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Community, state, and federal employers are looking for more from emergency management professionals. They want to hire knowledgeable employees who are ready to hit the ground running, whatever the situation, and make the fast, correct decisions that will save lives and maintain public safety and well-being.

When you enroll in Capella’s online Doctor of Emergency Management program, you begin a journey that offers you immediately applicable skills for the workplace—learning that says “I can make a difference.” Your coursework will focus on developing appropriate program evaluation, conducting action research, and understanding and developing policy.

You will focus on understanding and evaluating policy, implementing policy grounded in appropriate theory, and supporting policy creation with critical thinking, logic, and consistency. In addition, this professional doctorate (ProDoc) emphasizes building leadership, professional communications, and ethical decision-making skills.

This program offers the chance to engage with supportive, professionally experienced faculty and coaches to guide you toward learning what is relevant today and how you can respond to future changes in the field. In Capella’s Doctor of Emergency Management program, you will learn how to bridge the gap between research and practice in the changing field of emergency management.

What’s the Difference Between a Professional Doctorate and a PhD?

The difference is in the focus of each program—the coursework you do, and applied knowledge you develop.

PhD students are expected to build a dissertation that expands on and contributes to a field’s knowledge, research, and theory. Completing a PhD means that they can demonstrate a contribution to the knowledge base of the discipline.

Professional doctorate students can expect to focus on applying current knowledge and research to their professional field. When they have completed their ProDoc degree, they should be able to demonstrate scholarship as it applies to issues within a specific professional context, appropriate to advanced professional practice within the field.

Learning Online, Not Learning Alone

From early in Capella’s Doctor of Emergency Management program, you will engage with supportive, professionally experienced faculty and coaches to build immediately applicable skills that you can use on the job.

Starting with the work you do from day one, you’ll grow your professional expertise in emergency management, moving your career forward. Capella’s online doctorate in Emergency Management offers a strong balance of theory, research, and application, growing your decision-making capabilities and giving you the skill set that employers want to see. Your research experience will be grounded in research toward your capstone, the culminating experience of your doctoral program.

At the same time, you’ll build up your knowledge through engagement with interactive, immersive simulations using real-world scenarios, facing complex problems safely and learning how to achieve the best outcomes. As you apply theory and critical thinking to making decisions, you will network with others and develop connections that will benefit you in your professional role.

Our expert faculty have extensive experience in emergency management. All hold PhDs in this field, and many are also Certified Emergency Managers, providing you with real-world, balanced perspectives on the use of theory and practice. In addition, they enjoy affiliation with organizations such as FEMA, IAEM, various state agencies, private consulting firms, the U.S. armed forces, and others.

The Building Blocks of Your Doctorate

Your doctoral degree program in emergency management includes three integrated components: online coursework, in-person experiences (called residencies), and a capstone experience. Each facet of your education builds on the others to take you through your program and to your goal of a professional doctorate.

As part of your learning in this program, you will develop skills in making the decisions and solving problems that emergency management professionals face every day. Using robust real-world scenarios to apply theory and practice critical thinking, you’ll face complex problems and solve them effectively in a safe simulation environment.

View a sample course sequence to understand program timing and see how your coursework, residencies, and capstone all fit together.

To learn more about this program, request more information and we will match you with an enrollment counselor who specializes in your area of study.

Personalize Your Degree With a Concentration

Concentrations are designed to integrate theory with real-world application for personalized learning at no additional program cost or time commitment.

  • Higher Education—Prepare to teach in either traditional or online formats, and apply ethical decision-making, multicultural competence, and knowledge of diverse student populations to your personal philosophy of teaching.

Degree Outcomes

With your doctoral degree in Emergency Management from Capella, you will learn to lead and manage integrated multijurisdictional disaster management organizations and agencies. You will also develop and communicate information critical to multijurisdictional emergency management stakeholders, and implement multijurisdictional support to address diversity issues to improve emergency management preparedness.

People with Doctoral degrees in Public Service Leadership from Capella earn an average of $19,000 more per year than people who only hold a Master's degree.

GE Salary Project Update

Career Outcomes

Common jobs* with an online doctoral degree in Emergency Management include adjunct, full- or part-time faculty, crisis management consultant, crisis management training director, disaster response consultant, emergency management director, emergency management planner, emergency operations center director, policy writer, mitigation planner/specialist, disaster and emergency service director, homeland security coordinator/manager, logistics coordinator, preparedness and incident management director, and risk management consultant.

View full learning and career outcomes report for this program at

Potential workplaces include: emergency communications agency, emergency medical service, federal government agency, federal or state emergency management agency, land-based or online college or university, private security firm, law enforcement organization, or state government agency.

To learn more, call 866.933.5837, or email us. When you connect with Capella, we will immediately put you in touch with an enrollment counselor trained to assist you with specific questions and needs for your area of interest.

*These are examples intended to serve as a general guide. Because many factors determine what position an individual may attain, Capella cannot guarantee that a graduate will secure any specific job title.