Why This Matters

  • PROTECT PUBLIC HEALTH AT MULTIPLE LEVELS

    Various government agencies exist at local, state, and federal levels, to handle emergency preparations and response. Other job opportunities exist in the private sector in research, hospitals, and educational institutions.

  • DEMAND FOR EMERGENCY MANAGERS TO RISE 5%

    Job growth in the emergency management field continues to increase steadily, with about 500 new positions expected by 2028. Individuals with experience as well as education will have the best job prospects.

  • AVERAGE SALARY FOR A DIRECTOR IS $74,420

    Individuals with advanced degrees in emergency management are qualified for director positions with higher earning potential. Those working in scientific and technical services can earn an average of $101,570 annually.

Our Research

There are various degree options for emergency management programs, including a Master of Science (MS), Master of Arts (MA), and Master of Professional Studies (MPS). Each degree type has a different pedagogical approach, but they will all prepare you for advancement in emergency management.

This list primarily consists of online programs, although there are also in-person and hybrid programs, to offer you a range of options for your lifestyle and learning preferences.

All of the ranked programs have regional accreditation, to ensure a quality standard of education. A number of programs are also accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Emergency Management Education (CAEME).

Our team evaluated each program’s cost, course strength, reputation, faculty, and flexibility, and assigned an Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Our top picks for the best master’s in emergency management are well-regarded, customizable, and affordable.(For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.)

  • 89 hours to write this article
  • 146 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 399 education programs we compared

The Top 30 Master’s in Emergency Management Programs

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What You Should Know About This Degree

Working in emergency services can be extremely stressful. Emergency management personnel often have to work long hours, in dangerous conditions or in remote locations. The ability to remain calm, think critically, make decisions, and communicate effectively, usually in high-pressure situations, is integral to being successful in this field.

Because of the unique pressures of emergency management, many employers find real-world experience to be as beneficial as education. While a master’s degree can provide you with lots of theoretical knowledge about emergency responses, employers want to know that you can apply that knowledge in an actual emergency situation. Before enrolling in a master’s in emergency management program, consider your career goals, and weigh the benefits of advanced education versus on-the-job training.

Professional credentials are another way to signal your expertise to employers. The International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) grants the Associate Emergency Manager (AEM) and Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) certifications to emergency management professionals. These certifications are not mandatory, but are an added confirmation of your achievement in the field. The process for earning and maintaining these certifications includes paying fees, taking exams, documenting experiential hours, and completing continuing education requirements.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching Masters Emergency Management programs:

  • Does this program offer the concentration I want? Many programs offer the option for a concentration within emergency management, in areas such as homeland security, fire administration, public health, and occupational safety. If your career goals require a specialization, make sure you select a program that will allow you the opportunity to focus on your area of interest.
  • Does the program have experiential learning requirements? Because of the importance of real-world experience in emergency management, many programs require a hands-on component. This can be true even of online programs, so be sure to review the program’s curriculum carefully. If they require a practicum or internship, make sure you can fit that element into your schedule.

In addition to researching the program’s curriculum and outcomes, be sure to explore the application process and financial aid options. Begin gathering your application materials well before the submission deadline. Talk to program representatives and financial aid counselors about your options for loans, scholarships, and assistantships. If you are currently employed, find out if your employer offers tuition assistance.