Accelerated Emergency Management Degree Online [2023 Guide]

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An accelerated emergency management degree can empower you to be the one who helps communities when there is a serious problem. 

An accelerated emergency management degree online can help empower you to become the one who helps communities when there is a serious problem. Instead of watching a crisis unfold, you may be on the front lines helping.

Accelerated Emergency Management Degree

Being trained to respond to emergencies can also help you enter a career field with growing job opportunities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that emergency management positions are projected to experience a growth of 6% over the next decade.

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The average salary for emergency management degree holders is between $42,230 and $142,870, depending on your industry (Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Types of Accelerated Emergency Management Degree Programs

Emergencies can happen in all varieties of situations. The types of degrees in emergency management are also quite varied. You may choose a focus in administration, homeland security, criminal justice, or natural disasters.

Each of these degrees can help prepare you for a different aspect of crisis response:

  • Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice—Homeland Security and Emergency Management
  • Bachelor’s in Fire and Emergency Management
  • Bachelor’s in Homeland Security

In addition to emergency management programs, there are a number of other accelerated online bachelor’s programs in related fields.

Likewise, some schools even offer accelerated programs for an online masters in emergency management if you want to pursue further education after earning your bachelor’s degree.

Accelerated Emergency Management Degree Programs Overview

Accelerated Emergency Management Degree Programs Overview

An accelerated emergency management degree program can help you develop the skills needed to respond quickly and efficiently to local, national, and organizational emergencies.

Emergency management programs are designed to teach the four principles of emergency management: plan, prepare, respond, and recover. They teach how to apply these principles to large-scale natural or man-made disasters, as well as how to work with other agencies and jurisdictions to get the job done.

Your list of classes could potentially include:

  • Airport Security
  • Contemporary Issues in Tribal Management and Emergency Services
  • Disaster Response and Recovery
  • Disasters and Vulnerable Populations
  • Emergency Management Strategies and Communications: National Incident Management System
  • Political and Legal Foundations in Emergency Services
  • Police and Society
  • Preparedness Planning and Risk Mitigation
  • Strategy and Tactics in Fire and Emergency Services
  • Terrorism

These are just some of the possible classes you may take in your emergency management program. Programs vary, but preparing students to know what to do in the event of an emergency is the foundation of any emergency management degree program.

Careers with an Accelerated Emergency Management Degree

Careers with an Accelerated Emergency Management Degree

Where your degree will take you is completely up to you! More and more organizations are seeing the need for emergency management at all levels. You could pursue careers in emergency response and preparation at places like:

  • Colleges and schools
  • Community food, housing, and relief services
  • Hospitals
  • Electric power generation, transmission, and distribution companies
  • Local and state governments
  • Private companies
  • Scientific research centers

If there is a possibility of a sector being affected by an emergency, there might be a job for you in that field, and the range of salaries is just as wide as the opportunities.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some careers in the emergency management field include:

Careers Annual Median Salary
General and Operations Managers $103,650
Campus Security and Safety Directors $88,370
Emergency Management System Directors in Hospitals $87,920
Management Analysts $87,660
Fire Lieutenants $78,870
Occupational Health and Safety Specialists $76,340
Emergency Management Directors $76,250
Environmental Analysts $73,230
Local Public Safety Directors $70,130
Emergency Management Specialists $45,670

This is not a narrow career path that will trap you in a single sector. The opportunities are as wide as the emergencies that could arise.

The Benefits of Taking Accelerated Online Classes for Your Emergency Management Degree

Many students opt to take online studies because of their flexibility and inconvenience. There can be many benefits to taking an accelerated online emergency management program.

Start Now

You don’t have to wait until September to start your degree. Many North American universities have start dates each month. Once you start your degree, you are on the path to building your career.

The first step may be the hardest to take, but the chance to start at any time can help you take that first step sooner!

Finish Faster

If you sign up for traditional on-campus classes, you’ll likely have to go to class 2-3 times a week for the next 16 weeks to earn 3 credits. Instead, you may take accelerated 8 week online classes. Each class covers the same material as a traditional classroom setting, but you can potentially complete the material much faster.

Study When and Where You Want

Online programs allow you to study wherever you have an internet connection, and many of them have no set times to take your classes.

This means you can take your classes at home. at a coffee shop, on your lunch break at work, or even at 2 a.m. when you can’t sleep. You’re not tied to being in class at a certain time, and you have no commute.

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3 Ways to Accelerate Your Emergency Management Degree Even More

I need a degree fast. If this is a recurring thought when searching for a degree program, then you may want to explore the fastest online degrees that might be a good fit for you.

