A Ph.D. in Emergency Management is a smart choice for several reasons—there’s a growing need for these professionals, career advancement is promising, and the pay is rewarding.
An emergency management doctoral program explores approaches to disasters from various points of view to offer practical, well-researched solutions, which are vital in the 21st century.
At the time of this writing, we are experiencing a public health emergency, the 2019-2020 Coronavirus Pandemic. We are relying on professionals in emergency management to advise us on the best ways to react to this worldwide virus. However, a health crisis is just one example of emergency management.
One glance at the Government Technology Emergency Management website, and you will see a myriad of information on “the dynamics of governing in the information age.” You may not have heard of some of these reported issues, but that’s another reason why we need professionals in the field of emergency management. They learn research methodologies and evaluate current policies regarding emergency preparedness and response.
A doctoral emergency management program is most applicable for students interested in research and policy design in the field.
See Also: Doctorate vs PhD What’s the Difference?
What is an Online Ph.D. in Emergency Management?
Emergency management is unique because it spans many disciplines, including medicine, engineering, environmental science, technology, research, and more. Ph.D.s in emergency management are typically interdisciplinary and offered by different departments; for example, our No. 4 rating is a Ph.D. in Engineering Management that focuses on natural disaster crisis and management.
In an emergency management Ph.D. program, you will learn about administration for emergency responses, whether for medical pandemics, natural disasters, infrastructure failures, or even terrorist attacks. Most of the time, the program offers concentrations that align with your interests: public safety, disaster relief, homeland security, and fire science, to name a few.
An emergency management Ph.D. is the highest degree you can get, and these programs typically range from 59 to 64 credit hours and take three to five years to complete. A doctoral program in emergency management consists of graduate coursework, dissertation research, and the dissertation defense.
Careers for Emergency Management Ph.D. Majors
Online emergency management doctoral programs prepare students for emergency leadership positions in their field, and these careers can be in any discipline.
The most common career is an Emergency Management Director or Specialist. These professionals will plan and create procedures for potential emergencies. Some examples are natural disasters, hostage situations, and technological emergencies. They also lead the response during and after emergencies, often working with public safety officials, government agencies, and other organizations.
Emergency manager directors who work for hospitals, universities, or private businesses are often called business continuity managers. A homeland security officer is an emergency management specialist who works to protect the United States’ infrastructure against natural disasters or terrorist attacks.
Common employers of emergency management directors are:
- Government agencies
- Private companies
- Nonprofit agencies
- Universities, colleges, and professional schools
- Scientific research and development services
As you can see, there are many options for professionals with emergency management doctoral degrees. With this degree, you have the opportunity to hone in on your specific interests when it comes to a career.
Ph.D. in Emergency Management Salary Potential
Since a Ph.D. is a terminal degree, you can expect to make a good salary working in your chosen career. As with all professions, your salary will depend on the type of job, the geographical location, and your past work experience. With that said, here are the median yearly salaries for someone working in the emergency management field, according to BLS.gov:
- Local government: $74,260
- State government: $65,990
- Federal government: $153,650
- General medical and surgical hospitals: $90,440
- Colleges, universities, and professional schools: $99,140
- Management of companies and enterprises: $118,410
- Community food and housing, and emergency and other relief services: $83,170
- Electric power generation, transmission and distribution: $116,230
The highest ten percent in all categories earned more than $141,130 per year. As you can see, depending on what you do and where you work, you can make a fulfilling salary as an emergency management professional.
What Are the Best Ph.Ds. in Emergency Management Degrees?
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Oklahoma State University
Average Net Price
Can a university be nationally ranked as a “happy college?” Yes! Oklahoma State University, a public-grant research university in Stillwater, Oklahoma, has been ranked 10th in the Happiest Colleges In America by CareerBliss.com more than once.
From all 50 states and more than 100 countries, nearly 25,000 OSU students comprise the population. OSU offers 200 undergraduate majors, 79 master’s programs, and 45 doctoral programs.
One of the oldest and most prestigious programs in the nation, OSU’s Ph.D. in Fire and Emergency Management prepares leaders in fire and emergency medical services, homeland security occupations, educators, and research scholars. Students can either pursue a fire service administration or an emergency management track. Applicants to this program need a master’s degree (preferably in the emergency field services field) with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and GRE scores that are no older than five years.
Students pursuing this academic program must complete 12 hours of common core courses, 12 hours of research courses, three hours from an International core, nine hours of elective courses, and 15 hours of dissertation research.
