Top 10 Online Bachelor’s in Emergency Management Schools


So you want to become a Firefighter, or maybe you have your hopes on becoming a Fire Marshall, Public Administrator, or even a Health Educator. The Emergency Management bachelor’s degree will be the best start to any one of these rewarding and worthwhile career paths for undergraduates. The online Bachelor’s in Emergency Management will provide students with better opportunities for career advancement and promotion options as well.  Each online school that offers the Emergency Management degree, may have different course requirements; however, many provide a similar well-rounded or comprehensive curriculum for the most part. The skills taught in these courses will stay with you for a lifetime. Students will learn the importance of fire safety, disaster and risk assessment, and planning for both medical and emergency services. Students will also gain knowledge of leadership and management opportunities. Below are the top ten best online Bachelor’s in Emergency Management degrees for 2020. 

1. Bellevue University 

The BS in Emergency Management at Bellevue University offers undergraduates a well-rounded curriculum, covering the importance of preparation, mitigation, early responses, and proper recovery approaches. Students will develop knowledge and skills of law enforcement, emergency management services, and first responder techniques. The BS in Emergency Management program will also prepare undergraduates with ethical and crucial decisions in both the public and private sectors. The course will include how to deal with real-world experiences, such Terrorism and Homeland Security, technology and communications, risk assessment, legal issues, and strategic emergency planning. Bellevue University offers undergraduate students the option of either an online or in-class cohort program. All classes are four credits each; the total program is 127 credit hours, which includes a four-credit Capstone Project course at its end. Courses in the program include Introduction to Emergency Management, Natural Disasters,  The National Incident Management System, Terrorism, and  Legal Issues in Emergency Management. Bellevue offers low student to faculty ratios and diverse classroom settings. 

2. Columbia College 

Columbia College offers a BA in Disaster and Emergency Management for all undergraduates desiring to enter a career as a firefighter, EMT, or any emergency-related field. The Disaster and Emergency Management program offers a strong knowledge base in disaster and emergency management and homeland security. Students will develop skills in areas such as management, planning, communications, problem-solving, decision-making, research and interviewing, computer literacy, and critical thinking. At the moment, the program is only available online. The course program is a total of 120 credit hours; the university accepts up to ninety transfer credit hours to go toward the BA in Emergency Management degree. Courses are only five weeks in length. Columbia College also has one of the nation’s lowest tuition costs for four-year institutions. As a bonus, students that are current members of the South Carolina State Firefighters’ Association are eligible for a ten percent discount for their first nine credits of courses. The College is among the best online regionally accredited programs, according to U.S. News and World Reports.  The BA in Emergency Management program is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

3. Kansas Wesleyan University

The BA in Emergency Management at Kansas Wesleyan University offers students the option of taking courses completely online, on campus, or in hybrid format.  The program will provide the theoretical knowledge and practical skills, mixed with a sense of duty to the field to save and protect precious lives. Students that complete the BA in Emergency Management at KWU will demonstrate leadership and administrative skills, understand legal aspects of the EM field, identify actions toward risk assessments, and construct emergency planning and design solutions in case of hazardous situations. The BA in Emergency Management program is a four year degree, comprising 42-credit hours of upper division courses. Possible minors in the course program are Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Aviator or Non-Aviator) and Criminal Justice. The College was ranked No. 8 nationally among the Top 20 Best Affordable programs nationwide and the only Emergency Management bachelor’s degree offered in the state of Kansas.  

4. Barry University

Barry University’s BS in Emergency Management offers undergraduates an online degree, preparing students with the skills, knowledge, and tools to become leaders in the emergency management field, specializing in disaster preparation, mitigation, recovery, and response. Students will learn both leadership and operational skills, and apply them to a variety of emergency systems or scenarios in real world situations. Coursework in the program will include public administration, health sciences, management, psychology, sociology, criminal justice, and environmental sciences. The total program includes 120 credits; however, Barry University does accept up to 90 credits from eligible students. The BSEM course at Barry University is recognized by FEMA as a knowledgeable application for career paths such as Homeland Security, Business continuity positions, Disaster-relief assistance personnel, and International Disaster Management. To be eligible for the BSEM program, students must submit transcripts from a regionally accredited high school or college and have at least two years of work experience or be an active military member or veteran. 

5. University of Florida 

The BS in Fire and Emergency Services at University of Florida offers students a comprehensive program, designed for the firefighter career field. The training and education curriculum of the Bachelor’s degree in Fire and Emergency Services (FES) is taught by the industry’s leaders in first response and disaster management. Students will be skilled in managerial responsibility and leadership servitude while participating in the program. Through the FES program, students will have the option to choose three accredited specializations: the Fire specialization, EMS management specialization, and the Emergency Management specialization. Each is designed to meet students’ professional aspiration within the field. Courses introduced in the program depend on which specialization is taken. For example, the Emergency Management specialization will cover courses such as Foundations of Emergency Management, Disaster Policy in Emergency Management and Introduction, and Emergency Management of Terrorism. In addition to the BS-FES, the University of Florida offers an online Master of Fire and Emergency Sciences/Disaster Management through the Rinker School of Construction Management. UF is one of the best online emergency management degrees throughout the nation.

