What Can I Do with an Emergency Management Degree?
Learn about emergency management degrees and careers, and get the training you need to help communities in times of hardship.
Emergency Management Career Overview
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), emergency management is broken into four phases: mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery from any natural, technological or intentional hazard. Emergency management professionals coordinate these efforts so normalcy is regained as quickly as possible. Whether it's a hurricane or a hostage situation, their job duties include:
- Formulating emergency procedures
- Addressing vulnerabilities in a disaster response system
- Coordinating with local officials and emergency personnel
If you want to work in emergency management, you need outstanding communication skills, experience in some area of local government or emergency services, and the ability to stay cool under pressure. And, more than ever, you will need an emergency management degree.
Job Opportunities with an Emergency Management Degree
The industries that employ the largest numbers of emergency management degree holders include local and state governments, medical and surgical hospitals, community food and housing agencies, emergency and relief services, and electric power plants as well as other utilities.
In the field of emergency management, job titles sometimes vary, especially in private industry, where an emergency management professional might be referred to as a public safety director or business recovery planner.
Here are some of the many jobs open to emergency management degree holders:
- Disaster Recovery Manager
- Emergency Management Program Specialist
- Emergency Response Team Leader
- Emergency Services Director
- Environmental Health and Safety Manager
- Hospital Emergency Preparedness Administrator
- Hurricane Program Manager
- Nuclear Emergency Planner
- Safety Specialist
Degree and Certificate Programs
The higher your level of education, the better your position and salary in the realm of emergency management:
- Generally, a bachelor's degree in emergency management or a related field (such as public administration or public safety) is the minimum requirement for most emergency management jobs, especially for those in government and private industry.
- A master's degree in emergency management will prepare you for more advanced leadership positions. There are also optional certification programs administered by professional agencies such as the International Association of Emergency Managers, which will increase advancement chances as well as salary.
Emergency Management Salaries
Here is what you can expect to earn in various fields of emergency management:
|Emergency Management Career||Median Annual Salary*|
|Disaster Recovery Director||$119,632|
|Health and Safety Manager||$104,248|
|Emergency Services Director||$111,274|
|Disaster Recovery Manager||$106,302|
|Health and Safety Supervisor||$71,584|
Sources: Salary.com's May 2012 Survey; Disaster Recovery Director; Health and Safety Manager; Emergency Services Director; Disaster Recovery Manager; Health and Safety Supervisor; Safety Specialist; Safety Representative II.
*The salary information listed is based on a national average, unless noted. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors.
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Did You Know?
- Emergency management specialists are needed in situations as diverse as flu pandemics, terrorist attacks, hazardous materials spills, earthquakes and floods.
- Salaries for emergency management professionals vary, reflecting the level of risk in a particular region, and an employee’s education and experience.