Accelerated emergency management degree programs and industry salary

An accelerated program specializing in emergency management can assist you in acquiring the necessary skills to effectively and promptly respond to local, national, and organizational crises.

These programs are designed to instill knowledge of the four fundamental principles of emergency management: planning, preparation, response, and recovery. They teach individuals how to apply these principles to large-scale natural or artificial disasters and collaborate with other agencies and jurisdictions to achieve successful outcomes.

The curriculum of an emergency management program may include a diverse range of classes, such as:

  1. Airport Security
  2. Contemporary Issues in Tribal Management and Emergency Services
  3. Disaster Response and Recovery
  4. Disasters and Vulnerable Populations
  5. Emergency Management Strategies and Communications: National Incident Management System
  6. Political and Legal Foundations in Emergency Services
  7. Police and Society
  8. Preparedness Planning and Risk Mitigation
  9. Strategy and Tactics in Fire and Emergency Services
  10. Terrorism

These classes represent just a sample of the possibilities within an emergency management program. Programs may vary, but the central focus remains on preparing students to effectively handle emergency situations.


Emergency management plays a vital role in any society as it involves preparing, responding, and recovering from natural and artificial disasters. The demand for professionals in this field is steadily increasing, making an accelerated emergency management degree ideal for those seeking rapid career advancement.

Different types of accelerated emergency management degree programs cater to various emergency scenarios. You can opt for a degree specializing in administration, homeland security, criminal justice, or natural disasters.

Each of these degree programs equips individuals with the necessary skills to handle different aspects of crisis response. The available options include:

  1. Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice—Homeland Security and Emergency Management
  2. Bachelor’s in Fire and Emergency Management
  3. Bachelor’s in Homeland Security

Other accelerated online bachelor’s programs are available in related fields besides emergency management programs. Furthermore, certain institutions offer accelerated programs for online master’s degrees in emergency management, enabling you to pursue further education after completing your bachelor’s degree.


An accelerated emergency management degree opens doors to a range of career opportunities. Organizations across various sectors now recognize the importance of emergency management at all levels. Some potential career paths include:

  1. Colleges and schools
  2. Community food, housing, and relief services
  3. Hospitals
  4. Electric power generation, transmission, and distribution companies
  5. Local and state governments
  6. Private companies
  7. Scientific research centers

If a sector could be affected by an emergency, there is a high chance of finding employment in that field. Salaries in the emergency management field span a wide range, just as the opportunities do. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some careers in this field and their annual median salaries include:

  1. General and Operations Managers: $103,650
  2. Campus Security and Safety Directors: $88,370
  3. Emergency Management System Directors in Hospitals: $87,920
  4. Management Analysts: $87,660
  5. Fire Lieutenants: $78,870
  6. Occupational Health and Safety Specialists: $76,340
  7. Emergency Management Directors: $76,250
  8. Environmental Analysts: $73,230
  9. Local Public Safety Directors: $70,130
  10. Emergency Management Specialists: $45,670

The career path in emergency management is wider than a single sector, allowing for diverse opportunities based on the potential emergencies that may arise.

Enrolling in an accelerated online emergency management program offers numerous benefits to students. Many individuals choose online studies due to their flexibility and convenience. Here are some advantages of pursuing an accelerated online program in emergency management:

  1. Immediate Start: You can begin your degree in September or a specific semester. Numerous North American universities offer monthly start dates, allowing you to embark on your academic journey at any time.
  2. Faster Completion: Unlike traditional on-campus classes that span over 16 weeks to earn three credits, accelerated online classes typically last for eight weeks. Despite the shorter duration, these classes cover the same material as their traditional counterparts, enabling you to complete the program more quickly.
  3. Flexible Study Schedule: Online programs grant you the freedom to study whenever and wherever you have an internet connection. Many programs do not have fixed class times, allowing you to study at home, at a coffee shop, during your lunch break, or even during sleepless nights at 2 a.m. The absence of a fixed schedule eliminates the need for physical attendance and commuting.

