Online Master's Degree in Disaster and Emergency Management

Review the typical coursework for an online master's degree program related to disaster and emergency management. Find out how these online programs work and read about on-campus practical components you'll likely need to complete as well. Review your job options in the emergency management field and check the salary potential. Schools offering Criminal Justice degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Can I Earn a Master's Degree in Disaster and Emergency Management Online?

Online master's degrees related to emergency management are widely available in fully online and combined online and on-campus formats. In online courses, you interact with your instructors and other students through virtual discussion groups and chat sessions. Your assignments and lectures are accessed through online learning portals; you may be required to login at specific times to watch live lectures. In online master's programs, you can order textbooks, perform research, and access college libraries via the Internet.

Distance Learning OpportunitiesOnline master's programs are widely available
Common CourseworkDisaster evaluation, public policy, leadership, emergency preparedness, disaster response theories
CertificationCEM credential offered by the IAEM available to those with a bachelor's degree and 3 years of work experience
Median Salary (2018)$74,420 (Emergency Management Directors)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)8% growth (Emergency Management Directors)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Courses Help Me Earn This Degree?

Courses in disaster and emergency management master's programs prepare you to evaluate disasters, anticipate hazards, and develop disaster-related public policies. You could learn about methods for working with people exposed to disastrous events, the media's impact on disaster situations, and the organizational challenges that occur during a disaster. Other courses cover emergency preparedness, leadership methods in emergency management, and disaster response theories.

Most programs require you to engage in a practicum where you can apply your skills and knowledge to field experiences at emergency response organizations. You may work on improving existing emergency preparedness policies or create new programs using techniques learned during your educational experience. Some schools may also require a comprehensive exam to test your understanding of core coursework.

What Can I Do With This Degree?

Careers in this field can be found at public health agencies, government agencies, or private firms. As an emergency management director, you can prepare communities for disaster response and work with private individuals and emergency response teams. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for emergency management directors was $74,420 in May 2018 (

You can also become a Certified Emergency Manager (CEM), which may help develop your career prospects. The certification is available through exams administered by the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM). Certification is open to emergency managers with at least three years of experience and a bachelor's degree (

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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