Studying for an emergency management master’s degree will give you the skills to help communities ravaged by a natural or human-made disaster.
Although there are emergency response teams that provide public safety during disasters, when a huge disaster strikes, it is up to emergency managers to keep government officials and response teams working as a unit for public health.
Emergency management is the discipline of mitigating risks, particularly those that have catastrophic consequences on whole communities, regions, or the entire United States. Emergency managers tend to deal with wildfires, earthquakes, tornados, floods, terrorism, and more.
Why Get an Emergency Management Master’s Degree?
In short, emergency management is a career where you get paid well to help vast numbers of people. If managing different disaster relief teams, building expertise in matters of homeland security, and working with government organizations to help others in moments of crisis sounds worthwhile, then an emergency management master’s is for you.
It is a fast-paced and varied career. With a degree in emergency management, you can find work in myriad fields, including academia, government, law enforcement, and business.
In a master’s program, you will learn how to prevent crises, how to manage resources during crises, and how to help communities recover from a crisis. An ideal job for resilient individuals who would like to create order out of chaos, emergency management will make you feel like a superhero.
Top Emergency Management Careers and Salaries
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for an Emergency Management Director is $74,590. Below is a look at some top career options in Emergency Management and the salary for each one.
Homeland Security Officer
These officers often work within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), with jobs available across the United States. Homeland security roles include mission support specialists, Secret Service agents, and intelligence operations specialists.
The career typically includes data management, analyzing patterns in historical data to predict where issues may occur in the future. Homeland security officers prevent threats before they occur and secure vulnerable areas and people.
As the demand for homeland security professionals rises, so does the availability online homeland security degree programs. The median salary at DHS is $74,682, though some jobs at DHS pay out upwards of $100,000 per year.
A security analyst does not only collect data on possible risks but also helps organizations with security threats. The job entails monitoring political developments, identifying cybersecurity threats, and analyzing public health issues.
Jobs for security analysts are projected to grow by 32 percent in the next eight years, and the median annual salary is around $68,000.
Program Manager for Response and Recovery
Program managers deal with internal emergencies in a variety of workplaces. They work alongside emergency response professionals to develop plans for an emergency, implement these plans when an emergency happens, and coordinate restoration efforts after the fact.
Program managers typically work in hospitals, healthcare facilities, and local government, dealing with a variety of emergencies. They also work for nonprofit entities like the Red Cross, as well as private companies of all kinds, so you’ll have plenty of career options.
Similar to becoming a project manager, becoming a program manager puts you in high demand. The salary will vary depending on the role, but the average is around $72,079.
Master’s in Emergency Management: A Breakdown of the Degree
Earning an emergency management master’s degree will kickstart your career helping others during challenging events. Students can study either on-campus or through an online master’s in emergency management. Below is everything you need to know about how long it takes, prerequisites, the curriculum, and more when it comes to earning your emergency management master’s degree.
How Long Does It Take to Learn Emergency Management?
The length of an emergency management master’s program depends on where you study, but typically the program can be completed in one to two years. If you plan on being a full-time student, you can finish a 33-credit hour program in one year or less.
Like most areas of work, you will have to continue to keep up to date with procedures even after you graduate. In the event of large-scale catastrophes, you will need to have the latest training and management techniques for keeping people safe at your beck and call.
What Prerequisites Do I Need for This Master’s?
You will need a bachelor’s degree to apply for an emergency management master’s degree program. Some programs will want you to have a good grade point average (GPA), while others will just look at your transcript to make sure you have taken the right prerequisites.
The Northeastern University program, for example, is open to students with any professional or undergraduate background, provided they have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university.
Other colleges only accept candidates who have worked in emergency management, homeland security, law enforcement, or risk management. Also keep in mind that some programs require you to take the GRE or GMAT.
What Is in the Emergency Management Master’s Curriculum?
The curriculum depends on which master’s program you choose. The main aims are always to prepare students for mitigating disasters, managing emergencies, planning responses, and assessing risks. Here is an example of a typical emergency management program.
- Risk Assessment
- Private Sector Issues in Security and Preparedness
- Public Health Preparedness
- Government, Industry, and Community Strategic Planning
- Emergency Management: Response Planning and Incident Command
- Institutional Challenges of Security Preparedness
- Intelligence and Counterintelligence
- Law Enforcement Policy and Judicial Precedent
- Research Methods in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness
- Cyber Security
- Survey of Terrorism
Master’s in Emergency Management Tuition
A common name for the degree is a Master of Science in Emergency and Disaster Management. But there are many exceptions to this, depending on where you are studying. Some colleges focus on homeland security or disaster preparedness.
Tuition rates start at about $292 per credit hour. The total tuition for an emergency management master’s typically does not exceed $22,000.
Can I Get a Master’s in Emergency Management Online?
You can definitely earn your master’s in emergency management online, either fully, partly, or in combination with a community residency component. A great option is to take hybrid programs that require some on-campus classes and online study.
There are plenty of options for students to choose from. Check out the master’s degree programs below to find the perfect one for you and your career goals.
What Are the Four Phases of Emergency Management?
Emergency management involves mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. These four phases guide emergency managers as they work to handle threats to the population.
