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Students who choose to enroll in online degrees in emergency management often do so because they need the convenience of a flexible schedule and the ability to study when it is most convenient. Emergency management degrees online offer students who need to continue to work while attending school the opportunity to do so without cutting back their hours or giving up overtime that may be offered. Being able to work while earning a degree will make it possible for students to remain committed to their obligations and still get the education they need.

Enrolling in an online degree program offers students who are pursuing a Bachelor’s in Emergency Management an opportunity to get the same quality education as those students who are more comfortable in a classroom setting. Some students require a more relaxed learning environment and will thrive when allowed the choice to take their courses online. They are able to focus better and can work at their own pace, providing them with an opportunity to better understand each lesson.

Methodology: Ranking the Best Online Emergency Management Degrees

To rank the best online emergency management bachelor’s programs, Bachelor’s Degree Center editors focused their research on accredited, legitimate colleges and universities offering hybrid and fully online bachelor’s and bachelor’s completion programs. From the initial pool, programs were ranked according to cost, graduate salary, and reputation.

1. Saint Louis University

Saint Louis University offers a BS in Emergency Management that is one of the best online emergency management degrees. This degree program prepares students for careers in disaster communications, risk management law enforcement, training, firefighting, or search & rescue, among others. Coursework for Saint Louis’ undergraduate degree in emergency management includes emergency management in practice, resilience, recovery & contingency, threat & risk assessment, healthcare coordination in high impact disasters, and an emergency management capstone, to name a few.

Saint Louis University was founded in 1818 as a private Jesuit academy. The university operates two campuses – one in Saint Louis and another in Madrid. More than 12,400 students attend classes offered by Saint Louis University.

What We Like: Saint Louis University boasts a student to faculty ratio of 9 to 1.

Degree: Emergency Management, BS

2. Mercer University

Mercer University offers a BS in Homeland Security and Emergency Management that can be completed entirely online. Mercer University’s best online emergency management degrees offer students five start dates each year and a generous transfer credit policy. Classes for Mercer’s undergraduate emergency management degree program includes the effects of disaster on society, forensic behavior, foundations of leadership, and budgeting for nonfinancial leaders, plus an academic field experience, to name a few. The total semester credits for this program is 120 semester credits.

Mercer University was established in 1833 as the Mercer Institute. The university’s campuses in Macon, Atlanta, Savannah, and online – serve more than 8,600 students.

What We Like: Mercer University holds the distinction of being the oldest of all private higher learning institutions in the state of Georgia.

Degree: Homeland Security and Emergency Management, BS

3. Colorado State University

Colorado State University offers a BS in Fire and Emergency Management that is available 100% online. Colorado State University’s best online emergency management degrees require degree candidates to complete 120 semester credits, which can be finished in about 24 months. This online emergency management degree from Colorado State is recognized among the best online baccalaureate degree programs in the country by US News. Students have the opportunity to select a minor from agriculture, economics, anthropology, sociology, media studies, business administration, and environmental sustainability.

Colorado State University (Colorado State) was established under the Morrill Act in 1870. Colorado State’s campus in Fort Collins is home to more than 33,100 students vying for degrees offered by Colorado State’s eight colleges/schools.

What We Like: Alumni with Colorado State University include governors, astronauts, and chief executive officers, among others.

Degree: Fire and Emergency Service Administration, BS

4. Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University Colangelo College of Business offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Homeland Security & Emergency Management that is available entirely online. Grand Canyon University’s best online emergency management degrees require students to complete 120 semester credits in seven week courses. Students graduate from Grand Canyon’s baccalaureate degree in emergency management to find rewarding work as security managers, emergency management directors, recovery specialists, emergency planners, and police supervisors, to name a few.

Grand Canyon University is a Christian higher learning institution that was founded in 1949 by Arizona Southern Baptists. This for-profit university has a student enrollment of more than 100,000, with more than 90,000 studying online.

What We Like: Grand Canyon University offers various degrees in technology, engineering theology, healthcare, nursing, fine arts, education, business, nursing, and social sciences.

Degree: Homeland Security and Emergency Management, BS

5. Barry University

Barry University offers a BS in Homeland Security and Emergency Management that is considered among the best online emergency management degrees available in the marketplace. This 120-semester credit emergency management degree allows for up to 90 eligible credits to be transferred. Students must complete 30 credit units from the emergency management curriculum in classes like business continuity crisis management, psychosocial issues of disaster preparedness and recovery, international disaster management, hazard mitigation, and overview of disaster & complex emergencies, among others.

Barry University was established as a Dominican Roman Catholic higher learning institution that was founded in 1940. Barry University operates three campuses, the main campus in Miami Shores, Orlando, and Tallahassee. Barry serves more than 8,700 students.

What We Like: Barry University was originally an all-women’s school founded by the Barry siblings.

