshold.
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Post University has expanded its reach beyond Waterbury, CT since the school’s founding as Post College in 1890. They are one of the first schools in the country to offer fully online degree programs. Today, the university operates three regional campuses throughout Connecticut. Working professionals are also able to complete degrees through evening and online options. Post takes pride in offering small class sizes, individual attention and highly customized degree offerings.
The Bachelor of Science in Emergency Management and Homeland Security is completed through in-person and online courses. Every student bridges the transition from general education to major courses with a leadership class. The 33-credit core provides valuable skills through examinations of crisis management, public health emergency preparedness, and responses to weapons of mass destruction.
Upper-level electives are defined by a BS candidate’s area of concentration. Post offers three emergency management program concentrations including:
- Criminal Justice Leadership
- Cybersecurity and Information Assurance
The 12-credit Criminal Justice and Policing specializations examine the ins and outs of criminal procedure. The 15-credit Cybersecurity concentration provides lessons in enterprise risk management and network security.
Prospective students work with an admissions counselor and complete a Professional College Advisory Session (PCAS) before completing an application and securing funding.
Forest City, Iowa
Average Net Price
Waldorf University is a private liberal arts college accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Waldorf University has evolved significantly since its origins as an evangelical college in 1903. This Forest City, IA school grew from a business-focused curriculum to offer a range of liberal arts programs by the late 20th century. The university adopted its current name in 2016 to reflect the breadth of its offerings. In 2022, Waldorf was transferred to the Waldorf Lutheran College Foundation and is in the process of becoming a nonprofit institution.
The Bachelor of Applied Science in Emergency Management provides students with a broad base of knowledge that prepares them for a successful career in emergency management. The program is only available online and most students can complete their degree in four years of full-time study. Students can choose from a concentration in Fire Science or Homeland Security. Course offerings include:
- Disaster Response and Recovery
- Disaster Mitigation and Preparedness
- Terrorism in Emergency Management
- Incident Command in Emergency and Disaster Management
Elective options like American Homeland Security and Tactical Response Operations expand students’ skill sets. Upper-level students complete capstone projects that test classroom lessons against real-world situations.
Applicants to Waldorf University discover the school’s efforts to cast a wide net for students. The minimum standards for a new applicant include a high school GPA of 2.0 and an ACT score of 18, or an SAT score of 940. Waldorf University helps promising students pay for their education with scholarships like the Pillars Scholarship.
Miami Dade College
Average Net Price
Miami Dade College is an academic powerhouse that exudes vibrancy and diversity. With an astounding 167 nations and 63 languages represented among its student body, it’s not just a college; it’s a global community of learners. MDC offers over 300 degree pathways, from associate and bachelor’s degrees to certificates and apprenticeships. They ensure students have a plethora of opportunities to pursue their dreams. What started in 1960 with just 1,400 students has now burgeoned into an institution that serves over 100,000 students. The college’s alumni and employers inject over $3 billion annually into the local economy, highlighting its substantial impact on the community. Miami Dade College is not only a place of learning but a dynamic force for progress and prosperity in the region.
MDC offers their Bachelor of Applied Science in Public Safety Management at three Miami Dade campuses and in an online format. Potential emergency managers can select the program’s Emergency Management concentration. Core courses include:
- Catastrophic Event Response Management
- Emergency Planning and Security
- Public Policy in Emergency Management
- Integrated Emergency Management Planning Systems
This undergraduate degree also features specializations in Criminal Justice and Crime Scene Investigation. Miami Dade College designed this BAS for associate degree holders to complete their work in two years of full-time study.
Miami Dade College requires a GPA of at least 2.0 on previous work to gain admission to this program. The school requires applicants to hold associate degrees in relevant fields like fire science or criminal justice technology. Degree holders in other fields may be able to enter the program after consultation with the admissions office.
Pierce County, Washington
Average Net Price
Pierce College, in Puyallup, WA, is the only community college to make our list of emergency management programs. Founded in 1967, the school offers three bachelor’s programs along with dozens of associate degrees. The Bachelor of Applied Sciences in Homeland Security Emergency Management helped the school reach this rarified air.
The BAS program is geared toward associate degree students who have completed courses in emergency management and homeland security. Pierce College also considers military, law enforcement, and government experience when reviewing applications. These experiences are helpful in completing required courses like Public Information Management and Continuity Planning. BAS candidates are asked to complete two project management courses, a professional development seminar, and a senior capstone project.
Students can balance their professional schedules with coursework thanks to a 100% online format. Pierce College offers an HSET certificate focused on tribal governments that includes eight courses over nine months. BAS candidates access lectures, conferences, and other networking opportunities through the Homeland Security Emergency Management Center of Excellence, which is based in nearby Lakewood, WA.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Daytona Beach, Florida
Average Net Price
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University started as an aviation school in Ohio in 1925. Later, it expanded to include other technical programs. The school maintains campuses in Florida and Arizona, but most students earn their degrees online. Embry-Riddle has over 31,000 students. They offer more than 100 degree programs at all levels. Notable alumni include nine current or former astronauts.
The Bachelor of Science in Emergency Services is based on the National Fire Academy’s higher education curriculum. Embry-Riddle is one of the few schools in the country that carry the “Certificate of Recognition” from the Fire Emergency Services Higher Education. This signifies that the program covers all the critical areas that a modern fire department is required to perform. Students can choose from two specializations including:
- Aviation Emergency Management
- Fire and Emergency Services
The 39-credit Aviation specialization includes courses like Applications of Fire Research and Aviation Safety. Fire and Emergency Services students complete 39 credits, including Fire-related Behavior and Fire Investigation. Associate degree holders from the Community College of the Air Force may bypass some requirements for the BS program.
Emergency Services students find the resources they need to expand their career options at Embry-Riddle. The school has partnered with the Dallas/Fort Worth Fire Training Center to improve research into fire management practices. Ambitious students can combine the BS and Master of Science degrees into a five-year path through Emery-Riddle.
If you’re interested in pursuing higher education, then you should check out the Top 10 Online Bachelors in Criminal Justice Degree Programs and the 25 Best Masters in Organizational Leadership!