Nine additional credit hours are required in the track the student chooses. While most of the courses are presented in the virtual classroom where both on-site and online students participate simultaneously, students are required to complete a minimum of the nine-track hours on campus.
University of Maryland-Baltimore County
Average Net Price
Here’s a cool fact about our # 2 ranking: Sergey Brin, the co-founder and president of technology at Google, earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of Maryland in 1993.
The University of Maryland in Baltimore is the state’s only public health, law, and human services university, enrolling over 6,700 students. UMB consists of six nationally ranked schools and offers 62 doctoral, master’s, and bachelor’s programs. The campus spans over 71 acres in 62 buildings in downtown Baltimore.
UMBC’s Ph.D. in Public Policy with a concentration in Emergency Services allows you to choose one of two pathways: Emergency Health or Emergency Management. This program is for emergency service professionals who want to further their education as health care providers, administrators, researchers, or educators. You will take 48 credit hours of coursework in public policy, emergency health, and research. You will then complete 18 credit hours of doctoral dissertation research.
This program is specifically for students without a relevant master’s degree. If you have a master’s in emergency health services, you will have fewer course requirements. UMBC admits students both full and part-time students. If you are interested in applying for this program, submit your academic records, GRE scores, recommendations, and statement of goals.
Jacksonville State University
Average Net Price
Jacksonville State University knows how stressful the question, “What’s next?” can be for some students. While some know exactly what they want to do with their lives, others don’t. That’s why JSU helps you every step of the way in making academic and career decisions.
Located in the Appalachian foothills in Jacksonville, Alabama, JSU helps more than 7,700 students answer the question, “What’s next?” with 95 academic programs, Division I sports, and clubs and organizations.
The Ph.D. in Emergency Management at JSU requires 60 credit hours, which includes 42 hours in administration and policy, research methods and statistics, and 18 hours of dissertation research. The courses in this program are delivered online, but students are required to attend a week-long conference on JSU’s campus once each year. After the 42 hours of courses, doctoral students must pass three qualifying exams before they pursue their dissertation research.
If you want to pursue this degree, you need a master’s degree, all academic transcripts (unless you earned a degree from JSU), GRE scores, a statement of purpose, a curriculum vitae, and three reference letters. JSU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
New Jersey City University
Jersey City, New Jersey
Average Net Price
“Enter to Learn, Exit to Serve,” is New Jersey City University’s motto, and this academic institution in Jersey City, New Jersey, lives up to its words. Just minutes from New York City, NJCU is one of the most diverse universities in the nation, offering 47 undergraduate programs and 30 master’s programs to its nearly 8,000 vibrant students.
NJCU offers a variation of a Ph.D. in emergency management, and a Doctor of Science in Civil Security – Leadership, Management, and Policy. This D.Sc. is unique in that it is one of the first of its kind to be offered anywhere in the world. The three-year program immerses students in the civil security field, focusing on three areas: national, corporate, and information assurance/cybersecurity.
The D.Sc. degree entails 48 credit hours; 30 are core courses, and 18 are applied research for the dissertation. Graduates of this doctoral program will be qualified to work in executive-level security positions in government, business, or education.
Applicants must hold a master’s degree and have at least four years of experience in security in national, corporate, or information assurance/cybersecurity. Read here about graduate profiles from this program.
George Washington University
Washington, D.C., United States
Average Net Price
GWU has more than 26,000 undergraduate and graduate students who come from all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and 130 countries. GWU not only provides top-notch academics, but they ensure that each student experiences hands-on learning with more than 12,000 internship opportunities. GWU alumni include space explorers, actors and actresses, Olympic gold medalists, U.S. ambassadors, and more.
GWU offers a Ph.D. in engineering management that focuses on natural disaster logistics, crisis, emergency, and risk management, among other topics. According to GWU’s website, this degree is for “the technical manager who seeks to pursue advanced education and research methods to keep an organization operating efficiently and working ahead of its competitors.”
Students with an MS degree must take 54 credit hours in this program, and those with a BS degree must take at least 78 credit hours. The curriculum consists of coursework and at least 24 credit hours of dissertation research. Doctoral students will take four exams during the course of this program: the preliminary/qualifying exam, the written exam, the focus area exam, and the final examination/doctoral defense.
If you’re interested in pursuing higher education, then you should check out 20 Best Ph.D’s. in Healthcare Administration Online and 20 Best Online Ph.D’s. in Nursing!