Outlook & Growth
This career is expected to grow faster than average, about 2,300 additional new jobs by 2014.
In November 2004, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 10,880 emergency management specialists. Top employers are local governments, state governments, hospitals, power generation and supply services, and emergency and other relief services.
There is at least one emergency management director for each state, and there are other directors with similar functions throughout government and private industry.
Salary & Wages
In 2006, emergency management directors earned an average salary greater than $46,000. The middle 50 percent earned $33,000 to $62,000. The highest 10 percent earned more than $82,000.
What is an Emergency Management Director?
Emergency management directors help communities respond to natural, technological and other disasters. The primary concerns of emergency management directors vary, depending on where they are and which hazards are typical for their area.
Emergency management directors work with and coordinate many different people and groups. Often, directors communicate with everyone from emergency response personnel to high-level officials.
The job might require combining forces with the departments of social services, public safety, transportation, or health and environmental control; the employment security commission; the state housing authority; or relief organizations, such as the American Red Cross.
Other job titles for these workers include public safety or emergency preparedness director.
Education & Degree Path
There is no single route to an emergency management career. Some colleges offer a specific degree—a bachelor’s or master’s—in emergency management. A Bachelor of Science in emergency management often includes courses such as emergency management, hazard mitigation and preparedness, and disaster response and recovery.
Emergency management directors may choose to earn special credentials. Optional post-degree certification programs, such as the Certified Emergency Manager Program, are offered by the International Association of Emergency Managers.
Entering the Field:
Consider volunteering in an agency that’s part of your local or state emergency management strategy to get field experience. The Red Cross, volunteer firefighting squads and hospital emergency rooms are great entry points. Earning an associate degree in healthcare management, public administration or human services administration can help you acquire a strong managerial foundation.
Fire fighters, police officers, nurses, psychiatric workers, EMTs and paramedics often look to be promoted into positions of emergency management. Anyone with a background in healthcare can logically specialize in emergency preparedness. Those in human services, social work, counseling, law enforcement, and rehabilitation and corrections are also great cross-career candidates.
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Source for salary and growth data is the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For more information on careers in emergency management, salaries, and job prospects visit: U.S. Department of Labor, Careers in Homeland Security, Emergency Management Directors, at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ooq/2006/summer/art01.pdf.