Emergency management personnel are invaluable when disaster strikes. These men and women are trained to manage emergency situations and respond to the needs of the people quickly and efficiently. Disaster management professionals may be responsible for evacuating a town in danger, managing the distribution of food to people in crisis, or overseeing the provision of medical care to injured people. They are needed in all types of emergencies, including hurricanes, terrorist attacks, airport security, or chemical spills.
Emergency Management Career Opportunities
Careers in emergency and disaster management are often government jobs, but private sector careers are also available. Degree programs in public policy administration in emergency and disaster management are often helpful to law enforcement personnel, fire fighters, and other protective service workers. There are many degree and certificate programs to choose from, including public policy, business and emergency medical relief.
With the right experience and training, professionals can hold specialist positions like emergency program manager or director, emergency operations center chief, director of security, risk management expert, emergency preparedness instructor, hospital coordinator, or technical training supervisors. Emergency managers typically work for governments, nonprofit and volunteer organizations, schools, hospitals, as well as private businesses.
Emergency Management Coursework and Skill Requirements
Not all individuals can handle the stress and demands of a career in emergency response. A formal education is no replacement for first hand experience, but it is definitely a valuable way to develop your skills. Ranging from general first aid and health care to public budgeting and financing, a degree in emergency management can give you the technical knowledge you need before starting your career. Emergency planning and risk assessment courses are the traditional foundations for a student pursuing an emergency and disaster management degree. In addition, these are some of the skills you may also learn:
- Organization of people, information, and resources
- Crisis management
- Disaster communication
- Situation and risk analysis
- Leadership ability and development
- Strategic planning
Salary and Earnings Information
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2007, emergency management specialists earned a median salary of $48,380 annually. In addition, the BLS expects to see job growth about equal to the national rate of growth. Individuals may find that careers in the private sector offer more lucrative compensation. According to the BLS report, the highest paying jobs in this industry were from electric power generation, transmission and distribution companies with a median annual salary $73,650. In 2007, some of the top paying industries included:
- Waste management ($66,290)
- Fabricated metal production ($67,670)
- Scientific research ($65,280)
The top states for employment in 2007 included:
- South Dakota
- North Dakota
- West Virginia
- New Jersey
In light of new natural disasters, the need for individuals with the qualifications and skills to provide appropriate response and help should continue to increase. If helping people and creating solutions interests you, a career in emergency management may be for you.