Degree: Emergency Management, BS

6. Franklin University

Franklin University offers a baccalaureate degree in Homeland Security and Emergency Management that offers degree candidates two academic tracks. These options include Homeland Security or Emergency Management & Disaster Response. Franklin University’s best online emergency management degrees require students to complete 120 semester credits to graduate. Students graduating from Franklin’s baccalaureate degree in emergency management enter the workforce as casino security officers, business continuity managers, corporate security directors, homeland security specialists, and surveillance specialists, among others. The convenience of Franklin’s degree program allows working learners the opportunity to complete the degree in less than four years.

Franklin University was established as a commerce school in a YMCA in 1902. Franklin University was developed to serve working learners and adult students in the Columbus area.

What We Like: Franklin University operates several campuses in Wisconsin, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Illinois, in addition to Ohio.

Degree: Emergency Management and Homeland Security, BS

7. Western Carolina University

Western Carolina University offers a BS in Homeland Security and Emergency Management that is available 100% online. Students enrolled in Western Carolina University’s best online emergency management degrees are required to complete 120 credit units to meet program requirements. Coursework for Western Carolina University’s baccalaureate degree in emergency management & homeland security includes social dimensions of a disaster, EMC systems management, disaster response operations, emergency planning, methods of disaster research, plus methods of research project, to name a few.

Western Carolina University (WGU) is a member of the UNC system that was founded in 1905. The university’s valley campus in rural North Carolina is home to more than 12,000 students.

What We Like: Western Carolina University holds the distinction of being the first teacher’s school that was run using public funds in the state.

Degree: Emergency and Disaster Management, BS

8. Jacksonville State University

Jacksonville State University School of Human Services & Social Sciences offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Emergency Management that is one of the state’s best online emergency management degrees. Jacksonville State University’s undergraduate degree in emergency management requires the completion of 120 semester credits. Mandated classes include disaster mitigation & preparedness, introduction to disaster management, populations at risk, research in emergency management, and an emergency management capstone course. This Jacksonville State University, emergency management degree, offers degree candidates a public safety telecommunications minor.

Jacksonville State University (JSU) was established in 1883 as a normal school. JSU’s 400+ acre suburban campus in Jacksonville is home to more than 8,900 students vying for degrees offered by JSU’s six colleges/schools.

What We Like: Jacksonville State University is the flagship campus of the state system and is located at the Appalachian foothills.

Degree: Emergency Management, BS

9. Upper Iowa University

Upper Iowa University offers a BA Emergency and Disaster Management that can be completed entirely online. In addition, UIU’s best online emergency management degrees are also available in locations in Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Wisconsin. Upper Iowa University boasts a student to faculty ratio of 13 to 1.

Upper Iowa University was established in 1857 and initially affiliated with the Methodist Church. The university’s student enrollment exceeds 6,000 students, of which more than 5,000 students study online or in one of the school’s fifteen academic centers around the globe.

What We Like: During World War I, the gymnasium at Upper Iowa University was converted to a barracks, with athletic facilities used for military drills.

Degree: Emergency and Disaster Management, BA

10. Drury University

Drury University offers a BS in Emergency Management that is considered among the state’s best online emergency management degrees. Drury’s baccalaureate degree in emergency management requires candidates to complete 124 semester credits to meet program requirements. Core requirements for the emergency management major include classes in hazard mitigation, financial basics for leaders, hazard identification, social aspects of disaster, and grant writing, plus an internship in emergency management, to name a few. Students can enter Drury University’s degree program five times each year.

Drury University was established in 1873. The university’s urban campus in Springfield covers more than 75 acres and serves more than 1,600 students. Drury University often nears the top of US News’ list of great schools for a great price.

What We Like: Drury University’s first class included four women students.

Degree: Emergency Management, BS

11. Kansas Wesleyan University

Kansas Wesleyan University offers a BA in Emergency Management that is recognized as one of the state’s best online emergency management degrees. This emergency management baccalaureate degree from Kansas Wesleyan University is the only program of its kind in the state, with two minor options in criminal justice or unmanned aircraft systems. Students graduate from KSU’s emergency degree program to find rewarding careers in businesses, hospitals, colleges, the federal government, the Red Cross, or public schools, to name a few. Kansas Wesleyan University was selected to host FEMA’s Multi-Hazard Planning for Emergencies coursework.

Kansas Wesleyan University was established as a higher learning institution in 1886. Kansas Wesleyan University remains affiliated with the United Method Church. Kansas Wesleyan University’s campus in Salina is home to more than 700 students.

What We Like: Kansas Wesleyan University boasts an impressive student to faculty ratio of 11 to 1.

Degree: Emergency Management, BA

12. Waldorf University

Waldorf University offers a BA in Emergency Management that can be completed 100% online. Waldorf University’s best online emergency management degrees require degree candidates to complete 120 semester credits, with a ‘C’ or better in all work. Classes for this baccalaureate degree program includes an intro to emergency management, special operations, interagency disaster management, social-psychological nature of emergency management, terrorism response operations, weapons of mass destruction, and community risk reduction for emergency & fire services, plus an emergency management capstone program, to name a few.

Waldorf University was established in 1903 as an independent university but was sold as a for-profit school to Columbia Southern University. The university’s campus in Forest City is home to more than 4,300 students.

What We Like: Waldorf began as a school to train pastors, plus business students and education specialists.

