Earning an Online Doctorate in Emergency Management

Graduates of online doctorate in emergency management programs enjoy in-demand, high-level careers in research, teaching, and administration. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects jobs for emergency management directors to grow 8% between 2016-2026. This guide covers important information about earning an online doctorate in emergency management, including scholarships, program milestones, professional organizations, and potential jobs and salaries for graduates.

Why Get a Doctorate in Emergency Management Online?

Pursue Deeper Knowledge and Specialization

Students who pursue a doctorate in emergency management online gain advanced skills and knowledge. Thanks to deep study of concentrated topics, graduates gain the knowledge needed to inhabit advanced roles and take part in elevated discussions and research.

Career Advancement Opportunities

Because a doctorate is the terminal degree in the field, graduates can compete for high-level roles with strong salary potentials, such as administrator, manager, researcher, and tenured professor.

Online Learning Technology

Distance learners become well-versed in online technologies over the course of their degrees. Whether using the learning platform to turn in assignments, participate in discussions, or complete exams, this familiarity with digital technologies gives graduates a competitive edge in the job market.

Prerequisites for Doctorate in Emergency Management Online Programs

Before earning a doctorate in emergency management online, prospective students must meet certain prerequisites. These requirements allow admissions committees to glean a candidate's readiness for doctoral study.

  • Degree From an Accredited University Some programs require an accredited bachelor's degree, while others require a master's degree for admission. Students should check with the admissions department of each prospective school to verify the degree requirements.
  • GRE Test Scores Many programs require minimum GRE scores. Required scores vary by institution. Some programs may waive this requirement if the applicant possesses a particularly strong GPA or professional experience.
  • GPA Less competitive institutions usually require a minimum 2.25-2.5 GPA. More competitive programs may require at least a 3.0 GPA. Students with a lower GPA can often offset it with strong GRE scores.
  • Work Experience Some online doctorate in emergency management schools require or prefer 2-5 years of professional experience for admission. Some may require managerial experience in particular.
  • Statement of Purpose Schools use statements of purpose to glean a candidate's drive and motivation. Students should use the statement of purpose as an opportunity to highlight their goals, interests, and reasons for pursuing an online doctorate in emergency management.

How Much Can I Make With a Doctorate in Emergency Management Degree?

Emergency management salaries vary by factors like job title, location, and experience, but these professionals typically enjoy comfortable earnings. The BLS reports that the bottom 10% of earners in this career make $40,460 annually, while those in the top 10% make $141,130. A doctoral degree prepares candidates for top-paying positions in this field.

Potential Careers

Careers Stats Description

Emergency Management Professor

Median Annual Salary: $78,450

Whether teaching at a public university or private college, these professionals give lectures, design syllabi, grade papers and examinations, mentor students, and write letters of recommendation. They also present papers at academic symposiums.

Emergency Management Researcher

Median Annual Salary: $78,205

Professionals interested in advancing the field of emergency management often gravitate toward research positions. Researchers develop new methodologies and frameworks for handling emergencies and disseminate their findings at conferences and trainings.

Emergency Management Director

Median Annual Salary: $74,420

These professionals create plans that help emergency management personnel, firefighters, and other public safety officials appropriately respond to natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other emergency situations. They assess potential problems, share resources, and oversee budgets.

Paying for a Doctorate in Emergency Management Program

While earning an online doctorate in emergency management requires a significant financial investment, students enjoy many opportunities to help them pay for the degree. Schools that offer accelerated paths often cost less overall because students spend fewer years enrolled. Students should also look for programs that offer in-state tuition rates to online learners regardless of residency. Additionally, learners can pursue financial aid opportunities, such as grants, loans, and scholarships.


Many scholarships exist specifically for students enrolled in online doctorate in emergency management colleges. We highlight several scholarship opportunities below, but students can research additional opportunities through schools, governments, and organizations.

What to Expect From a Doctorate in Emergency Management Online Program

Degree seekers pursuing an online doctorate in emergency management should plan to spend 3-5 years completing academic, research, and writing requirements before graduating. Part-time students may need up to seven years to graduate. Online students use distance learning platforms, such as Blackboard, to turn in assignments, complete readings, discuss topics, watch lectures, and take examinations. Most programs offer introductory training sessions to familiarize learners with these platforms.

Major Milestones

Students experience several milestones when earning an online doctorate in emergency management. We highlight several key milestones below.

  1. Capstone Coursework

    Capstone coursework prepares students to synthesize what they learned throughout the degree for a culminating project.

  2. Internships/Apprenticeships/Job Shadowing

    Some programs require students to participate in an internship or apprenticeship to gain practical experience. These experiences usually last a semester.

  3. Comprehensive Examination

    Students often take comprehensive examinations after completing coursework to ensure they possess the knowledge and skills needed to pursue their dissertations.

  4. Dissertation

    Students research a unique topic, question, or issue and write a dissertation. In addition to consulting primary and secondary sources, learners may create case studies and/or conduct interviews. Students must then successfully defend their dissertations before a faculty committee.

  5. Intent to Graduate/Completion Confirmation

    After successfully defending their dissertations, degree seekers must signal to the registrar's office their intent to graduate. They must also pay any outstanding fees or fines and order their caps and gowns.

  6. Postdoctoral Research

    Some learners decide to pursue a postdoctoral research position. These positions usually last 1-2 years and allow students to take part in paid teaching and research roles.


Online doctorate in emergency management programs give learners research, teaching, leadership, and crisis management skills. Courses vary by program, but the following list outlines common courses found in these programs.

Emergency Management
Program Management

This course examines topics related to overseeing public-facing programs. Topics include creating communication channels, engaging citizens in planning, and working with the media.

Health Systems in
Emergency Management

Students in this class learn about common topics in medicine, public health, psychology, and behavioral health as they relate to emergencies. Learners study common problems related to disasters and how to integrate health responses into emergency management.

Managing and Leading
During Times of Crisis

This class provides students with the skills to effectively manage and lead during crises. Students study leadership theories, management best practices, and communication.

Professional Organizations and Resources

Professional organizations provide many benefits to online doctorate in emergency management students and graduates. Members enjoy access to continuing education programs, certifications, webinars, and networking opportunities.