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Emergency Management Specialists

Many emergency management specialists focus on coordinating disaster response or crisis management procedures. They also design emergency plans and procedures and offer disaster preparedness training for natural, technological and wartime disasters.

Those in emergency management help out with earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, hazardous material spills and other types of disasters. They also apply for federal funding for emergency management related needs. An emergency management specialist also administers grants and make reports on their progress.

Some common job titles are emergency management system director, emergency planner, emergency management coordinator, emergency preparedness program specialist, emergency preparedness coordinator, emergency management program specialists, emergency services program coordinator and emergency response team leader.


  • Develop plans that provide operating procedures to be utilized with disasters or emergencies
  • Coordinate disaster response or crisis management activities
  • Stay current with changes and activities that may affect an emergency situation
  • Create emergency situation status reports
  • Suggest changes to emergency response procedures based on technological and regulatory changes or new information
  • Develop and maintain relationships with government agencies to facilitate disaster and emergency response effort coordination and plan development and use of equipment and personnel
  • Develop and oversee emergency and disaster preparedness training courses
  • Stay up-to-date with local, state and federal regulations that affect emergency plans
  • Inspect facilities such as emergency management centers and communications equipment for their functional and operational capabilities in emergency situations
  • Prepare instructional materials for the public and also make presentations to citizen groups

Job Characteristics

Those in emergency management sometimes attend workshops and meetings to learn new information and to develop working relationships with others working in the field of emergency management. They need to have good leadership, teaching, communication and interpersonal skills. They should also be detailed oriented.

Emergency management program specialists need to be able to effectively communicate in writing and orally so others will understand their tasks. They need to be effective at combining and organizing information. The ability to quickly analyze situations is important for the occupation. Emergency management specialists should have good investigating skills. In addition, working more than 40 hours per week and stress are sometimes part of the job.

Employment Outlook

The forecasted growth rate for emergency management specialists from 2006 to 2016 is 12 percent. In 2008 the average annual wage for emergency management specialists was $50,460.

Those in emergency management can advance from an emergency coordinator position to a higher ranking coordinator position and then into a lower level emergency coordinator manager job. Those with a high level of experience and proven abilities may move up to a high level management position.

Education, Certification, and Licensing

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) operates the Emergency Management Institute (EMI). The EMI Independent Study program is made of self-paced courses created for people who have emergency management responsibilities and also for the general public. The courses are offered at no charge for those that qualify for enrollment. College credit can be earned via a for-fee service upon completing a course.

Educational programs typically include courses in disaster assistance, planning and prevention, public education and communications. In addition to having knowledge of the principles of emergency management, employers may be looking for candidates that have knowledge of local, state, federal emergency management and/or homeland security policies.

Some employers may require a degree in a subject such as public administration, public safety, the technical or physical sciences, urban planning or a related field. Being fluent in a foreign language can increase a candidates chances for employment.

Some State departments of emergency management provide training programs such as hazardous materials, emergency management, search and rescue, public safety response to terrorism and radiological emergency response.

Some states require certification for particular emergency management positions. Certification in emergency management and specialized training will typically improve the chances of getting a job.


Major Employers

The federal, state and local governments are major employers. Employment is also provided by hospitals, the electric power generation transmission and distribution industry, colleges, universities and professional schools; and the management, scientific and technical consulting services industry.

Schools for Emergency Management Specialists are listed in the Browse Schools Section.

Most Popular Industries for :
Emergency Management Specialists

Industries representing at least 1% of total jobs for the occupation.

Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Industry Jobs Percent Annual Median Salary
Government 7,940 66% $48,140
Hospital 1,080 8% $54,060
Professional And Technical Services 790 6% $59,290
Social Service 740 6% $42,110
Utilities 400 3% $76,900
Education 350 2% $48,990
Business Management 160 1% $60,360
These schools offer particularly quick info upon request, and we have written detailed profiles for each (click school names to see the profiles). Request info from multiple schools, by clicking the Request Info links.
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CityTownInfo Career and College Resources

We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Emergency Management Specialists.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

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