If you desire to earn your degree rapidly, consider these three strategies to accelerate your emergency management program further:

  1. Test Out of College Classes (Earn Up to 1 Year): Instead of attending classes for a full semester, you may have the option to take exams to demonstrate your knowledge. The College Level Examination Program (CLEP) provides exams for various introductory-level courses. By passing these exams, which typically consist of 90 multiple-choice questions in 90 minutes, you can earn credits equivalent to completing the course.

Most universities allow students to earn up to 30 credits through CLEP exams. Successfully passing ten exams can grant you a year’s college credits.

  1. Earn Credit for Life and Work Experience (Earn Up to 1 Semester): If you possess relevant work experience or have engaged in effective training programs or international living experiences, you may be eligible to receive college credit. Some universities offer the option to create an Experiential Learning Portfolio, which allows you to present your experiences for evaluation by an advisor. This process can earn you up to 15 credit hours.

Military experience is particularly valued in emergency management, with the American Council of Education working in conjunction with the US military to ensure recognition of military service and the relevant training.

  1. Enroll in Maximum Course Load (Stay Continuously Enrolled): While traditional students often take 15 credits per semester, most universities permit students to enroll in up to 18 credits. Additionally, you may have the opportunity to take a full semester’s worth of classes during the summer. By consistently enrolling in the maximum number of credits, you can accumulate 54 credits in 12 months if you pass all your courses. Combine this approach with testing out of classes and diligent work for two years, and you may acquire enough credits for a complete bachelor’s degree in half the time.

Bonus: Transferring Existing College Credits: If you have previously attended college but did not complete your degree, you may be able to transfer credits from an accredited university or college. As long as you earned a passing grade (at least a C) in the relevant course, you can apply those credits toward your current emergency management degree, even if the class is unrelated to the field.


Reducing Tuition Costs is also a crucial consideration for many students. Besides saving time, you can save money by utilizing Credit by Exam and Credit for Prior Learning options, available in all states, and apply to many degree programs. You can significantly reduce your expenses by not having to take certain classes.

Exploring financial aid options is another effective way to lower tuition costs. Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can help you discover the grants and loans you are eligible for from the federal government. Additionally, financial aid may be available through state funding, university scholarships, private organization scholarships, and employer assistance programs. By dedicating time to researching and applying for financial aid, you can save substantial money.

Accreditation plays a vital role in ensuring the validity of your emergency management degree. Schools undergo a rigorous accreditation process to demonstrate that their programs meet regional or national standards. In addition to institutional accreditation, program-specific accreditations are relevant to emergency management programs. Notable programmatic accreditations to look for include the Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP) and the Council for Accreditation of Emergency Management Education (CAEME). Regional accreditors, such as the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), also validate colleges and universities as a whole. Obtaining a degree from an accredited institution enhances its recognition by future employers and graduate schools.

As for the specific degree required for emergency management, there are several options to consider, including Criminal Justice with a concentration in Emergency Management, Fire and Emergency Management, and Homeland Security. Each of these degrees provides relevant knowledge and skills to excel in the field.


In terms of salary, emergency managers can earn an average of $42,230 to $76,250 per year, with the potential to earn as much as $142,870, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

To become an emergency management specialist, you typically follow these steps:

  1. Earn a bachelor’s degree in a related field.
  2. Accumulate relevant work experience.
  3. Apply for certification as a Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) or Associate Emergency Manager (AEM) through the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM). However, it’s worth noting that specific requirements may vary by state and community.


An accelerated emergency management degree allows you to acquire the necessary skills for effectively responding to emergencies. By choosing the online learning format, you can enjoy the flexibility of starting your degree at any time, completing it more quickly, and studying according to your schedule. You can expedite your degree completion even further by utilizing strategies like testing out of college classes, earning credit for life and work experience, and staying continuously enrolled with a maximum course load. Additionally, transferring existing college credits and exploring financial aid options can lower tuition costs. Finally, ensure that the program you choose is accredited, and consider pursuing a degree in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Emergency Management, Fire and Emergency Management, or Homeland Security. With the right qualifications and experience, you can embark on a rewarding career as an emergency management specialist.

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