The World Health Organization estimates that 160 million people are impacted by natural disasters each year. These disasters are compounded by thousands of terrorist attacks, accidents, and other incidents around the world. From first responders to agency administrators, the emergency management field provides daily opportunities to prepare and respond to disasters. The best bachelor’s degrees in emergency management balance the preparation, executive, and recovery aspects of the discipline.
How Do I Apply for a Bachelor’s in Emergency Management?
Undergraduate institutions on our top 10 list emphasize affordability and accessibility through their emergency management programs. A few programs require completion of an associate degree in a relevant field, but a majority of the schools are simply looking for students of all ages 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. Prospective students need not restrict their school options by geography, as several online degrees are among the nation’s best programs. A combination of online degree options and scholarships reduce the barriers to entry to emergency management programs.
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 health care professionals to shift toward relief and response jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the value of this degree with its study of emergency management director jobs. Directors earned an average of $74,420 in May 2018, far exceeding the $38,640 average salary for occupations studied by the BLS. The estimated job growth for this profession between 2018 and 2028 is 5%, due to the consistent need for experienced leaders. Graduates of emergency management programs 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 government, nonprofit, corporate, and community organizations.
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40% Potential salary after graduation
30% Individual program accreditation
30% Overall affordability
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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 combines a diverse student body with an affordable education. The freshman class of 2018 included 21% Native American students, students from five countries, and an average age of 26 years. Forbes placed the university at No. 185 among America’s Best Value Colleges 2019 and at No. 211 in its ranking of Public Colleges.
The School of Management offers a Bachelor of Science in Emergency Management with six concentrations. BS candidates prepare for public service careers with specializations like Fire Administration, Cybersecurity, and Homeland Security. The Emergency Management program blends nine core courses with electives such as Geological Hazards and International Security. The University of Alaska Fairbanks also offers state-focused courses like Human Security in Alaska in its curriculum.
Students can complete this degree at the Fairbanks campus or online to fit their schedules. The School of Management reviews applicants for military, government, and health care experience that can offset program requirements. 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
The University of Central Florida fared well in Niche’s 2020 grades, including a No. 63 rank among Top Public Universities and a No. 46 placement among the Best College Campuses. The school’s Orlando, FL campus provides abundant sunshine and career opportunities for students. UCF also touts affordable tuition, with a per-credit rate of $212.28 during the 2019-2020 school year.
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 provides foundational knowledge through core courses like Intergovernmental Administration and Hazard Mitigation. Every student is required to complete a public administration internship approved by the College of Community Innovation and Education.
Students can pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Emergency Management, which adds a foreign language requirement to the BS option. BS candidates complete two additional electives, instead of foreign language courses. Both BA and BS students may complete an approved minor in topics such as Terrorism Studies, Mass Communication, or Nonprofit Management to round out their education.
Jacksonville State University
Average Net Price
Jacksonville State University has developed a strong reputation since opening in 1883. Originally a teacher’s college, the school has expanded its degree programs to include a Bachelor of Science in Emergency Management. U.S. News & World Report gave this Jacksonville, AL-based university a No. 72 place among Regional Universities South and a No. 29 ranking among the Top Public Schools for 2019-2020.
The BS 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. 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.
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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. Since 1873, the school has established a reputation confirmed by its No. 20 rank among Regional Universities Midwest from U.S. News & World Report.
Best Value Schools named the school’s Bachelor of Science in Emergency Management among its Best Online Colleges for Homeland Security 2018. The university makes this program accessible to working students with evening and online courses. The Missouri Emergency Management Association collaborates with Drury University to provide a $500 award to a promising student per semester.
The BS program uses a 39-credit core to provide students with the full range of skills for emergency management careers. 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.
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, and Niche’s 2020 grades also showed the appeal of the school with a No. 165 rank among the Best College Locations in America and a No. 211 in Top Public Universities in America.
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.
Emergency Management students complete 30 credits of core requirements before advancing to areas of concentration. Core courses explore subjects ranging from agency collaboration during disasters to political and legal foundations. Each student selects two concentrations from 16 options, including Aviation Administration, Logistics Management, and Tribal Management and Emergency Services.
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Post University has expanded its reach beyond Waterbury, CT since the school’s founding as Post College in 1890. Today, the university operates three regional campuses throughout Connecticut. Working professionals are also able to complete degrees through evening and online options. U.S. News & World Report highlighted the school’s reputation in New England with a No. 129 in Regional Universities North for 2019-2020.
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 decision making, 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 Criminal Justice Leadership, Cybersecurity, and Policing specializations. 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.
Forest City, Iowa
Average Net Price
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. U.S. News & World Report placed Waldorf University at No. 117 among Regional Universities Midwest, showing the school’s growth from its humble origins.
The Bachelor of Applied Science in Emergency Management includes concentrations in Fire Science and Homeland Security. Major requirements for this degree include courses in interagency disaster management and community risk reduction. 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
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Miami Dade College is one of Florida’s largest universities, thanks to a strong presence in southern Florida. The school has expanded to 29 campuses and learning centers near its main campus in Miami since 1959. Niche ranked Miami Dade College at No. 71 among the Best College Locations in America, thanks to its warm weather and proximity to the Atlantic Ocean.
The Bachelor of Applied Science in Public Safety Management is available at eight Miami Dade campuses. Potential emergency managers can select the program’s Emergency Management concentration. This undergraduate degree also features specializations in Criminal Justice, Crime Scene Investigation, and Security and Loss Prevention. 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. Pierce College placed No. 311 among the Best Community Colleges in America, based on Niche’s 2020 grades. 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 before expanding to other technical programs. The school maintains campuses in Florida and Arizona, though most students complete their degrees online. Programs like the Bachelor of Science in Emergency Services helped Embry-Riddle reach No. 189 among the Top Public Universities in America, in rankings by Niche.
BS candidates are required to select between Aviation Emergency Management and Fire and Emergency Services concentrations. 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. The BS curriculum satisfies the requirements for the National Fire Academy certificate. 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!