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What to Expect with an Emergency Management Degree Learn about emergency management careers and get the training you need.

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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 CareerMedian Annual Salary
Emergency Management Specialist$42,230
Emergency Management Director$76,250

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 Occupational Outlook Handbook

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. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.