Are Online Emergency Management Programs Viewed Differently than On-Campus Programs?

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 Emergency Management is a rapidly-growing field with employment opportunities across the nation. By earning an Emergency Management degree, you’ll be qualified for safety-related positions in:

  • Hospitals
  • Colleges and universities
  • State and local government
  • Power plants
  • Private companies

An Emergency Management degree will help you develop the skills needed to coordinate with local officials and emergency responders in case of disaster. You’ll also learn to formulate detailed emergency plans that could save the lives of countless people. Since preparing for both natural and manmade disasters is a key part of the job, you’ll take a broad range of classes that will prepare you for many different scenarios. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Is an Emergency Management degree worth it?

If you’ve explored your options for an Emergency Management degree, you’ve probably noticed that many programs are now based entirely online. You have the option of earning an associate’s, bachelor’s, or even a master’s degree without ever setting foot on a college campus. You can even choose to pursue an online Emergency Management certificate while focusing on a different major.

Although there are plenty of perks to online learning, it’s normal to have some reservations about earning your Emergency Management degree online. There are advantages and disadvantages to online learning, and it’s important to familiarize yourself with both.

What are the pros of earning an online Emergency Management degree?

Until recently, on-campus learning was the only option for students pursuing an Emergency Management degree. But now that students are aware of the many advantages of distance learning, online programs have exploded in popularity.

Here are some advantages of earning your Emergency Management degree online:

    • You’ll communicate with students from across the country: When disaster strikes, you need to know how to communicate effectively with all types of people. As an Emergency Management professional, you’ll work closely with local authorities, first responders, and law enforcement: Which means you need to learn how to handle clashing personalities. Luckily, your online classes will give you the chance to mingle with students from diverse backgrounds from across the country.


    • You’ll sharpen your writing skills: Forum posts and online discussions are a central focus of many online classes. Creating disaster response plans and writing reports is a major part of the job for many Emergency Management professionals, so the writing required for your online classes will translate to valuable experience that will help you throughout your career.


    • Earning your emergency management degree online offers flexibility: With an online Emergency Management certificate or degree, you don’t need to worry about any other commitments clashing with your classes. Even if you’re going back to school with a full-time job and kids, distance learning gives you the flexibility you need to balance it all.


  • Online degrees can be more cost-effective: Although this isn’t the case with every school, online degree programs can often cost significantly less than traditional on-campus enrollment. This will be especially true if you plan on earning an online emergency management certificate to supplement a degree you already have.

What are the cons of earning an online Emergency Management degree?

Although on-campus learning offers many benefits, it isn’t always the best choice for every student. It’s important to take your individual learning style into account when deciding if an online Emergency Management degree is worth it. 

Here are some disadvantages of earning your Emergency Management degree online:

    • You may miss out on valuable in-person networking opportunities: The face-to-face campus environment offers valuable networking opportunities that could help you find a job. Although you’ll participate in text-based discussions if you pursue your degree online, you’ll may miss out on connecting with local Emergency Management professionals. You also won’t be able to participate in on-campus organizations, which could make employers view your online degree in a negative light.


    • Finding internships can be a challenge: In Emergency Management, firsthand experience is critical. An on-campus program often gives you internship opportunities, where you can learn from professionals who have spent years on the job. Many on-campus students work with their college safety teams, or even government officials. But as an online student, the responsibility falls on you to connect with Emergency Management professionals in your area. Otherwise, you risk employers brushing off your online degree.


  • You won’t benefit from on-campus labs and practical training: Since you won’t be traveling to campus, you’ll miss out on labs that provide hands-on practical training from your instructors. If your school offers Emergency Management software or planning tools in their computer labs, you won’t get to take advantage of that either—which can work against you in a job interview, especially if the employer has a bias against online degrees.

Will employers view my online Emergency Management degree differently?

As an online student, it may be harder to find internship opportunities and gain hands-on experience: And since both of these are so important in Emergency Management, you’ll have to go the extra mile to stand out from other candidates. But if the flexibility and convenience of online learning is worth the extra effort, then you should have no problem impressing employers with your online Emergency Management degree.

Employers will expect you to have at least one internship under your belt, and they’ll probably be concerned if you haven’t spent much time on the field. If they question the value of your online degree, be ready to lay their concerns to rest by showcasing your internship and volunteer opportunities. If you challenge yourself to get the most from your education, your online degree will be just as valuable as a traditional one.

Also, you should make sure your online degree is from a reputable school such as The University of Central Missouri or Arkansas State University. Employers are much more likely to appreciate your degree when they see it came from a respectable school. Be wary of “online only” schools with no on-campus locations, as these are far less likely to impress potential employers.

Here are some tips for making the most of your online education.

If you want to be sure that employers value your credentials as much as a traditional degree, follow these tips:

    • Network with professionals in your area: It will be much easier to impress employers with your degree and find a job if you already have connections in the area.


    • Challenge yourself to find your dream internship: Since field experience is so crucial, you’ll thank yourself down the road if you land an awesome internship while earning your online degree.


    • Hold yourself to the same standards as a traditional student: Set aside time each day to review course materials, chat with other students on discussions forums, and complete homework assignments.


Erica Campbell

Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Biology| Utica College

Associate of Science (A.S.)| Herkimer County Community College

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