6. Jacksonville State University 

Jacksonville State University’s BS in Emergency Management degree program provides students with a comprehensive degree, focused on fire safety, disaster response, and risk management. The program is 120 credits, with thirty required credits toward your major. The program offers virtual classroom settings, conveniently allowing students to complete coursework at their own pace. Courses include Introduction to Disaster Management, Populations at Risk, Disaster Response, and Research in Disasters and Emergency Management. There is also a Capstone course that is required to complete the degree. Each course is worth four credits. There is also a minor in Homeland Security offered to students if interested. JSU also offers students graduate-level degree options; such as the MS in Emergency Management and the Doctor of Science in Emergency Management, helping graduate students advance in the emergency management field. The BSEM program at Jacksonville State University is among the best online emergency management degrees in the Nation and has had over 600 alumni that have graduated from their Emergency Management degree programs. 

7. Saint Louis University

Saint Louis University’s BS in Emergency Management is one of the top online degree programs offered to students interested in a career as emergency personnel or disaster relief assistance. Undergraduates will learn how to administer aid and medical assistance to victims, while being proactive in their communities by providing physical and emotional support. The comprehensive, multi-disciplinary program is taught by highly trained professionals already working in the field and is recognized by both the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The program provides a low tuition rate; however scholarships and financial aid is available to all eligible students. The total program is 120 credits, with 39 credits of core courses. Each course completes in eight week and offers six start dates for flexibility and convenience class scheduling, especially designed for working professionals. Students must maintain a 2.0 GPA to continue in the program and graduate. 

8. University of Wisconsin Green Bay 

University of Wisconsin in Green Bay offers a Bachelor’s degree in Emergency Management, Planning and Administration. Students who have prior background in fire science, response protocol, and mitigation may find the degree the next level of education, including those who have earned an Applied Associates degree from another regionally-accredited institution can transfer up to sixty credits. The program courses consist of Principles and Practices of Disaster Response Operations and Management; Disaster Recovery; Political and Policy Dimensions of Emergency Management; Principles and Practices of Emergency Management; and Strategic Emergency Preparedness, Planning and Implementation. Each course is three credits and offers a rotating schedule. Four out of five courses are required to earn credit for the BS in Emergency Management degree and they may be taken in any order. Along with an Applied Associate’s degree, the course program is approximately 120 credits; students can complete the program in as little as two academic years. The BS in Emergency Management, Planning, and Administration at UoW will prepare graduates for skills such as operational leadership, response protocols, critical analysis skills, and policy and strategic planning. 

9. Franklin University

Franklin University’s BS in Emergency Management and Homeland Security offers students a fundamental curriculum, for those entering a career as a firefighter, EMS specialist, police officer, or EMT technician. We all go through difficult times when we could use a helping hand, and each one of these positions need highly trained professionals to be ready for any crisis. The BS-EMHS degree will provide real world educators to teach students on crisis readiness, policy implementations, safety and regulations, terrorism, and mutual-aid partnerships. Students will specialize in innovative thinking, strategic planning and emergency response. Courses in the 120 credit program will include evidence based practice and research; introduction to public administration; government and nonprofit budgeting; and training and development. The BS-EMHS degree is among the best online emergency management degrees nationwide and offers transfer-friendly degrees. Franklin U allows students to customize their BS degrees as well. 

10. Upper Iowa University

The BA in Emergency and Disaster Management at Upper Iowa University offers students a rewarding and demanding career as emergency professionals. The program will introduce the need for prevention, preparation, response and recovery from today’s world of uncertain circumstances. The BA in Emergency and Disaster Management is taught by top experts already working in the field, integrating theory with practice to better prepare students when they enter the emergency personnel field.  Courses will cover areas such as Disaster Response and Recovery, Emergency Management and Mitigation, Emergency Preparedness & Planning, and Ethics of Public Service. Students will learn to understand, manage, and mitigate both the physical and human consequences of all types of disasters that affect our world today and in the future. Upper Iowa University is a military- and transfer-friendly institution, providing over seventy degrees, both online and on campus.  

Career Opportunities for Best Online Emergency Management degrees

Emergency Management professionals are the true heroes and are in desperate need. People who choose a career path in Emergency Management know the importance of having the right training and education to help those in need. Whether you are training to become a Fire Chief on the front lines or caring for a victim’s wound in the ER, such as an ER Doctor; your life will change the moment you start your first day. As an Emergency Management professional, you must be prepared for any crisis or disaster to make a difference in a person’s everyday life. Below are just a few of the most gratifying career paths for graduates of the Bachelor’s degree in Emergency Management programs. 

  • Police Officers- Unless there is a fire, police officers are almost always first to show up in a crisis or emergency situation. When people call 911, it is the police that are putting their lives at stake and working to not only protect and serve, they educate the people in how to react to a crisis without harm. Unfortunately, they do occasionally get a bad reputation because of injustice actions from both sides of the line.
  • Firefighters- They are true heroes, working within the midst of flames and hot temperatures. Trying to save not only people’s lives, but memories from being destroyed.
  • ER Doctors- Saving lives is their main focus. Whether it is in the ER or on the table.
  • Emergency Medical Servicemen- Making sure you are provided with the best care before heading to the hospital. This training is essential and needs to be highly valued.
  • Ambulance Dispatchers- Providing the help to people as fast as they can. They need to know the best routes and roads to get the EMS technicians to you as quickly as possible. The less time, the better.
  • Federal Government personnel, such as DHS, FEMA, or DOT professionals- The crisis helpers in the background. The people affected by the disaster itself notice their presence more than others. However, they are evenly as important.