For a traditional bachelor’s degree program, you are looking at 120-182 credits to earn your degree. That’s 4-6 years studying for what you want to do now. Luckily, you can use these 3 tips to potentially shave years off your degree completion plan.

1. Test Out of College Classes (Earn Up to 1 Year)

Instead of attending a class for 16 weeks, you may be able to just take an exam. The College Level Examination Program (CLEP) may allow you to take exams for many of your introductory level classes.

Each exam only costs $89, plus any fee the testing center may require, and consists of 90 multiple choice questions that take 90 minutes to complete. If you know your material and can pass the exam with 50% of the questions right, then you’ll earn the credits, usually 3, needed for that course.

Most universities will allow you to take up to 30 credits by exam using this process. If you take 10 exams and pass, you could potentially earn a full year of college credit.

2. Get College Credit for Your Life and Work Experience (Earn Up to 1 Semester)

Do you have any work experience? Maybe you lived in a foreign country or undertook some kind of training program. You may be eligible for college credit for your experiences.

An emergency management degree is especially suited for awarding college credit for military experience. The US military works alongside the American Council of Education to make sure that your military service is recognized. College credit may be provided based on the training you did in the military.

At most universities, you can complete an Experiential Learning Portfolio for your advisor to review. This process may earn you up to 15 credit hours.

3. Stay Continuously Enrolled with the Max Course Load

Traditionally, most students will earn 30 credits a year by taking 15 credits in the fall and spring semesters.

Most universities will allow you to take 18 credits each semester, though, and you may also be able to take a full semester’s worth of classes in the summer.

If you take 18 credits in the fall, spring, and summer semesters and pass all your courses, you could earn 54 credits in just 12 months. Testing out of classes and working hard for 2 years could potentially result in you having enough credit for a full bachelor’s degree in half the time.

Bonus: Transferring Your Existing College Credits

Did you start college before but didn’t finish? Credits from an accredited university or college may save you from having to take some classes now. If you were able to earn at least a C in the class, then that credit might fill a spot in your current degree.

Even if the class has nothing to do with your emergency management degree, you might be able to use it as an elective!

How to Lower Tuition Costs

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Once you know the secret of how to save time when getting your degree, you also know part of the secret of saving money on your degree. Credit by Exam and Credit for Prior Learning are options available in every state and can be applied to many degree programs.

Not having to take some classes can cut down on your expenses in a major way.

You can also look into financial aid to cut costs. Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will allow you to discover the grants and loans you qualify for from the federal government.

You may also be able to find financial aid through:

  • State funding
  • University scholarships
  • Private organization scholarships
  • Employer assistance programs

Taking the time to look into financial aid can potentially help you save a lot of money.

Emergency Management Degree Accreditation

logos of National accreditation boards for a degree in emergency management

Accreditation is a process that your school must go through to prove that its emergency management degree program meets either regional or national standards. There are also forms of programmatic accreditation specific to degree programs.

A couple of good programmatic accreditations to look for in an emergency management program are:

There are also six regional accreditors that validate colleges and universities as a whole:

All the work your school goes through to become accredited helps to ensure that your degree will be seen as valid by future employers and grad schools.

What Degree Do You Need for Emergency Management?

There are a few different degrees you may get. Criminal Justice with a concentration in Emergency Management, Fire and Emergency Management, and Homeland Security are some of the most popular options.

How Much Do Emergency Managers Make?

An emergency manager may earn on average $42,230 to $76,250 a year, with the potential to earn as high as $142,870, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

How Do I Become an Emergency Management Specialist?

The steps to becoming an emergency management specialist are:

  1. Earn your bachelor’s degree in a related field.
  2. Accumulate work experience.
  3. Apply to be a Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) or Associate Emergency Manager (AEM) from the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM).

Some states and communities do not require all of these steps.

Prepare Thyself!

firefighters responding to an emergency

How are you going to respond the next time an emergency happens?

A degree in emergency management can help you pursue a career in which you can make a difference in thousands of peoples’ lives. You may prepare and educate people on how to respond to an emergency, or you may be the one who has a plan and knows how to execute it.

Getting started in this rewarding career does not need to take you 6 years. With the steps we’ve listed, you could potentially earn your degree in 2.5 years and for a fraction of the tuition price tag.

Ready to start your journey?
Joy Cromwelle
Joy Cromwelle
Joy is pursuing her Ph.D. in Public Policy & Foreign Policy and holds a Master of Business Administration in Strategic Management, as well as a Bachelor's in Business Administration. Joy's focus is helping non-traditional students find accelerated degree options and credit for prior learning opportunities.