- Mitigation. This first stage of the process involves taking precautions to minimize the damage of potential threats.
- Preparedness. This consists of putting an actionable plan together for when disasters do occur. Being prepared for a disaster is the best way to quicken response time and effectiveness.
- Response. When the crisis begins, it is time to respond to the incident. The response phase involves the deployment of emergency equipment and services and getting people out of danger quickly.
- Recovery. The last step is to help the affected area recover from the disaster. Recovery is about returning the infrastructure and economy of a particular place back to its original working order.
The Best Emergency Management Master’s Programs
There is a range of master’s programs for those ready to become emergency management professionals. We have compiled a list of the best in-person, online, and budget master’s degrees.
In-Person Emergency Management Master’s Degree
Here are the top university programs that offer a master’s in emergency management, any of which will provide you with expert knowledge. Keep in mind, however, that they require higher tuition fees, so check the sections further down for more affordable options.
- Program: Emergency Management – Boston
- Time: 6 – 12 months
- Prerequisites: Professional resume or transcript from an accredited associate’s or bachelor’s program in the United States.
- Cost: $15,900
Northeastern’s program trains students in real-world scenarios using the National Incident Management System and National Response System frameworks. Students will learn to apply the responsibilities in all government, community, and business organizations.
The program includes current threats, both human-made and natural, and teaches all the principles of handling these threats. You can also transfer the certificate course credits to the Master of Arts in Homeland Security.
Arkansas Tech University
- Program: Emergency Management and Homeland Security – Russellville Campus
- Time: 36 semester hours
- Prerequisites: A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0
- Cost: In-state $292 per credit hour, out of state $584 per credit hour
The Arkansas Tech University Master of Science degree program reflects the latest research and applications in Emergency Management and Homeland Security (EMHS). The program provides students the opportunity to study emerging technology, as well as the social, political, legal, ethical, and leadership aspects of emergency management.
EMHS students may complete the program online, on-campus, or do a hybrid option. The schedule is flexible so that students can study alongside their other responsibilities.
Online Emergency Management Master’s Degree
Here are some great master’s options for those looking to study online. These are fantastic for anyone searching for a broad range of information on emergency and disaster management or homeland security.
Arizona State University
- Program: MA in Emergency Management & Homeland Security
- Time: 8 weeks
- Prerequisites: At least a bachelor’s in public safety, social work, criminal justice, public administration, public service, sociology, fire service management, or a related field, from a regionally accredited institution.
- Cost: Roughly $11,782 per year (financial aid available)
Through collaboration between faculty, students, and the practitioner community, ASU Online offers an excellent program that addresses all possible emergency management challenges.
Students can choose to concentrate on bio-security and threat management; community resilience; emergency management; cybersecurity policy and management; or homeland security.
Saint Leo University
- Program: Master’s Degree in Emergency and Disaster Management
- Time: 36 credit hours
- Prerequisites: none
- Cost: $610 per credit hour
The College of Education & Social Services’ online MS in emergency and disaster management provides the necessary theory and practical skills for identifying and minimizing threats, and for executing restoration best practices. It focuses on public and private sectors, non-governmental organizations, and the military.
American Public University System
- Programs: MA in Emergency and Disaster Management or Dual MA in Emergency and Disaster Management and Homeland Security
- Time: 35 or 60 Semester Hours
- Prerequisites: Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information
- Cost: $370 per credit hour (or $250 for active-duty military students)
American Public University offers a master’s or a dual master’s degree in emergency management. The online dual master’s degree offers an understanding of how to respond to disasters like fires, floods, and earthquakes, and provides a secure environment for sharing information during critical incidents.
The solo master’s degree program exposes you to technical, natural, and human-created public emergencies.
Cheaper Online Emergency Management Master’s Degree
Here are some slightly cheaper options for an online emergency management master’s. Both programs on this list are accredited, and each one features an exciting curriculum in emergency management.
Arkansas State University
- Program: MS In Disaster Preparedness & Emergency Management
- Time: As little as 12 months
- Prerequisites: A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
- Cost: $11,412 ($317 per credit hour)
This Master of Science in Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (DPEM) is fully online. It prepares you for a career supporting large and small communities. Learn to prevent, mitigate, and oversee weather emergencies and other natural disasters.
University of Central Florida
- Program: Master of Emergency Management and Crisis (MECM)
- Time: 36 Credit Hours
- Prerequisites: Students must achieve 80 percent or higher in emergency and crisis concentration courses, and a GPA of at least 3.0
- Cost: $369.65 per credit hour (financial aid available)
The Master of Emergency Management and Crisis (MECM) prepares students for the emergency management field as a whole.
Students will learn about hazard mitigation, disaster response, recovery, emergency preparedness and planning, intergovernmental administration, fiscal management, legal and ethical decision-making, cultural competency and diversity, and much more.
Should You Earn An Emergency Management Master’s Degree?
You should do an emergency management master’s degree if you wish to help a community in need after a calamity strikes. Emergency managers may not wear capes, but their efforts to help restore public safety seem worthy of one.
For those who have a bachelor’s degree in emergency management or are new to the subject but have studied a similar topic, there are plenty of options to get your master’s.
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