Degree: Emergency Management, BA

13. Crown College

Crown College offers a BS in Disaster and Emergency Management that is available 100% online. These best online emergency management degrees from Crown College offer students the option of accelerating their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in emergency management. Degree candidates enrolled in Crown’s baccalaureate degree in emergency management requires the completion of 125 semester credits. Classes for this degree include management principles, crisis and risk communication, disaster response and recovery, emergency preparedness and planning, statistical concepts, and social science research methods, among others.

Crown College was established in 1916. This Christian institution of higher education is located on Lake Parley, with a student enrollment that exceeds 1,200 students. The online platform of Crown College offers more than 20 academic degrees.

What We Like: Crown College is home to a professional disc golf course.

Degree: Disaster and Emergency Management, BS

14. New England College

New England College offers a BA in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness that is considered among the state’s best online emergency management degrees. Students enrolled in New England College’s bachelor’s degree in emergency management must complete classes in crisis communication, introduction to homeland security planning, cyber-crime, and warfare, emergency planning & response, and research methods, plus a senior thesis, to name a few. NEC is a member of the Yellow Ribbon program and is designated as a military-friendly higher learning institution.

New England College (NEC)was established in 1946 as a for-profit higher learning institution. The university’s rural campus in Henniker serves more than 2,600 students. NEC was originally chartered to serve men and women returning home from World War II.

What We Like: NEC’s campus runs adjacent to Contoocook River and is about an hour and one-half from downtown Boston.

Degree: Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, BA

15. Immaculata University

Immaculata University offers a BS in Emergency Planning and Management that one of the only degrees and one of the commonwealth’s best online emergency management degrees. This undergraduate degree from Immaculata can be completed entirely online. Classes for this degree program include risk analysis & threat evaluation, principles of emergency management, legal aspects of emergency management, human dimension communication in disaster management, plus a capstone project, to name a few. Students graduate from Immaculata University’s degree program to find rewarding careers in the areas of homeland security, hospital security, special agencies, border patrol, private security, and government agencies, to name a few.

Immaculata University was established in 1920 as Villa Maria College for women. This Roman Catholic institution of higher learning is home to more than 1,400 students. The school’s campus in Immaculata covers more than 200 small-town acres.

What We Like: Immaculata was intended to serve women in the City of Brotherly Love.

Degree: Emergency Planning and management, BS

Why Should I Get My Emergency Management Degree Online?

An online degree in emergency management also offers students who may not live near the school of their choice an opportunity to attend albeit from a distance. The online learning format makes it possible for students to complete their homework and turn in assignments from almost any location where they can find a solid internet connection. The online format also allows students who are trying to earn their Bachelor’s degree in Emergency Management an opportunity to volunteer at organizations like the Salvation Army where they can put the lessons they are learning into action.

What Can I Do With a Bachelor’s in Emergency Management?

Jobs in emergency and disaster management can be found in every level of government, as well as in the private sector. State and federal emergency management agencies hire individuals who work with communities to create disaster action and recovery plans so that communities are prepared prior to a disaster occurring. Emergency management jobs on the city and state levels can include fire marshals, crime scene investigators, and emergency management teams that work to organize community resources in case of an emergency.

Non-profit organizations like the Salvation Army are always looking forward to hiring graduates who have completed accredited degree programs, either online or in a classroom setting. These organizations play an integral role in large-scale disasters like hurricanes and tornadoes. They have team members who set up shelters, distribute food to individuals who may not be able to leave their homes, and assist with the evacuation process if it has been put into effect. Non-profit organizations hire graduates who show promise in terms of organizing resources, distributing supplies, and assisting in the recovery efforts of the community.

Emergency management service jobs are very rewarding and allow graduates an opportunity to work with community leaders as well as the public at large. Individuals with an emergency management degree are capable of working with groups like FEMA and Homeland Security. They are able to assume many of the responsibilities associated with creating a safe and secure environment, as well as distributing supplies, and working out the logistics of moving both supplies and people to areas where they are needed the most.

What Does an Emergency Manager Do?

An emergency manager has many responsibilities. First and foremost, they must be able to evaluate and assess what is needed in terms of an emergency response. Is there a need to evacuate the area? Has the threat passed? Are people still in danger? What resources are needed? Who can I call to assist in the recovery effort? An emergency manager must be able to effectively answer all of these questions and at the same time, bring together a team of professionals who have the capabilities of doing what needs to be done to take control of the situation.

Emergency managers must be able to organize large groups of people and an extensive amount of supplies. They must be able to effectively utilize logistics to ensure that both people and supplies can be moved to where they need to be in a short amount of time. They must be able to take action on several levels from working with the community to working with elected officials and public servants to secure an area and keep it safe for volunteers and employees to provide assistance to those in need.

An effective emergency manager must also be able to work in a non-disaster environment – most importantly before a disaster, developing protocols and guidelines that can be used if and when an emergency occurs. Each type of disaster is different and may require a specific type of plan to ensure everyone’s safety. The manager must be able to work with firemen, law enforcement agencies, and utility companies to ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to knowing their responsibilities and taking the appropriate actions.

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