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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.

Emergency Management Specialists Skills

Below are the skills needed to be emergency management specialists according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

Skill NameImportanceCompetence
Complex Problem Solving4.255.25
Judgment and Decision Making4.124.25
Service Orientation4.125
Active Listening44

Emergency Management Specialists Knowledge

Below are the knowledge areas needed to be emergency management specialists according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

Knowledge AreaImportanceCompetence
Public Safety and Security4.425.28
Administration and Management4.385.12
Law and Government4.044.12
English Language3.964.24
Communications and Media3.843.72

Emergency Management Specialists Work activities

Below are the work activities involved in being emergency management specialists according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest).

Work ActivityImportanceCompetence
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships4.86.12
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates4.685.84
Making Decisions and Solving Problems4.685.92
Communicating with Persons Outside Organization4.566.12
Developing and Building Teams4.524.96

Emergency Management Specialists Work styles

Below are the work styles involved in being emergency management specialists according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest).

Work StyleImportance
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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.